Polikarpov I-185


Back to the Virtual Aircraft Museum
  FIGHTERVirtual Aircraft Museum / USSR / Russia / Polikarpov  

Polikarpov I-185

Acceptance that the concept of the I-180 was outmoded coupled with the prospect of the availability of powerful 18-cylinder radial engines led the Polikarpov OKB to design the I-185 within an extraordinarily short period of time (25 January to 10 March 1940). Intended for the 1,750hp Shvetsov M-90 engine, the I-185 was of mixed construction, having a wooden monocoque fuselage mated with metal wings featuring automatic leadingedge slats a la Bf 109. Armament consisted of twin 12.7mm and twin 7.62mm guns, all fuselage-mounted. Development delays with the M-90 - which, by December 1940, was cleared only for restricted flight testing - resulted in dismantling of the first prototype unflown, this having been known as Samolet (Aircraft) R. A second prototype. Samolet RM, was completed with a Shvetsov M-81 18-cylinder two-row radial and a ducted propeller spinner. This was flown on 11 January 1941, but the M-81 was found to develop insufficient power and was replaced by the Shvetsov M-71 of 1,900hp in May 1941. A third prototype, Samolet I, was completed with a 14-cylinder Shvetsov M-82 engine rated at 1,330hp (later 1,400hp), the fuselage being lengthened for CG reasons from 7.68m to 8.10m, and fuselage-mounted armament being changed to three 20mm cannon. State Acceptance Tests were conducted successfully between 13 April and 5 July 1942. A fourth prototype reverted to the M-71 engine and this underwent operational evaluation on the Kalinin Front alongside Samolet I. A redesigned wing (of single- in place of two-spar construction) was featured by this aircraft, which was tested with both the four-machine gun and three-cannon armament arrangements. A pre-production prototype, the so-called I-185 Etalon (Standard), was flown on 10 June 1942. Regarded as the forerunner of the intended production derivative, the I-186, this standardised on the M-71 engine and three-cannon armament, and had a similarly lengthened fuselage to that of Samolet I. State Acceptance Testing was conducted between November 1942 and January 1943, the NIl VVS evaluation reports describing the I-185 Etalon as "superior to all contemporary fighters." In the event, it was found impracticable to manufacture the M-71 in large numbers and airframe production capacity was unavailable.

Polikarpov I-185A three-view drawing (1278 x 930)

  Take-off weight3735 kg8234 lb
  Empty weight3130 kg6901 lb
  Wingspan9.80 m32 ft 2 in
  Length8.05 m26 ft 5 in
  Wing area15.53 m2167.16 sq ft
  Max. speed680 km/h423 mph

Frank, e-mail, 25.06.2017 21:05

Hello there!

Where can I find a detIled history of N. N. Polikarpov and his airplane's?

I'm quite interested his derivative airplane's after the I-16 series. Don't get me wrong, I love the "16" and would love to fly it. His post I-16 birds are very interesting because of their unique design and construction materials usage.



Aaron, e-mail, 14.08.2010 05:55

I believe this is a picture of the third prototype. The NII VVS' pilots found the I-185 to have good handling and flight charateristics, without any serious vices. Horizontal maneuverability was poor (by Russian standards), however, the machine's high wing loading leading to a large turning circle, though the control surfaces were fairly well co-ordinated.
M-71 1900hp (TO and war emergency) gave it a speed of 345mph /SL and 391mph /20,238ft. 3700fpm /SL and 16,400ft /5.2sec. In mid-1942 this would have given the VVS an edge, but political situations concerning Polikarpov would never let it happen. The I-185 was fitted with Handley-Page type leading edge slats on its wings to improve maneuverability. Just an FYI.


Tom, e-mail, 08.02.2009 22:42

You are telling truth about that nice sim and those planes. I fly too, online. And in lots of missions i saw either only late or old planes. I mean most of missions you can choose only one of both - only I - 185 or Lavochkin - 7. I love both of them, they are good dogfighters in fights with their time planes, but the true is that La 7 is better than I 185.


CPS_Xabre, e-mail, 26.01.2009 01:08

This Fighter is featured in the Flight Simm IL2 Sturmovik 1946 both the I185M82 and the I185M71. This Fighter is some what popular with the simm enthusiasts, however many seem to think this particular fighter is over modeled and refer to as an uber fighter along with the LA7 3X20 which in everyones oppinion is the most over modeled fighter in the entire simm.I disgree with all whom that I185M71 is over modeled, on the contrary it has been modeled as close to the original flight characteristics as possible, and as in the history books was an exceptional fighter, but the real fighter was never produced to show its metal on the Russian front.Having said this I would say that if any fighter was extremely over modeled in "IL2Sturmovik 1946" it would the LA7 3X20 is so over modeled in the flight seem that this fighter would make the worst pilot an ace....but not so for the I185M71 it is coser to the true fighter than the LA7.


rodney duffield, e-mail, 11.02.2008 13:26

are there any detailed plans including wing foils spar construction tail feather foil sections ect available ???Iam building a large scale version of this [i 185 m82] plane. I flew it on IL2 and it seemed like a nice aircraft


Do you have any comments?

Name    E-mail


All the World's Rotorcraft

All rhe World's Rotorcraft AVIATION TOP 100 - www.avitop.com Avitop.com