Aviation of World War II

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I-16 type 12 (I-16P)



The I-16P was developed on the basis of the I-16 type 5 fighter and differed from the serial I-16 type 5 by the armament installed in the wing: two ShKAS machine guns (7.62 mm caliber) and two synchronized ShVAK cannons (20 mm caliber) with ammunition 50 rounds per barrel. The cannons were mounted in the wing, close to the fuselage, and fired through the circle swept away by the propeller. The aircraft could also carry six D-31 bomb containers under the wings.

In August-September 1937, the pilot S.P. Suprun conducted state tests of the head copy (serial number 12219).

ShVAK cannons appeared in the armament of the USSR aviation thanks to the efforts of Polikarpov. Two I-16Ps were built, both with the same weapon installation. One I-16P had retractable landing gear struts, while the other I-16P had non-retractable landing gear struts without shields.

This was the first experience of installing a 20 mm cannon on a Soviet fighter. The tests showed that the flight characteristics remained practically the same as the usual serial I-16 type 5. Although the tests were successful, however, the cannons with high recoil were not installed on production aircraft (I-16 type 17) for another two years. The specific weight of the I-16 cannon modifications in relation to the total number of aircraft of this type was very small. For example, as of July 1, 1938, the Red Army Air Force had 1,858 I-16s of various modifications (in the military districts - 1,554), of which only six with guns.

I-16 Fighters
Type 5 Type 12
Crew 1
Year of issue 1936 1938
Wing span, m 9.000
Height, m 3.250
Length, m 5.985
Wing area, m² 14.54
Power plant
Engine M-25A
Power, h.p. 730
Loaded weight 1508 1718
Empty 1118.5 1160
Лётные данные
Maximum speed, km/h over load 390 393
at altitude 445 431
м 2700 2400
Time to 3000m, min 4.0 4.36
Service ceiling, m 9,100 8,240
Service range, km 540 520
ShKAS machine guns 2 2
Shvak cannons - 2

Ski Chassis

In winter, most of the I-16s were equipped with a ski chassis, since in this case there was no need to clear the airfields from snow. Like the I-16 type 5, the new cannon fighter was equipped with a ski chassis - two skis were installed on the main landing gear racks instead of wheels. To prevent the skis from vibrating in flight, they were held in place by two stretchers. An additional ski was installed on the tail crutch. When the plane was mounted on skis, the landing gear could not be removed.


  • The history of aircraft designs in the USSR, 1938-1950. /V.B. Shavrov /
  • Fighter I-16. / Mikhail Maslov /
  • War in the air. / № 137 /