Authetic I-153 cockpit. It Was done with original 1939 year manufacture blue prints and thanks to the help of New Zeeland museum where this real bird
has been restored and now in flyable conditions.
Type: Biplane Fighter/Ground Attack
Empty: 1,348 kg;
Take-off: 1,859 kg.
Wing area: 22.10 Sq. M.
Power: 1,000 HP
Sea level: 366 km/h;
At 5,000m: 424 km/h.
Turn time at 1,000m: 12-13.5 sec.
Climb to 5,000m: 5.7min.
Service ceiling: 11,000m.
Range: 600 km.
4x7.62mm MG (ShKAS), or
4x12.7mm MG (BS), or
2x20mm cannon (ShVAK).
The I-153 “Tchayka” (Sea-gull) fighter was developed in 1938 in the Design Office of N.N. Polikarpov. It was actually a more recent design than the I-16 fighter, contrary to popular belief. The I-153 ("I" for "istrebitel" - fighter) represented a further development of the I-15 aircraft. On the outside, the I-153 looked very much like the I-15. The main dimensions were left the same, the shape of the gulled upper wing was slightly modified, but in contrast to the I-15, the I-153's landing gear was retractable. The M-25 engine was replaced with a more powerful M-62 engine; the whole construction was strengthened accordingly and the pilot’s seat-back armored. In 1939 the aircraft went into large-scale production. The I-153 became the last mass-produced Soviet biplane. Its design and construction were close to perfect, flight performance was excellent for a biplane; an aircraft of this design and construction could be considered the most perfect of all planes ever built. In the second half of the 1930s, the I-153 belonged to the high-speed aircraft category. However, by the late 1930s, the plane became obsolete before ever going into production. In the early 1940s, its speed became insufficient for a fighter, which were now required to fly at speeds of 500-600 km/h. A biplane simply could not gather such speed. Overall, approximately 3,400 units of the I-153 of various variations were produced. The summer of 1939 saw the first combat test of the I-153 in the area of the river Halhin-Gol (Mongolia). It went on to be used in the first years of World War II.
Ju-87B-2 “Stuka”, 1944 model
Type: Dive Bomber
Empty: 2,750 kg.
Take-off: 4,340 kg.
Length: 11.1 m.
Wingspan: 13.8 m.
Wing area: 31.9 sq.m.
Engine: 1xJu 211D.
Indicated: 970 HP
Take-off: 1,200 HP
Sea level: 338 km/h.
At 4,400 m: 380 km/h.
Climb to 5,000m: 12 min.
Service ceiling: 8,100 m.
Range: 800 km.
2x7.9 mm (MG 17): in the wing.
1x7.9 mm (MG 15).
Bombs: 1x500 kg or 1x250 kg + 4x50 kg.
The Ju-87 dive-bomber (Sturzkampfflugzeug - “Stuka”) was created in response to a competitive challenge to develop a two-seater dive-bomber made by the German Ministry of Aviation (RLM) in 1933. The Ju-87 performed well in selective trials and came out on top, despite the fact that it was competing against aircraft designs by Arado, Heinkel and Blohm und Foss.
The Ju-87 prototype was an attack Junkers K-47 fighter plane produced for Germany by a Junkers subsidiary - the Swedish company AB Flugindustrie. The first Ju-87 V1 prototype flew in September 1935. The plane was designed by Herman Polman. It was an all-metal plane with twin tail fin and wings of two-spar construction. The center-wing section formed a single whole with the fuselage and a typical W-shaped curve. The aircraft was equipped with a Rolls-Royce Kestrel-V engine rated 525 HP at take-off.
The Ju-87 V1 was followed by more prototypes which differed from the first model in the installation of a German Junkers Ju-210A engine, rated at 640 HP, and a single tail unit. The planes came with a special dive-bombing gun sight. Bomb-dropping tests were carried out with underfuselage aviation bombs ranging from 100 to 500 kg.
On the whole, the aircraft was very solid and reliable, combining excellent response to control with fairly good field of vision and sufficient maneuverability for this type of aircraft. In dive-bombing operations, bomb deviation did not exceed 30m from the target.
The Ju-87 bomber was adopted at the beginning of 1937 and the went into large-scale serial production. The first pilot series of the Ju-87 A-0 “Anton” consisted of 10 aircraft; it was followed by a mass-produced series of Ju-87 A-1 aircraft.
