I-15bis (China)

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Rank VI USSR | Premium | Golden Eagles
Su-25K Pack
This page is about the fighter I-15bis (China). For other versions, see I-15 (Family).
GarageImage I-15bis (China).jpg
1.0 1.0 1.0
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The ␗I-15bis is a rank I Chinese fighter with a battle rating of 1.0 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.91 "Night Vision".

General info

Flight performance

Max speed
at 4 000 m380 km/h
Turn time10 s
Max altitude8 600 m
EngineShvetsov M-25V
Cooling systemAir
Take-off weight2 t
Characteristics Max Speed
(km/h at 4,000 m)
Max altitude
Turn time
Rate of climb
Take-off run
Stock 368 356 8600 10.9 11.7 10.6 10.6 125
Upgraded 394 380 10.3 10.5 19.1 14.2


Combat flaps Take-off flaps Landing flaps Air brakes Arrestor gear
Wings (km/h) Gear (km/h) Flaps (km/h) Max Static G
Combat Take-off Landing + -
580 580 - - - ~14 ~6
Optimal velocities (km/h)
Ailerons Rudder Elevators Radiator
< 180 < 360 < 260 > 309

Survivability and armour

Crew1 person
Speed of destruction
Structural0 km/h
Gear580 km/h
  • 8 mm steel: behind pilot

Modifications and economy

Repair cost
Total cost of modifications3 890 Rp icon.png
179 Sl icon.png
Talisman cost190 Ge icon.png
Crew trainingfree
Experts1 000 Sl icon.png
Aces10 Ge icon.png
Research Aces80 000 Rp icon.png
Reward for battleAB / RB / SB
10 / 10 / 50 % Sl icon.png
100 / 100 / 100 % Rp icon.png
Flight performance Survivability Weaponry
Mods aerodinamic fuse.png
Fuselage repair
Mods radiator.png
440 Rp icon.png
19 Sl icon.png
40 Ge icon.png
Mods compressor.png
Mods aerodinamic wing.png
Wings repair
Mods new engine.png
410 Rp icon.png
18 Sl icon.png
35 Ge icon.png
Mods metanol.png
Engine injection
720 Rp icon.png
35 Sl icon.png
65 Ge icon.png
Mods armor frame.png
Mods armor cover.png
Mods ammo.png
440 Rp icon.png
19 Sl icon.png
40 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 0.png
Mods weapon.png
750 Rp icon.png
35 Sl icon.png
70 Ge icon.png
Mods pilon bomb.png
410 Rp icon.png
18 Sl icon.png
35 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 0.png
Mods pilon rocket.png
720 Rp icon.png
35 Sl icon.png
65 Ge icon.png


Offensive armament

Weapon 14 x 7.62 mm PV-1 machine gun
Ammunition3 050 rounds
Fire rate750 shots/min
Main article: PV-1 (7.62 mm)

The I-15bis (China) is armed with:

  • 4 x 7.62 mm PV-1 machine guns, nose-mounted (1,100 rpg upper + 425 rpg lower = 3,050 total)

Suspended armament

List of setups (3)
Setup 12 x 50 kg FAB-50sv (forged) bomb
Setup 26 x ROS-82 rockets
Setup 36 x RBS-82 rockets
Main articles: FAB-50sv (50 kg), RBS-82, RS-82

The I-15bis (China) can be outfitted with the following ordnance:

  • Without load
  • 2 x 50 kg FAB-50sv bombs (100 kg total)
  • 6 x RS-82 rockets
  • 6 x RBS-82 rockets

Usage in battles

The I-15 can be used in turnfighting, bomber intercepting and ground pounding. It is excellent in turning tightly and continuously, and it has lovely low-speed handling and low stall speeds (unlike its successor I-16), making it a great starter plane for sim. However it does have its drawbacks: the rather big nose blocks the visibility a lot, offering very poor over-the-nose visibility which is a disadvantage in a turn fight, because when leading a shot the enemy will always get obstructed by the engine, making the player guess the shot. Also its upper wings will get in the way when you look aside. Plus, it has an awful telescope-like gunsight, so when zoomed in the I-15's nimbleness is magnified, making the aim super wobbly. You cannot see anything around which greatly reduces your situational awareness.

