Polikarpov I-17 (TsKB-15): Art Deco in Red.

After his epoch-making I-16, Polikarpov was decided to achieve higher speeds with its next fighter project. In order to do that he chose the slicker water-cooled inline engine instead of the I-16 trusty air-cooled radial. The basic I-17 platform was similar to his previous rotund fighter, but thanks to the inline engine the fuselage cross-section was reduced to the minimum; quite similar to some “speed-seekers” of that era. First flown in September 1934, the design proved to be fast yet not promising enough. Only 3 prototypes were produce plus a few variants studies. Curiously this pretty things were though to be in service with the Soviet AF in early WW2 and were “shot down” in huge numbers by the Germans…

Magnificent 3-view drawing of the 1st prototype, the TsKB-15. With its imported 760hp Hispano-Suiza 12 Ybrs it attained a maximum speed of 455km/h.

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