Technical data
Type TsKB-12bis
Function Fighter prototype
Year 1934
Crew 1
Engines 1*630hp Wright-Cyclone SGR 1820-F-2,
later 1*712hp Wright-Cyclone SGR 1820-F-3
Length 6.07m
Wingspan 9.0m
Wing area 14.5m2
Loaded weight 1420kg
Wing Load (kg/m2) 97.9
Power load (kg/hp) 2.0
Speed at 0m
351km/h with fixed skis
382km/h with retracted gear
Speed at 3000m 437km/h
Speed at 5000m 413km/h
Landing Speed 100km/h
Turn time 15.0sec
Flight Endurance 2h00min
Ceiling 8640-8800m
5000m 6.8min
Guns 2*7.62mm PV-1 900rpg

TsKB-12bis by N.N.Polikarpov

The TsKB-12bis development started well before the TsKB-12 was even flown, because designer saw limitations of the M-22 engine. New fighter differed by 3-blade Hamilton-Standard propeller and longer engine cowling.

Flown first time on February 18, 1934 by V.P.Chkalov, TsKB-12 demonstrated superior speed. But handling problem persisted, and often lowering of the landing gear required high-G maneuver.

During tests the TsKB-12bis crashed when landing gear collapsed. At the same time long waited 712hp Wright-Cyclone SGR 1820-F-3 engine arrived, and aircraft was rebuilt with this new powerplant. Engine cowling was now clearly tapered, equipped with nine forward-facing shutters and eight individual cooling/exhaust openings. Fraction of metal in wing covering was increased, resulting in more rigid wing with better performance. Propeller was two-blade Hamilton-Standard.

While new layout was under development, aircraft was put into production as a I-16 Type 4. It remained and intermediate variant, and first series I-16 Type 4 were powered by American-built engines...

New aircraft was tested in September and October 1934. Red Army command realized that N.N.Polikarpov provided country with the best fighter in the World. Production started in 1935, but problems with M-25 mass production resulted in certain delays.

Modified engine cowling that appeared on the I-16 Type 5 series became common for all following modifications of the I-16, with only minor changes to accommodate new weapons and air intakes.


I-16 Type 4 I-16 Type 5

  • "History of aircraft construction in the USSR", Vol.1 p.494;
  • 'Polikarpov Fighters in action, Part 2' by Hans-Herri Stapfer.
  • See the I-16 Links Page
  • TsKB-12, Polikarpov

  • Created January 25, 1996
    Modified March 03, 1998
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