I-16 Type 24

Uploaded on 12 March 2021

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The Type 24 of late 1939 differed from the previous Type 18, that was visually very similar, mainly for its more powerful Shvetsov M-63 engine instead of the similar M-62, a Soviet copy of the Wright-Cyclone R-1820-G-5.

This new engine gave an output of 1100hp for take-off and 900 hp at 4500 m.

155 type 24 were built in late 1939, 760 (some of which were really late type 18 with M-62 engine) in 1940 and 19 in 1941, for a total of 934.

Photo of the prototype of Type 24 in September 1939. It completed its state acceptance tests by September 1939, flown by A. Nikashin. It reached a top speed of 440 km/h at sea level and 489 km/h at 4800 m, with a time of 5.2 minutes to reach 5000 m and a ceiling of 10800 m.

Apart for the clean white livery, we can see that it visually differs from Type 18 for its pointed spinner, but the production planes reverted to the usual rounded spinner.

Besides we see that the profile of the cover of the leg of the main landing gear is more extended backwards and curved, this was made necessary by the new legs with a scissor on its back side that required to enlarge the bay The metallic tailwheel (not rubberized) was new too.

Image: Polikarpov's I-16 Fighter, of Gordon and Dexter

Front image of the prototype.

Apart for the non-standard spinner, the shape of the intakes of the oil cooler and supercharger is the same of Type 18s (that was trapezoidal, usually with bent inside sides).

The armament was of 4 ShKAS, two synchronized over the nose and two on the wings, as Type 10 and 18.

On the cooling window at 1 o'clock, we see an obstacle to the air flow: it was the R-2 constant speed regulator for the engine. On late production Type 24s, the window was reduced in side to hide this device.

Image: Polikarpov's I-16 Fighter, of Gordon and Dexter

The tail wheel was first introduced on this plane, and became a standard for the Type 24, for the late production Type 18 and 27 that were still in production, and for the successive versions, including late production UTI-4.

The fabric skinning on the wings was replaced with a flush wooden one to reduce drag, but this innovation wasn't applied on production planes.

Image: Polikarpov's I-16 Fighter, of Gordon and Dexter

This image shows the addition of a pilot's door on the right side, in addition to the one on the left side common to all the previous variants.

We can't see the inspection hatch on the right side of the fuselage, that was introduced on production Type 24s.

Note the absence of trim tabs on the ailerons; they were usually fitted or refitted on production planes.

The image shows vaguely that a small hatch was added on the fuselage, accessible through a cut on the fillet of the right stabilizer; it was possibly related to the tail wheel, and is visible on the later types of I-16 and UTI-4.

Image: Polikarpov's I-16 Fighter, of Gordon and Dexter



A typical production Type 24 captured by Germans after the war's outbreak.

Here we see the standard shape of the spinner of the MV-1 propeller.

The shape of the main landing gear cover is slightly different from that seen on the prototype and on some other production planes; the landing gear bay and covers had some evolution after the introduction of the scissor-type main leg.

The slots for retractable skis under the nose are partially closed by optional aerodynamic covers, leaving only a thin outlet to improve the engine's cooling.

The color of the upper surfaces is very dark and uniform, suggesting that the plane still had the 1937/40 livery with grey/silver undersurfaces.

Image from the web



The visual characteristics of early Type 24 were:

