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Sikorsky S-16 (RBVZ S-XVI)

Biplane Fighter / Bomber Escort Aircraft

OVERVIEW
HISTORY
SPECIFICATIONS
ARMAMENT
VARIANTS
DATA
Overview



The Sikorsky S-16 served solely with the Russian Empire air service during World War 1 and was taken on by the Soviet Union until their retirement in 1923.
History



Detailing the development and operational history of the Sikorsky S-16 (RBVZ S-XVI) Biplane Fighter / Bomber Escort Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 6/15/2016. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
Designed by Ukrainian aviation engineer Igor Sikorsky, the S-16 was developed to a Russian Empire requirement for a capable two-seat biplane fighter to serve as escort for the large, ponderous, multi-engined Ilya Muromets bomber. The bomber itself was a design from Sikorsky and the world's first four-engined bomber type when it appeared in 1913. Over 85 were built for the Imperial Russian Air Service and saw combat in World War 1 (1914-1918). The S-16 fighter appeared some years later and its production totals were much less. It was also recognized under the designation of RBVZ S-XVI which noted the manufacturer ("Russo-Baltic Wagon Works").

Externally, the S-16 featured a conventional arrangement for the period and was constructed largely of wood with fabric skinning. An equal-span biplane wing arrangement was selected which featured single bays and parallel struts. The fuselage held slab-sides and mounted the engine in a frontal compartment shrouded over in thin metal. The tail utilized a shallow vertical fin and low-set horizontal planes. The undercarriage constituted two main legs, via a strut network, and double-wheeled bogies were seated under the center mass of the aircraft. Interestingly, the crew of two was seated side-by-side in a staggered, open-air cockpit arrangement. Initially intended to carry a French Le Rhone engine of 100 horsepower, the S-16 was instead finalized with a Gnome air-cooled rotary engine of 80 horsepower driving a two-bladed wooden propeller unit due to limited supplies of the 100 horsepower form. This would ultimately derail the fighter's performance when compared to its contemporaries. Performance specifications included a maximum speed of 75 miles per hour and a rate-of-climb nearing 410 feet-per-minute.

Armament amounted to a single 7.7mm Lavrov (or British Vickers) type machine gun fitted over the engine cowling. The weapon was synchronized (with Lavrov synchronization gear) to fire through the spinning propeller blade marking the S-16 as one of the first combat aircraft of the war to feature this revolutionary trait. About 500 7.7mm rounds were afforded this gun.

First flight of an S-16 prototype occurred on February 6th, 1915 and service introduction came during January of 1916, the stock formed from a contract order for eighteen of the type. In practice, the line was agile enough but its underperforming engine would not allow it to become a classic of the war. Additionally, the events of 1917 and the immediate period following took the Russian Empire out of its war with Germany and forced the S-16 to be used in anger against Russians themselves during the Russian Revolution. The Soviet Union was born in place of the Empire during 1922 and those S-16 aircraft that remained in service were taken into the inventory of the newly-formed Soviet Air Force. These did not survive much longer for the line was retired in full in 1923.

Before its end, engineers attempted several experiments through the S-16 design including an additional machine gun installation (along the upper wing), floats for water-born landings and take-offs and different wing and engine fits.




Specifications

YEAR: 1916
MANUFACTURER(S): RBVZ / Sikorsky - Imperial Russia
PRODUCTION: 18
CREW: 1
LENGTH: 20.34 ft (6.2 m)
WIDTH: 27.56 ft (8.4 m)
HEIGHT: 9.12 ft (2.78 m)
EMPTY WEIGHT: 904 lb (410 kg)
MTOW: 1,488 lb (675 kg)
POWER: 1 x Le Rhone air-cooled rotary engine developing up to 100 horsepower.
SPEED: 75 mph (120 kph; 65 kts)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 410 ft/min (125 m/min)
OPERATORS: Russia; Soviet Union
Armament



1 x 7.7mm Lavrov (or Vickers) machine gun synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.
Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Variants / Models



• S-16 - Base Series Designation
• RBVZ S-XVI - Alternative Designation








Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 100mph
Lo: 50mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (75mph).

Graph average of 75 miles-per-hour.
Aviation Era
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Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production (18)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
18
18

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Supported Roles
A2A
Interception
UAV
Ground Attack
CAS
Training
ASW
Anti-Ship
AEW
MEDEVAC
EW
Maritime/Navy
SAR
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
VIP
Passenger
Business
Recon
SPECOPS
X-Plane/Development
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.




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