Sikorsky S-XVI escort fighter
Even though early Russian Aviation design never had the resources to produce enough aircraft for their needs during the Great War, they did design some effective aircraft. Igor Sikorsky proved himself as one of the truly great Russian aircraft designers. His career was marked by innovation and a firm grasp of the fundamentals of Aerodynamics. Sikorsky became famous as a young man. Having endured a series of failures when creating the piloted helicopter, at the age of 21 he built and successfully tested his first S-2 plane. From 1912-1914 he invented the first multiengine Russky Vityaz (Russian Knight) and Ilya Muromets warplanes.
Initially conceived as an escort fighter for the Sikorsky Ilya Muromets (just like the Olchovskij Torpedo ) it was designed by 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. The operation of Lavrov's synchronizers showed their lack of reliability. It was powered by a 100hp LeRhone engine. The fuselage of rectangular section had a wooden framework with extensions from a steel wire. The ailerons were installed on the upper wing. The wooden tail unit was covered with cloth. The top speed of the plane was 125 km/h. The S-16 was powered with one engine. The plane had a control stick in the form of a wheel, a compass, a fuel indicator and a tachometer. The single-seater S-16 had a machine gun, which was placed to the left or to the right of the cockpit.
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 manuverable, it's performance was poor compared with other fighters of the same year, especially considering that it was seriously underpowered.
In the history of the C-16 an important event occurred - the purpose of this aircraft expanded. If in the middle of 1915 "Sikorsky-small", as the C-16 was sometimes called in the troops, was supposed to be used in the EEC mainly for training pilots of aircraft, and also as "reconnaissance aircraft with planned Squadron attacks on certain points" By the end of this year, their use as "fighters at combat bases for the protection of aircrafts against enemy air raids" was planned.
A total of 27 were built, the only Sikorsky design to enter series production besides the Ilya Muromets. 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.
The October Revolution soon forced him to immigrate to France and then to the U.S., where he founded the Sikorsky Aero Engineering Corporation thanks to financial support from composer Sergei Rachmaninoff.
|Wing area, m2||25.36|
|engine's type||1 PD Gnome|
|Power, hp||1 x 80|
|Maximum speed, km / h||12 5|
|Practical range, km|
|Maximum rate of climb, m / min||125|
|Practical ceiling, m||3500|
|Armament||one 7.7mm Vickers machine gun|
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|