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Bolkhovitinov S (Sparka)

Soviet Union (1940)
Picture of Bolkhovitinov S (Sparka) High-Speed, Two-Seat, Twin-Engine Bomber Prototype Aircraft

Just two of the developmental Bolkhovitinov high-speed bombers were built by the Soviet Union during World War 2.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Bolkhovitinov S (Sparka) High-Speed, Two-Seat, Twin-Engine Bomber Prototype Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 2/16/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

It wasn't just the British, Americans, Germans, and French that undertook special aircraft projects prior to World War 2 (1937-1945) for Soviet engineers were also hard at work on perfecting various types. The Bolkhovitinov "S" - or "Sparka" - was one such entry into the Soviet stable, originating in the pre-war period of 1937 and recorded a first-flight in 1940. Designed as a high-speed / light-class bomber, just two of the kind were built for the program.

One of the unique characteristics of the Sparka was its conjoined engine fit, coupling a pair of Klimov M-103 inline piston engines (960 horsepower output each) and these used to drive a pair of three-bladed contra-rotating propeller units at the nose. The inline engines allowed for a streamlined shape to be achieved and this produced a sleek airframe with the cockpit / crew area set over midships and aft. This section was noted for its long-running, greenhouse-style canopy (housing a standard operating crew of two). The wing mainplanes were set at midships as well and these were straight appendages mounted low with swept forward trailing edges. The tail unit was another unique characteristic of the design as a twin-rudder arrangement was used with horizontal planes set between the two fins. The tail planes were mounted atop the fuselage spine. The undercarriage was of a typical tail-dragger arrangement consistent with developments of the period. Light alloys were used throughout the aircraft's construction. Dimensions of the aircraft included a length of 43.3 feet and a wingspan of 45.2 feet. Gross weight was 12,460lb.

Proposed armament was 1 x 7.62mm ShKAS machine gun for the rear crewman (the gun positioned on a trainable mounting). This armament was revised at a later date to become 2 x 12.7mm UBT series machine guns for a heavier defensive "punch". For the light bomber role, up to 882lb of internal stores could be carried. A bomb bay separated the two cockpits and the ordnance was held vertically to save space.
Design work on the Sparka was begun in 1937 and this led to construction of the first prototype the following year. By 1939, the first flyable form was readied as the "S-1" but the example lacked the proposed armament, wheeled undercarriage (skids were fitted instead), and installed just one of the two intended powerplants. A first-flight was recorded on January 29th, 1940. S-1 was then followed by "S-2" and this included all of the proposed components the S-1 lacked. In testing, the pair performed adequately - handling was a strong point - but was not as fast as expected and proved tricky when attempting take-off and landing actions.

The design was evolved into the ultimately-abandoned Bolkhovitinov "I" - with twin M-107 engines and other slight changes - and the Bolkhovitinov "D", a heavy bomber form which never saw the light of day. Other proposed forms related to the Sparka project included a dedicated attacker (with downward-firing heavy machine guns) and a dedicated interceptor (with upward-firing 37mm automatic cannon).

As tested, the Sparka managed a maximum speed of 354 miles per hour and ranged out to 435 miles. Nothing more came out of the project beyond the two aforementioned prototypes.






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.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (354mph).

    Graph average of 300 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Bolkhovitinov S (Sparka)'s operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
2
2


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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


  Compare this entry against other aircraft using our Comparison Tool  
National Flag Graphic
Origin: Soviet Union
Year: 1940
Type: High-Speed, Two-Seat, Twin-Engine Bomber Prototype Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Bolkhovitinov - Soviet Union
Production: 2
Global Operators:
Soviet Union (cancelled)
Historical 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 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 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
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Bolkhovitinov S (Sparka) model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
43.31 ft


Meters
13.2 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
45.28 ft


Meters
13.8 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
9.84 ft


Meters
3 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
9,480 lb


Kilograms
4,300 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
12,467 lb


Kilograms
5,655 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
2 x Klimov M-103 V12 liquid-cooled inline piston engine developing 960 horsepower each.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
354 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
570 kph


Knots
308 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
435 mi


Kilometers
700 km


Nautical Miles
378 nm

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft heavy machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Armament - Hardpoints (0):

PROPOSED:
1 x 7.62mm ShKAS machine gun on trainable mounting in rear cockpit position (EARLY).
2 x 12.7mm UBT machine guns on trainable mounting in rear cockpit position (LATE).

Up to 882lb of conventional drop ordnance (held vertically) in internal bomb bay.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Bolkhovitinov S - Base Series Name
• Bolkhovitinov I - Dimensionally larger dive bomber / fighter form developed by A.M. Isayev.
• Bolkhovitinov D - Proposed twin tandem-engine heavy bomber form.