Note: it is recommended to set the convergence within 300 m, with vertical convergence on, because the majority of turnfights happen at that range or closer.

Note 2: in a turnfight you must get used to shooting without zooming in, as you really can't see anything with its awkward scope when zoomed it. However when tailing a straight-flying plane that scope doesn't seem that bad

Before engaging a fight, it is better to have an altitude advantage first. When approaching the fight try to figure out which is your teammate and which is the enemy, to avoid going for a second pass, as the energy retention of the I-15 is rather slow. Also pick your target carefully. For easier aiming, you want to go for those unmanoeuvrable twin engine aircraft like Ju 88 or Ki-45, or bombers if there are any. Given the bad forward visibility of the I-15, these are the best options as they are quite slow and sluggish, and are a bigger target to hit. However getting hits on them doesn't mean good damage, so you must be patient. When dealing with fighters, it is way harder to aim. The elevator control of the I-15 is extremely sensitive, giving it good manoeuvrability, but at the same time, bad handling. The I-15 will respond in a very fast turn upon moving your stick/mouse by a little bit, which makes tracking nimble planes quite hard. But once you get used to it, try to lure every enemy into a turnfight, as that is where the I-15 shines. Quite a bit of bullets are required to effectively damage the enemy so you must be patient. If you find an enemy at your 6, utilise your great roll rate to do defensive manoeuvres like scissors to make them overshoot. Or you can simply do tight turns, most monoplanes won't be able to cut inside your turn and they might disengage.

If you are not very experienced in sim, you can also go for even bigger targets (bombers) for easier aiming. However you want to be more careful when hunting bombers, since with the Sim control (whether it be mouse joystick or a real stick) the plane will manoeuvre much more gently, making itself a great target for the bomber's gunners. Do not follow behind a bomber's 6 unless you are sure that its tail gunners are unconscious. Chasing behind a bomber makes yourself stationary for the tail gunners, and you will be showered with bullets. Your big radial engine will usually get damaged. Instead, before attacking, get an altitude advantage over the bomber by flying around 2 km above it. The bomber should only fill up about 1/6 of your gunsight. The best position for an attack is at the bomber's high 6 so you can adjust the lead much easier. Dive at the bomber, but not directly at it, try to predict where you two will crash by imagining yourself as a missile, that's where you should aim at (deflection shooting). To maximise the damage it is better to aim for their wings and engines, as the fuselage usually soaks up quite some bullets. Only fire when the bomber passes in front of your guns. This short window might seem inadequate to do anything, but with a accurate burst on the engine the 4 MG can at least damage it. With an engine damaged most bombers cannot go far.

Ground pounding ability is average as there are only few bombs and rockets. The 6 rockets, with accurate aiming, can destroy 3 targets, whether them be tanks or pillboxes. The small 50 kg bombs can be used on light pillboxes. Once the suspended armaments are gone, the 4 MG are good for killing soft targets like trucks, artillery and AA cars.

Enemies worth noting:

Ki-27, N1K1, He 51, Gladiator, etc. - Those commonly seen planes are equally good at turnfights and will be a hard target to down since they are very small and agile. To deal with them you need to practice leading and deflection shots, plus manoeuvres like barrel rolls and scissors. They still need plenty of bullets to get damaged, so these kind of targets are the hardest to kill and requires great skills from the player.

Do 17 Z-2 - This early twin engine plane always shows up as an AI controlled reconnaissance aircraft that you have to down, which is a good news as AI won't manoeuvre aggressively. However this plane is extremely durable for the I-15's weak MGs. When it shows up as an AI, deflection shots are not recommended as the small shooting windows really does nothing. Instead, try disabling its 2 gunners first, then just sit behind it and burst on its wings and engines. When attacking the gunners try to not get your engine damaged by pulling evasive manoeuvres as soon as the bullets come close, since the Do 17 can outrun the I-15 in a level flight.