  • MV-1 propeller with hydraulically movable pitch, characterized by the big and bulbous spinner or, when this was removed, for two balance weights on the hub; besides the shape of the blades was more 'fat' and their curvature more continuous than the VFSh blades of M-25 engined types, that had a sharp change in curvature on the tip;
  • a triangular air intake for the supercharger was put on the top of the cowling (as on Type 18-27-28-29);
  • the intake of the oil cooler under the nose was trapezoidal with bent inside sides (as on late Type 18, 27, 28);
  • a fairing for the oil cover outlet, that characterized the profile under the nose (as on Type 18-27-28);
  • armed with two synchronized ShKAS on the nose and two on the wings (as on type 10 and 18);
  • short ailerons and flaps as on Type 10-17-18, with flaps mechanically operated instead (as Type 18), instead of pneumatically operated (as on Type 10-17);
  • landing gear with scissor-type legs, distinguishable for some protrusion of many shapes on the back of the door and bay;
  • tail wheel (as on type 24-28-29 and late 27);
  • small oval hatch on the rear right side of the fuselage, accessible through a cut in the fillet of the stabilizer;
  • a second pilot's door on the right side (as Type 28-29 and late 18-27);
  • hatch for access to the inside compartment on the right side; it was slightly raised over the surface of the fuselage.
  • armoured backrest (as on late Type 10, 17, and 18, 27, 28, 29)
  • on the rear of the sides of the cowling, a separate panel was provided to give better access to the ammo boxes of the synchronized ShKAS (as Types 18, 27, 28, 29 and on very late Type 10 and 17);
  • open recesses for the ski gear in retracted position under the cowling, eventually closed by a removable optional aerodynamic fairing that let only a slot on the rear for the exit of the cooling air of the engine;
  • coupled exhaust pipes under the cowling, close to the wing fillets (as on late Type 10 and on Type 17, 18, 27, 28)
  • PAK-1b gunsight, (distinguishable from earlier PAK-1 for a rectangular safety cushion);
  • optional support for a camera gun on the back;
  • optional predisposition for auxiliary fuel tanks (not shown here); planes with this predisposition, but without rocket rails and relative metal plates, were named Type 24P.







top view of a typical early Type 24. It visually differs from Type 18 for:

  • the pilot's doors on both sides of the fuselage;
  • the upper side of the doors had a thin leather protection, not seen on earlier types;
  • the access hatch on the right side of the fuselage, a bit raised over the wooden skinning.


bottom view of a typical early Type 24. It visually differs from Type 18 for:

  • different division line and bulged shape of the main leg doors and bays due to the scissors behind the legs; different shapes were possible;
  • tail wheel instead of skid.



The front of the cowling of Type 24 had a small evolution:

Right: both the M-62 and M-63 engines were characterized by a speed regulator, necessary for the variable pitch propeller. This device was positioned at 1o'clock in front of the engine. A small protrusion had to be added to lodge it; it was mostly hidden by the spinner. but it was well visible when it was removed.

Besides the regulator was somewhat visible in the low part of the vent at 1 o'clock, and the shutters of the vents at 12 and at 1 left a void space visible when they were closed to avoid interference.

Note that the shape of the oil cooler intake, trapezoidal with straight sides , is not typical; it should have bent-inside sides.

Left: a later configuration of the cowling had the vent at 1 o'clock slightly reduced at its base, that is, smaller than the other vents. The protrusion was slightly repositioned, and the closed shutter showed a void space at its base only on the vent at 12 o'clock.

Note the faintly visible oval protrusions of the surface between the vents, that appeared in the Type 18-24-27-28-29.

Images from Scalemodels.ru


Left: the hatch on the left side of the fuselage appeared on became standard on Type 24, 28 and 29.

It was for the access to the radio and other devices.

Images from the web and from Istrebitel I-16 of Maslov.


Right: when the shock adsorbers were improved with a stroke of 96 mm instead of 36mm, the anti-torque splined profile of earlier versions was abandoned for a scissor device. The thing protruded behind the leg, so the leg bay had to be enlarged to lodge it.

In its early form, the bay had a curved extension, then returned narrow and straight as on previous versions.

The upper part of the leg cover was modified; it became longer than half of the leg, and extended and curved rearwards. Some variations of the shape of the covers have been observed. The lower part of the cover, solidal to the lower part of the leg, was shorter, narrow and straight to fit the bay.

This form has been observed on the prototype Type 24 and on the Type 28 preserved in the Navy Museum of S.Petersburg, here shown.

The wheel bay changed: the couple wide kidney-shaped windows inside the bays were replaced by a couple of small rectangular windows; a larger rectangular window remained on the rear wall of the right bay. At the center, a hole with a tissue protection let pass the cable for the landing gear retraction.