At the end of 1937, the Ju-87 A-2 modification was developed. Planes of this modification were equipped with a new Ju-210D engine (rated 680 HP) and modified communication devices. 262 Ju-87A aircraft were built.
In use, the Ju-87 A revealed insufficient engine power, a low ceiling and insufficient bomb load and range. All these shortcomings entailed the development of a new modernized version - the Ju-87 B “Berta” (serial version). The new Ju-87 B-1 modification differed from Ju-87 A in its sliding canopy (the Ju-87 A canopy was opened to the side), reconstructed front fuselage and the fully redesigned front of the engine. Some changes were also introduced to gear fairing, the radio antenna mast and tail unit. The aircraft was armed with a MG 15 machine-gun for the rear gunner and two MG 17 machine-guns on the wing (on the Ju-87 A there was only one). A siren was mounted on one gear strut (later on both struts) to exert psychological pressure on the enemy during attacks. The Ju-87 B-1 was initially equipped with a Ju-211A engine (rated at 1,000 HP), and later with a Ju-211D engine (rated 1,200 HP). Ju-87 B-1 serial production started from November 1938; 808 units of Ju-87 B-1 aircraft were built.
In December 1939, the next serial modification - the Ju-87 B-2 - started being built. Planes of this modification had water radiators of larger size and new fairings on the wing machine-guns. The metal three-blade air propeller was replaced with a wooden one. Radio equipment was considerably improved. The bomb load with one pilot could go up to 1,000 kg.
Ju-87 planes started their combat career in the civil war in Spain and were used throughout World War II on all fronts.
Advantages: Good flight characteristics and aircraft maneuverability. Good field of vision from the cabin. Reliability. Simple and easy controls and maintenance.
Disadvantages: weak defensive armament.
Ju-87G-1 “Stuka”, 1943 model
Type: Ground Attack
Empty: 4,400 kg.
Take-off: 6,600 kg.
Length: 11.50 m.
Wingspan: 15.00 m.
Wing area: 33.69 sq.m.
Engine: 1xJu 211J.
Indicated: 1,100 HP
Take off: 1,400 HP
Sea level: 320 km/h.
At 4,000 m: 340 km/h.
Climb to 5,000 m: 19.8 min.
Service ceiling: 6,500 m.
Range: 2,000 km.
2x37 mm (BK-3.7): under the fuselage.
2x7.9 mm (MG 81Z).
Since the usual bombs were almost totally incapable of destroying tanks, a new modification of the Ju-87 aircraft was created at the beginning of 1943. It was specially geared for tank-killing missions and marked Ju-87 G. Under the fuselage of the serially produced Ju-87 D aircraft, two 37mm BK-3.7 (Flak-18) cannons were installed specifically for anti-tank purposes. The choice was not random because their 37mm shells with tungsten cores could penetrate the armor of most tanks. The gun and magazine were placed in a streamlined container, which was fastened under the wing right behind the gear leg. If it became necessary to use the Ju-87 G as a bomber, the gun mountings could easily be dismantled and replaced with bomb racks.
This armament variant was tested for the first time on a modernized Ju-87 D-5 version in the summer of 1942. The trials demonstrated that the new aircraft was a more effective anti-tank weapon than many similar Luftwaffe planes such as the Henschel Hs-129 and Junkers Ju-88P. After successful trials were over, it was decided to start serial production of the Ju-87 G in two variants - the Ju-87 G-1 and the Ju-87 G-2. The Ju-87 G-1 aircraft was a remade Ju-87 D-3, and the Ju-87 G-2 was a remade Ju-87 D-5. Both variants had dismantled wing armament. However, some of the Ju-87 G-1 planes still had one wing machine-gun for aiming purposes.
Tank-destroying Ju-87 G planes were widely used on the Eastern front, especially in the battles of Kursky Duga. The Ju-87 G-2 was the aircraft flown by the famous German pilot, Hans-Ulrich Rudel - he alone destroyed 519 units of enemy armored vehicles.
Advantages: Good flight characteristics. Easy controls and maintenance. Strong firepower. Good field of vision from the cockpit. Reliable. Multifunctional. Good armor for the crew and power plant.
Disadvantages: Low maneuverability, insufficient speed and defensive armament.