Technical data
Type I-16 Type 5
Function Fighter
Year 1935
Crew 1
Engines 1*700hp M-25
Length 6.07m
Wingspan 9.0m
Wing area 14.5m2
Loaded weight 1460kg
Wing Load (kg/m2) 100.0
Power load (kg/hp) 2.08
Maximum Speed (ground) 395km/h
Maximum Speed at 3000m 454km/h
Landing Speed 100km/h
Turn time 15.0sec
Ceiling 9200m
Range 820km
Flight time 2.0h
Takeoff roll 13sec
Landing Roll 250m
1000m 1.3min
3000m 4.0min
5000m 6.2min
2*mg 7.62mm ShKAS
Bombs 200kg

I-16 Type 5 by N.N.Polikarpov

Drawing of Type 5 in Spanish Republican colors from 'Skrzydlata Polska', found on the I-16 Model Page by Dariusz Tyminski

The Type 5 production started in July 1935, all powered with the M-25 engine. Type 4 cowling was redesigned. It was now slightly conical (like on rebuilt TsKB-12bis, without gap between fuselage and cowling. Nine big holes with shutters were made to provide cooling air intake, eight holes were shared by cooling flow and exhaust system. This shape of cowling was used on all later models.

The PV-1 machineguns were replaced by more advanced ShKAS, provision for 200kg external bombs was included. In the SPB (Zveno-6) bomber each of two I-16 Type 5 carried 2 250kg (or 500kg) bombs.

In 1935- 1937 Type 5 was the fastest fighter in the world, but experience in Spain demonstrated that speed by itself does not provide guaranteed victory in air combat. Turn time (15sec) was larger than for slow biplanes (like Italian Fiat CR.12), and close maneuverable engagement became fatal for one of the first Type 5's. This experience caused widespread among Soviet aviation experts concept that role of maneuverable and slow biplanes will be important in future air combats as well. As a result, the I-153 biplane was in production much longer than more advanced I-16.

Later, when proper tactic was used against biplanes (single-pass high speed attack with turn at safe distance), advantage of the fast monoplane over slow maneuverable machines was proven, but the wrong concept prevailed for almost 5 years.

For winter operation fixed skis could be employed.

I-16 Type 5 was used by Republicans during Spanish War and by Chinese against Japan invasion (1937). Success depended strongly on the level of pilot training. With arrival of more modern Bf-109 and Zero advantages of Type 5 faded...

Large number of Type 5 were still in service on June 22, 1941, taking hardest hit of advancing Luftwaffe.

Used in the Zveno experiments.

About 1,500 built, until I-16 Type 6 replaced it on production line in late 1937.

I-16 Type 4 TsKB-12bis
I-16 Type 6

I-16 Shturmovik

  • "History of aircraft construction in the USSR", Vol.1 p.494-495;
  • 'Polikarpov Fighters in action, Part 2' by Hans-Herri Stapfer.
  • See the I-16 Links Page

  • Created March 03, 1998 Back to
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