On this plane we see that the bottom of the bay was flat; this probably was an early and rare form, because most part of the bays had two parallel nervures inside the bays.


A later form of the legs bays showed a faintly curved rear; the outer shape of the wheel covers followed this shape, showing not any step between the upper and lower part.

This shape was utilized on late Type 24 and 28, on late UTI-4 and, with small size changes, on Type 29.

These photos are of the late UTI-4 preserved in Vantaa, at the Museum of the Finnish Air Force.

Images of UTI-4 preserved in Finland from Scalemodels.ru



Left: the tail wheel appeared as standard on Type 24, 28, 29 and late UTI-4. It could have been used on some late Type 18 and 27 too.

It was steering, commanded by pilot's pedals as the rudder, just as the old style tail skid.

Right: an alternative to the tail wheel was the large tail skid, used for snowy or muddy grounds.

Images from Istrebitel I-16 of Maslov.


A collection of photos of the windshield are show the late type PAK-1 gunsight, the hand grips and the circular windows under the windshield.

The first image seems of a Type before 24, because it hasn't the door on the right side, the leather protection on its edge and the rectangular safety cushion on the gunsight.

The images on the right show the safety cushion and the leather protection on the doors.

Note that the aiming ring can be optionally up or down. It was sustained by a rod fixed on the right side of the device.

Images from Scalemodels.ru

Two photos of a Type 24 of the aerobatic team 'Red five'. The plane was all painted red, probably with silver, white or yellow stars. It seems without armament, but with the gunsight installed. The camera gun support is installed on its back.

Another interesting characteristic is the use of a large tail skid instead of the usual tail wheel; this was good for snowy or muddy airstrips.


Type 24 P


In early 1940, it was stated that one Type 24 and 28 each four planes should have received a predisposition for auxiliary droppable fuel tanks.

This included a plate with fixation points under each wing console, and a smaller plate for access to the system on the upper wing console surface.

The suspension point was usable for bombs and other loads too.

These planes were named Type 24P; this character was included in their serial number (often confused with the cyrillic R, that is written as Latin P).

Apart for this, Type 24P wasn't different from the contemporary Type 24.


upper view of Type 24 P. The hatches on the wing outer consoles were for access to the system of auxiliary tanks.


bottom view of Type 28P, showing the plates for the auxiliary tanks.

It shows also the optional installation for two exctractable landing torches. The area around was covered with an aluminum plate to protect the fabric about the heat emission. This installation existed in at least two variants; the one illustrated here, probably the earlier one, had a plate covering 3 spaces between ribs, and the hatches hinged on the proximal side.

The planes with torches had their underwing red stars moved outside, close to the wingtips.



An interesting photo of a Type 24P during a maintenance session shows a lot of interesting details.

The most evident one is the couple of auxiliary tanks suspended under the wings.

The position of the red stars under the wings suggest that the plane wasn't provided with torches under the right wing, else the stars should be closer to the wingtips.

The photo shows (vaguely) the new main gear with increased shock absorber stroke and scissor that required the extension of the bay and cover.

The recesses for the retractable ski gear under the cowling were partially closed by removable shaped plates, that let a visible slot backwards as a cooling air outlet.


An enlarged detail of the same photo. Although grainy, it shows fairly well the tank and some details of the landing gear leg with scissors and one of the possible shapes of the leg covers and bays, extended backwards to make room for the scissor.

The small wire outside the leg cover was for the folding of the wheel flap during the retraction.

The struts, doors, wheel hub covers and the bays of the landing gear are of the same color of the outside, light grey or light blue.



Type 24 and 24P of late 1940


Type 24 and 24P of the second half of 1940 introduced some minor differences and updates.


One difference was the use of new paints:

  • a lighter shade of AII green containing more chromium oxyde for the wood/fabric parts;
  • a lighter shade of paint (A-19F) for the metallic parts, that appeared somewhat distinguishable (but not always);
  • AII light blue instead of silver or AII grey for the wood/fabric skinned parts;
  • A-18f light blue for the metallic parts of the undersurfaces.

