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Grigorovich I-Z


Cannon-Armed Fighter Prototype


Soviet Union | 1933



"Limitations of the Grigorovich I-Z fighter design soon crept in to limited production of the type to fewer than 100 units."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/28/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
In the early 1930s, Dmitri Grigorovich, and the design bureau that bore his name, was charged with development of a new single-seat monoplane fighter for the Soviet Air Force. One of the chief qualities of its design would be mounting the new 76.2mm recoilless rifle developed by L.V. Kurchevski so the aircraft would have to be of considerable strength to manage the weapon. If successful, the fighter would become one of the most powerful of its type anywhere in the world - a danger to any bomber aircraft of the period.

Work began in mid-1930 and the program was given the designator of "Z" (Zet). Grigorovich had a working relationship with another aircraft-maker, Nikolai Polikarpov, and helped the Polikarpov design bureau bring the I-5 biplane fighter program to fruition. This exposure allowed Grigorovich to use the I-5's forward fuselage and engine fit to expedite development of his Z-fighter which came to be known as the "I-Z".

A low-wing monoplane form was used and the single pilot sat in an open-air cockpit above it. The fuselage tapered to the tail to which a single rudder was fitted along with high-mounted horizontal planes. The tail-dragger undercarriage was wheeled at only the two main legs, a skid being used under the tail unit. Power was from a French-originated Gnome-Rhone "Jupiter VI 9-cylinder radial piston engine (air-cooled) outputting 525 horsepower and driving a simple two-bladed propeller at the nose. Dimensions of the aircraft were a length of 25 feet and a wingspan of 37.8 feet. Empty weight became 2,600lb against an MTOW of 3,635lb.

Proposed armament - key to the success of the I-Z - was 2 x 76.2mm Kurchevski DRP recoiless rifles, one slung under each wing unit. The weapons were inherently single-shot by design so no ammunition supply was required to be built into the I-Z's wings or frame. Of note is the high positioning of the tailplanes and this was done to contend with the hot exhaust generated by these guns. Secondary armament was a single 7.62mm PV-1 machine gun in the fuselage, synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades. This weapon was to serve more as an aiming device than anti-aircraft measure.

Metal construction was used throughout the I-Z where possible, marking a shift in aircraft design philosophy which would soon see all-metal types appearing regularly. Fabric was used for skinning the machine and steel tubing strengthened various members.

The first I-Z prototype made it airborne in mid-1931 and a second prototype example appeared the following year as the "I-Zbis". In 1933, some 22 preproduction models followed and these differed in carrying the local Soviet version of the Gnome-Rhone engine, the "M-22" radial outputting 480 horsepower under a revised cowling assembly. Wooden wings were also used over the earlier model's metal forms.

In the air, the I-Z managed a maximum speed of 161 miles per hour and ranged out to 375 miles. The service ceiling for the aircraft reached 23,000 feet and time-to-altitude was 14 minutes to 5,000 meters.

50 I-Z production-quality fighters were ordered but the design was ultimately relegated to a life of testing and research for the aircraft exhibited poor spin recovery characteristics and the recoilless rifle pairing offered little benefit for the cost

Grigorovich then moved on another cannon-armed fighter - the "IP-1".

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Grigorovich I-Z Cannon-Armed Fighter Prototype.
1 x M-22 air-cooled radial piston engines developing 480 horsepower and driving a two-bladed propeller at the nose.
Propulsion
162 mph
260 kph | 140 kts
Max Speed
22,966 ft
7,000 m | 4 miles
Service Ceiling
373 miles
600 km | 324 nm
Operational Range
1,170 ft/min
357 m/min
Rate-of-Climb
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Grigorovich I-Z Cannon-Armed Fighter Prototype.
1
(MANNED)
Crew
25.1 ft
7.65 m
O/A Length
37.7 ft
(11.50 m)
O/A Width
2,601 lb
(1,180 kg)
Empty Weight
3,638 lb
(1,650 kg)
MTOW
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
RANGE
ALT
SPEED
Armament
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Grigorovich I-Z Cannon-Armed Fighter Prototype .
2 x 7.62mm Kurchevski DRP recoilless rifle (single-shot).
1 x 7.62mm PV-1 machine gun (for aiming).
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Grigorovich I-Z family line.
I-Z - Base Series Designation
I-Zbis - Second prototype
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Grigorovich I-Z. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 75 Units

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

[ Soviet Union (cancelled) ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 200mph
Lo: 100mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (162mph).

Graph Average of 150 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
75
36183
44000
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
EarlyYrs
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Future
1 / 1
Image of the Grigorovich I-Z
Image from the Public Domain.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
AIR-TO-AIR COMBAT
INTERCEPTION
X-PLANE
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Grigorovich I-Z Cannon-Armed Fighter Prototype appears in the following collections:
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