Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Small Arms Warships & Submarines Military Ranks Military Pay Scale (2024) Special Forces

Bolkhovitinov S (Sparka)

High-Speed, Two-Seat, Twin-Engine Bomber Prototype Aircraft

Soviet Union | 1940

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

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 02/16/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

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.

Content ©MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.

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.

Content ©MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Bolkhovitinov S (Sparka) High-Speed, Two-Seat, Twin-Engine Bomber Prototype Aircraft.
2 x Klimov M-103 V12 liquid-cooled inline piston engine developing 960 horsepower each.
354 mph
570 kph | 308 kts
Max Speed
435 miles
700 km | 378 nm
Operational Range
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Bolkhovitinov S (Sparka) High-Speed, Two-Seat, Twin-Engine Bomber Prototype Aircraft.
43.3 ft
13.20 m
O/A Length
45.3 ft
(13.80 m)
O/A Width
9.8 ft
(3.00 m)
O/A Height
9,480 lb
(4,300 kg)
Empty Weight
12,467 lb
(5,655 kg)
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Bolkhovitinov S (Sparka) High-Speed, Two-Seat, Twin-Engine Bomber Prototype Aircraft .
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.
Notable series variants as part of the Bolkhovitinov S (Sparka) family line.
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.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Bolkhovitinov S (Sparka). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 2 Units

Contractor(s): Bolkhovitinov - Soviet Union
National flag of the Soviet Union

[ Soviet Union (cancelled) ]
1 / 1
Image of the Bolkhovitinov S (Sparka)
Image from the Public Domain.

Going Further...
The Bolkhovitinov S (Sparka) High-Speed, Two-Seat, Twin-Engine Bomber Prototype Aircraft appears in the following collections:
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2024 Military Pay Scale Military Ranks of the World U.S. Department of Defense Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols Breakdown U.S. 5-Star Generals List WWII Weapons by Country World War Next

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org (World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft), WDMMW.org (World Directory of Modern Military Warships), SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane, and MilitaryRibbons.info, cataloguing military medals and ribbons. Special Interest: RailRoad Junction, the locomotive encyclopedia.

©2024 www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-2024 (21yrs)