According to other interpretations, the same paint was used both on wooden and metallic parts, but it appeared darker and better preserved on fabric/wood parts because it was covered with 2 or 3 layers of trasparent oil paint.


top view of the Type 24 P with the colors of the second half of 1940/first half of 1941.

Note the hatches for the access to the suspension point system.



bottom view of the Type 24P late. The pale shade of the metallic parts is well visible on photos.

The drawing shows another (and probably later) configuation of the optional extractable landing torches under the right wing. The protective metal plate covered 4 spaces between ribs, and the hatches were hinged on the far side.

The planes with torches had their underwing red stars moved outside, close to the wingtips.



Two Type 24 of 116 IAP, Central Asia District, were lost in accidents in May 1941.

They were characterized by an AII aluminum livery, but they were originally built in green-blue livery as usual.

Red 6 (with black outline) was of 1st squadron and had serial number2421 D-8; according to the reconstruction on M-Hobby n.7/2018 the rear half of the spinner was AII green.

Blue 10 (with black outline) was of 2nd squadron and had serial number 2421 D-31; always according to the same article of M. Timin, its spinner was fully aluminum.

Something about 116 IAP can be found here: http://ava.org.ru/iap/116.htm


Type 24 White 47 of 87 IAP after a belly landing.




The sad end of a Type 24 during Barbarossa. The plane has already the wartime positioning of the stars (fuselage, tail, under the wings) instead of the prewar one (fuselage, above and below wings) and a strange camouflage probably made with black dots oversprayed on a green background. The prop blades are still shining with only part of the back face painted black, as for prewar standard.

Image from the web


I-16 Type 18 or 24 red 13 after a belly landing on the Southern front.


I-16 Type 24 White 270 after a belly landing.

An oblique colored band is visible on the tail; probably the band denotes the regiment, possibly 307 IAP, and its color the squadron. The image gives the idea of a yellow or light blue band. The spinner seems white, as the tactical number.

Probably the red star was present both on the fuselage and on the fin, that were stripped by German souvenir hunters.

Image from the web


I-16 Type 24 of 72 SAP after a landing accident.

Seems that the hatch on the side was sealed with adhesive tape.

The red star on the fuselage seems painted off with a darker shade of green, but it seems to see some parts of it, as if it was repainted; a large red star with a black outline seems barely visible on the tail too.



A camouflaged Type 24 captured by Germans. The disposition of the red stars conforms to wartime standards.

A strange characteristic is visible under the nose panel: the ski recess is closed with the removable cover, but its shape is strange, a thin part and a larger one. Probably, a standard cover was modified with a cut to allow more air flow or to give better access to something.


I-16 n. 7 (factory number 2421793) of the 176th IAP, broken when landing at the airport of Monino on the night between 28 and 29 July 1941; the pilot, deputy squadron commander Lieutenant D.V. Stupachenko, was not injured.

There is no doubt on the use of an improvised black-green camouflage over light blue undersurfaces; what is confusing is the difference in the shade of the red stars, not justified by a difference of exposition, and the dark number that is represented as yellow with white outline on M-Hobby 11/2018. It doesn't seem what I see. If there is written that the number was yellow on the report of the accident, it could be that it was only a yellow outline on the green background of the camouflage.

The plane was equipped with a radio mast and wiring.

Images from M-Hobby 11/2018, article of M.Timin.

Something on the 176 IAP can be found at http://ava.org.ru/iap/176.htm


I-16 Type 24 n.7 after a belly landing. The front part of the prop blades looks painted (black?), bent, dirty and with the shadow of the soldier projected on




Type 24 White (?) 346 of 36 IAP crashed on 22.05.41 at the airport Chaika. It was flown by Lieutenant J. I. Chaly.

Planes of 346 IAP were characterized by three digits tactical numbers on the sides and a white chevron pointing forward on the tail.

