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

Anonymous, 24.08.2022 18:18

It is interesting to note that Nicolai Polikarpov was actually in prison when he designed this excellent fighter, which became the standard Soviet Air Force fighter during the early 1930s. In fact, the success of the I-5 is what got Polikarpov released from prison. Polikarpov was not the only aircraft designer to whom that happened. Andre Tupolev had a similar experience when he designed the Tu-2.


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