Saturday, 28 November 2015

Sikorsky S.16

We continue with the very first operational Russian fighter in history.

Initially conceived as an escort fighter for the Sikorsky Ilya Muromets (just like the Olchovskij Torpedo ) it was designed by the person, Igor Sikorsky,  and was manufactured by RBVZ (which stands for Russko-Baltiiskii Vagonnyi Zavod - Russo-Baltic Wagon Works) .
Some early variants were two-seaters as they were intended for observation-scout duties. 

It was made out of wood and the fighter versions were equipped with a synchronising gear designed by the Russian engineer Lavrov, for the single 7,7mm forward-firing machine-gun. It was powered by a 100hp LeRhone engine and the first prototype was completed on 6th February 1915. On December of the same year the first production contract was placed on RBVZ. Although it was highly maneouvrable, it's performance was poor compared with another fighters of the same year, specially considering that it was seriously underpowered. 
The last production batch was completed in 1917, just before the revolution, and many S.16 fought through the Russian Civil war and at least one of them saw service under the Ukranian People's Republic. Some of them remained active until 1923. 
Another floatplane sub-variant was made, intended to serve with the navy, but it wasn't successful.

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