4- 7.62 mm
20 ft. 7 in.
33 ft. 6 in.
The Polikarpov I-15, called Chaika (Gull), was known for its maneuverability. The biplane was actually used as a replacement for some monoplane fighter aircraft in parts of the Soviet Union.
The aircraft was deployed to Spain in October of 1936 to be used by the Republicans during the Civil War. Spain built over 285 Polikarpov I-15 aircraft under a license agreement with the USSR. When the Spanish Civil War ended in March of 1939, many of the aircraft were taken over by the Nationalists.
It continued to be upgraded with more powerful engines, retractable landing gear, streamlining, and improved armament through the years. However, a relatively low top speed, the lack of forward vision due to its gull wing, and difficult spin recovery kept it from being a pilot favorite.
Starting in 1937 the I-15 was deployed to China to help in its fight against the invading Japanese. It was at this time that the aircraft started facing superior Japanese monoplane fighter aircraft designs. However, over 1,000 Polikarpov I-15 fighters continued to be used by the Soviet Air Force, primarily as ground attack aircraft, through the middle of 1941.
By November of 1942, the I-15 was removed from front line duties. About 6,750 Polikarpov I-15 aircraft of all types were produced.