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Sikorsky S-16 (RBVZ S-XVI)

Russia (1916)
Picture of Sikorsky S-16 (RBVZ S-XVI) Biplane Fighter / Bomber Escort Aircraft
Picture of Sikorsky S-16 (RBVZ S-XVI) Biplane Fighter / Bomber Escort Aircraft Picture of Sikorsky S-16 (RBVZ S-XVI) Biplane Fighter / Bomber Escort Aircraft

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.


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.


Picture of the Sikorsky S-16 (RBVZ S-XVI) Biplane Fighter / Bomber Escort Aircraft
Picture of the Sikorsky S-16 (RBVZ S-XVI) Biplane Fighter / Bomber Escort Aircraft



Any available statistics for the Sikorsky S-16 (RBVZ S-XVI) Biplane Fighter / Bomber Escort Aircraft are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).






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

    Graph average of 75 miles-per-hour.
Aviation Era Impact
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Unit Production Comparison
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.


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National Flag Graphic
National Origin: Russia
Service Year: 1916
Classification Type: Biplane Fighter / Bomber Escort Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): RBVZ / Sikorsky - Imperial Russia
Production Units: 18
Global Operators:
Russia; Soviet Union
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Sikorsky S-16 (RBVZ S-XVI) model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
20.34 ft


Meters
6.2 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
27.56 ft


Meters
8.4 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
9.12 ft


Meters
2.78 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
904 lb


Kilograms
410 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
1,488 lb


Kilograms
675 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Le Rhone air-cooled rotary engine developing up to 100 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
75 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
120 kph


Knots
65 kts


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
410 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
125 m/min

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

1 x 7.7mm Lavrov (or Vickers) machine gun synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.
Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Variants: Series Model Variants
• S-16 - Base Series Designation
• RBVZ S-XVI - Alternative Designation