Polikarpov I-5
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Polikarpov I-5

The first prototype of this diminutive single-seat unequal-span biplane flew on 29 April 1930. Power was provided by an imported Gnome-Rhone Jupiter VII radial engine with individual helmet-type fairings over each cylinder head. The second prototype was named Klim Voroshilov after the Soviet Defence-Minister. It had a Jupiter VI radial and was intended for low-level operations. The third and final prototype had a Soviet M-15 radial engine with a ring cowling. In the summer of 1930 seven evaluation aircraft were built, powered by the 358kW M-22 radial - in fact a Russian version of the Jupiter VI. Tests were successful and series production was undertaken. A total of 803 was built and the type formed the main equipment of Soviet fighter units until 1936.

Standard armament of the I-5 was two synchronised 7.62mm PV-1 machine-guns and up to 40kg of bombs could be carried on underwing racks. The circular-section fuselage had a metal tubular framework with metal sheet covering forward and fabric aft. The wooden wings were fabric covered. The axle-type undercarriage could be fitted with wheel spats.

A number of I-5s were still in use at the time of the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, when a few were pressed into service by Black Sea naval airmen for ground attack. Interestingly, I-5s had previously been used in Soviet Zveno 'parasite' experiments, being launched in the air from the TB-3 mother ship.

Polikarpov I-5A three-view drawing (1657 x 1146)

 ENGINE1 x M-22, 355kW
    Take-off weight1355 kg2987 lb
    Empty weight943 kg2079 lb
    Wingspan10.2/7.4 m33 ft 6 in / 24 ft 3 in
    Length6.8 m22 ft 4 in
    Wing area21.3 m2229.27 sq ft
    Max. speed278 km/h173 mph
    Cruise speed250 km/h155 mph
    Ceiling7300 m23950 ft
    Range w/max.fuel660 km410 miles
 ARMAMENT2 x 7.62mm machine-guns

Polikarpov I-5

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