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Polikarpov I-16

Soviet Union (1935)
Picture of Polikarpov I-16 Single-Seat, Single-Engine Monoplane Fighter

The I-16, though outclassed by its contemporaries, played many an important role throughout World War Two.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Polikarpov I-16 Single-Seat, Single-Engine Monoplane Fighter.  Entry last updated on 8/19/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The Polikarpov I-16 fighter proved to be quite the little aggressor before and throughout the Second World War. Initially seeing combat in the Spanish Civil War, the system would go on to see more during the Soviet invasion of Finland and the German invasion of the Soviet Union. In the end, though outclassed by better performing and more advanced aircraft, the system continued to provide support as late as 1943.

The I-16 looked very much the part of a racing airplane with an open-air cockpit, large radial piston engine housing and short stubby fuselage design. Couple that speed inherent in a small aircraft with a large engine with an array of 4 x 7.62mm machine guns, cannons or rockets and you have yourself a decent defender and / or aggressor airplane.

The I-16 saw extensive service for the Soviet Union throughout the war, be it in the war of aggression with Finland or the defense of the homeland versus the Third Reich. China used the type extensively in its campaign against Japanese aggression in the Far East and the system would bode very well for itself in the end, with production totaling just over 7,000 units.
By 1943, the system was deemed too impractical to continue to be fielded, considering the aircraft was being outclassed by any new fighter being developed around it, that the system was withdrawn from frontline Soviet service. Other variants existed including a torpedo dive bomber and dual-control trainer, along with improved models along the way.

In the end, the I-16 proved to be an exceptional fighter for a time - in the early years of the war at least - and featured great handling, nimbleness associated with small size and decent firepower at the point of attack.






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 (304mph).

    Graph average of 300 miles-per-hour.
Relative Operational Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Polikarpov I-16's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era Impact
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
7005
7005


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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


Altitude Visualization
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National Flag Graphic
National Origin: Soviet Union
Service Year: 1935
Classification Type: Single-Seat, Single-Engine Monoplane Fighter
Manufacturer(s): Polikarpov OKB - Soviet Union
Production Units: 7,005
Global Operators:
China; Spain; Soviet Union
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Polikarpov I-16 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
19.82 ft


Meters
6.04 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
29.13 ft


Meters
8.88 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
7.91 ft


Meters
2.41 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
3,252 lb


Kilograms
1,475 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
4,542 lb


Kilograms
2,060 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Shvetsov M-62 air-cooled radial engine developing 1,000 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
304 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
490 kph


Knots
265 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
373 mi


Kilometers
600 km


Nautical Miles
324 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
31,070 ft


Meters
9,470 m


Miles
5.88 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
2,790 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
850 m/min

Armament - Hardpoints (1):

STANDARD:
4 x 7.62mm machine guns in fixed, forward-firing mountings.

OPTIONAL:
6 x Air-to-surface rockets
Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of aircraft aerial rockets
Variants: Series Model Variants
• TsKB-12 - Prototype Model Designation fitted with M-22 radial piston engine generating 480hp.
• TsKB-12bis - Second Prototype Model Designation with improved performance and uprated Wright SR-1820-F3 Cyclone powerplant.
• I-16 Type 1 - Base Pre-Production Model Designation fitted with M-22; 10 produced.
• I-16 Type 4 - Fitted with imported-Cyclone powerplant.
• I-16 Type 5 - M-25 700hp license-built Cyclone powerplant; improved armor.
• I-16 Type 6 - Initial Major Production Variant fitted with M-25A 730hp powerplant.
• I-16 Type 10 - Fitted with M-25V 750hp powerplant; 4 x 7.62mm machine guns.
• I-16 Type 17 - Provision for six 82mm rockets; 2 x 20mm cannons in place of standard machine guns; reinforced structure throughout.
• I-16 Type 18 - M-62 radial piston engine generating 920hp; 4 x 7.62mm machine guns.
• I-16 Type 24 - M-62 OR M-63 radial piston engines delivering 1,000hp and 1,,100hp respectively; reinforced wing elements; 4 x 7.62mm machine guns.
• I-16 Type 28 - Fitted with M-63 radial piston engine.
• I-16 Type 30 - Fitted with M-63 radial piston engine.
• I-16 SPB - Dive Bomber Variant
• I-16UTI - Dual-Control Trainer Model