In the detail, a worn chevron from another plane of the same regiment.

Image from M-Hobby 1/2019, article of M.Timin.



Late Type 24 White 100 of the command of the 27th IAD, 1940.

The photo is poor but interesting. The emblem of the circular arrow, the inclined number 100 and its intersection with the red star, the apparently black nose, the radio mast and wires are noteworthy.

Image from M-Hobby 2/2019, article of M.Timin.


Type 24R



Many late-production Type 24, obsolete as fighters in the second half of 1940, were completed as ground attack planes, with an additional armament of 6 RS-82 rockets under the wings.

Their factory code included a cyrillic R, (for Raketa) that resembles the latin P (from here, the confusion made by automatic translators between Type 24P and Type 24R).

Right profile of a Type 24R showing its typical characteristics:

  • radio mast on the right side, passing through a circular hole in the side panel of the cowling, similar to that of Type 29 (rarely installed on Type 24);
  • three rocket rails under each wing; this required that both wings had their skinned reinforced with duraluminum sheet to protect from the fire; the planes predisposed for rocket rails were coded 24P21...., ;
  • plates for auxiliary tanks and two extractable flares for night landings under the right wing; this device required a duraluminum reinforced skin under the right wing, just as Type 24P.

These characteristics were similar to those installed on Type 29, and show that the I-16, being considered obsolete as a fighter, was thought to become a ground attack plane.



top view of a Type 24R of late 1940. It shows:

  • the radio mast and wires, optional;
  • the access hatches for the auxiliary tanks system;
  • the reinforced skinning on the wings required by the installation of rocket rails.


bottom view of a late Type 24R. It shows:

  • the plates for the auxiliary fuel tank;
  • the rocket rails and the skinning reinforced with metal plates;
  • the reinforced skinning for the extractable torches under the right wing.



3 photos of I-16 Type 24R of 67 IAP.

All them are Type 24R with reinforced plates on the wings, 6 rocket rails, flares and auxiliary tanks and support for the camera gun. Their painting was AII green and blue, as prewar standard.

A prominent characteristic of all the planes of the regiment was the big two digits tactical number on the tail painted with some light color, probably aluminum and/or white.

According to an article of M.Timin on M-Hobby 12/2018, the known numbers were:

  • 1st squadron: 12-16 and 19-20,
  • 3rd squadron-50-53.
  • 4th squadron: 70-72-78-82-85

That is, each squadron had its own range of broadly 23 consecutive numbers.

Not all these planes were Type 24R: n.16 and 20, for example, were Type 28.

Plane 53 shows an external starter connected on the propeller, and a strangely patched number; its look is compatible with an aluminum number painted with airbrush and retouched by brush, creating a strongly non-uniform reflection.


Left: the photo of plane 85 allows to see well the extension of the protective plates on the upper part of the leading edge to protect it against the fire of rockets.

Plane n.12 of the same unit, abandoned and photographed by Germans. The font of the digit 2 is different from that of plane 72.

The number looks white on this image. Perhaps not all the codes were of the same color.


Plane n. 6 of 115 GvIAP is interesting for having both the auxiliary tans and the radio mast.

The change in color of the wing leading edge suggests that it had a reinforced skinning on the wings, predisposition for rocket rails (not installed) and extractable landing torches that identifies it as Type 24R despite the lack of the rocket rails..





The I-16 Type 24 of Vladimir Mikhailovich Gaidov of 254 IAP at the Budogoshchi airfield.

The plane is particularly interesting for:

  • the red star on the spinner;
  • the red star one on the fuselage that had an unusual white outline;
  • the double numbering, 27 and 1;
  • five victory stars on the back;
  • landing gear covers removed;
  • only one rocket rail under each wing;
  • the barrel of the machine gun looks longer than usual; it could bear some long-barrel version of the ShKAS.



Two interesting images of a Type 24 Red 22 pf 286 IAP with white distemper finish in winter 1941/42.

The plane was equipped with auxiliary tanks.

On the photo below, the regiment commander Lieutenant Colonel P.N. Baranov is sitting on the stabilizer.



Most interesting Type 24 of 445 IAP in winter camouflage. The unit kept I-16 in service up to 1943.

The pilot was Viktor Semenovich Ruchkin, who died on 11-04-1943 in a plane crash near Kashira.

The plane, recognizable as Type 24 for the wing ShKAS and the right pilot's door, is equipped with an out of standard radio mast.

The camouflage was likely made with white distemper leaving amoebas of underlying green paint. The tail had a red star with a thin white outline. No any number is visible.




I-16 Type 24R of the 8 IAP of the Black Sea Fleet in December 1941

The plane is only marginally visible, but shows a surprising camouflage oversprayed over the usual prewar green upper surfaces.




  • A collage of photos.
  • Left, top: a pilot on the same plane of the photo above. The thinned camo dots are roughly oversprayed even on the red star, without hiding it.
  • Left, down: the same plane with pilot Denisov.
  • Right, top: pilot Gerasimov close to a similar plane in early 1942; a white number, perhaps 10, looks visible on the rudder.
  • Right, down: pilot Denisov close to the same plane, surely a Type 24.


Observing all the available photos, we can conclude that the planes were Type 24R with prewar green upper surfaces and prewar positioning of the national insignias, armed with 6 rockets, with a white number on the tail (unknown in the case of the plane of the first photo, but hardly higher than 10), with no particular caps or colored spinners; the camouflage was roughly made with very thinned and transparent light (brown?) and black paints, and extended partially over the markings without hiding them completely; the light blue area on the sides of the fuselage was probably hidden by black.


Pilot V.M.Borodin of 8 IAP CHF on a similar plane, equipped with radio. He died on 28.12.1941.

Rockets are visible under the wings. The wheel covers were removed.

The light blue area close to the stabilizators was repainted black to reduce the visibility of the plane from above.

Note the strange rotation of the red star on the fuselage.


Image of the ace Capt. Boris F.Safonov of 72 AP Sf (Mixed Air Regiment of the Navy) in summer 1941, Vaenga air base, Murmansk area.

Safonov was made HSU on 16 September 1941, and a second time on June 14, 1942, after his death: he had become Lt. Colonel and commander of the Regiment, that was made Guards as 2 GvIAP; he was KIA on May 30, 1942, while flying a P-40.

The I-16 Type 24 s/n 24R21851 is a Type 24R equipped with 6 rocket rails and predisposition for the auxiliary tanks; the shape of the gun camera on the back is recognizable.

The plane was numbered White 11 and had the slogan Za Stalina!(For Stalin!) painted on its left side, probably in white.

Reportedly, it had the slogan 'Smert fashistam!' (Death to the fascists!) on the other side; no any photo of this is known, and the versions available in profiles are artist's interpretations.

The photo above has to have been retouched because the gunsight, well visible in other photos, has disappeared.



Safonov posing close to his plane.

The image shows some details, as the gunsight, the camera gun and the fact that the exclamation mark was interrupted where it intersected the red star.



Below: a detail of the factory number 24R21851. The P in Cyrillic is for R, rockets.

Below: photo of I-16 Type 24R White 13 of 72 AP SF, the same unit of Safonov.

The plane has the inscription 'Za SSSR!'' (For the SSSR!).

Left: the pilot, Lieutenant S. Surzhenko.




This work was made with the important help of Bernard Le Guenno (BLG), Daniele Righi (Righidan), Andrey Averin (Dabbler), Alexander Gorodnichev, Charles Green, PG Monster and Aleksandrs Ruckovskis.



This work collects photos from many sources, not always identified and mentioned. This was made for research purposes, not intended to obtain an economical gain from them nor to offend the rights of anyone.

Besides, many of the images were published on multiple sources, making difficult to credit them to one source without forgetting other ones.

If someone has rights on the images reproduced here, please don't feel hurted, email to me and I shall provide to remove or to credit them.