Manual Engine Control

MEC elements
Mixer Pitch Radiator Supercharger Turbocharger
Oil Water Type
Controllable Not controllable
Not auto controlled
Not controllable
Not auto controlled
Not auto controlled
Combined Not controllable
1 gear
Not controllable

Pros and cons


  • Extreme turning abilities: one of the best turn-fighters in-game, able to turn tightly and continuously with other biplanes
  • Firepower is rich with 4 x 7.62 mm MG, moderate damage and plenty of ammo
  • Good rate of climb
  • Small silhouette meaning you are harder to hit
  • 2 x 50 kg bombs allow you to have some ground-pounding abilities in ground battles
  • Fixed gear is convenient for quick landings and takeoffs
  • Very short take off distance
  • Low stall speed, beginner friendly to land and manoeuvre
  • Open cockpit allows you to easily hear nearby aircraft in Simulator
  • Nose-mounted MGs means no need to worry about convergence distances


  • Very slow speed: cannot keep up with early monoplane fighters (eg He 112) or even some bombers such as Do 17 E-1
  • Will quickly lose speed gathered in a dive
  • Average roll rate
  • Open cockpit can usually get the pilot sniped
  • Small 50 kg bombs require very accurate aiming
  • Telescopic gunsight offers very limiting field of view in Simulator
  • Big engine blocks the visibility over the nose, a disadvantage in a turnfight in Simulator
  • Side views are obstructed by the upper wings and supporting structures
  • Very wobbly with Simulator controls, making it hard to aim precisely
  • Vulnerable to heavy machine gun fire (e.g. .50 cal M2 Browning, 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT)


On the 7th July 1937, fighting broke out between Chinese and Japanese forces, starting the Second Sino-Japanese War. When the war began the Chinese air force was using many obsolete aircraft, such as the Hawk III, which were no match for the Japanese A5M fighters.[1] China rapidly signed the Sino-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact with the USSR, and as part of the agreement the Soviets began Operation Zet to secretly supply China with aircraft and pilots.

Between October 1937 and September 1939 the USSR delivered 885 aircraft (rising to 1,250 by 1941) to China, including 215 Polikarpov I-15 aircraft delivered very soon after the deal was agreed (eventually rising to 347 I-15s). At first the Soviet pilots would have to fly the aircraft over 1,500 miles across China to get them to their destination of Lanzhou, however this was a risky journey and so future batches of aircraft would be disassembled and transported to Hami (closer to Lanzhou), before final assembly and delivery to Lanzhou.[1] The Soviets also sent 250 volunteer pilots to fly the I-15s for China. The first I-15s were delivered in November 1937. In Chinese service the I-16 became known as the "Chizh" or "Siskin".[1]

A number Chinese aces flew the I-15bis; among them Liu Chi-Sheng who achieved 6 of his 10 kills while flying the I-15bis.[2]



See also

Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:

  • reference to the series of the aircraft;
  • links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Maslov and Postlethwaite 2013
  2. Cheung and Davey 2015
  • Cheung, R., & Davey, C. (2015). Aces of the Republic of China Air Force. United Kingdom: Bloomsbury Publishing.
  • Maslov, M., & Postlethwaite, M. (2013). Polikarpov I-15, I-16 and I-153 Aces. United Kingdom: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Polikarpov Design Bureau (Опытное конструкторское бюро Поликарпова)
I-15  I-15 WR · I-15 M-22 · I-15 M-25 · I-15bis · Krasnolutsky's I-15bis
I-153  I-153 M-62 · Zhukovsky's I-153-M62 · I-153P
I-16  I-16 type 5 · I-16 type 10 · I-16 type 18 · I-16 type 24 · I-16 type 27 · I-16 type 28
I-180  I-180S · I-185 (M-71) · I-185 (M-82)
ITP  ITP (M-1)
Twin-engine fighters  TIS MA
Bombers  Po-2 · Po-2M
Export  ␗I-15bis · ␗I-153 M-62 · ␗I-16 type 5 · ␗I-16 type 10 · ␗I-16 type 17 · ␗I-16 Chung 28

China fighters
British  ␗Gladiator Mk I
French  D.510C
Japanese  ␗A6M2 · ␗Ki-27 otsu · ␗Ki-43-III ko · ␗Ki-44-II hei · ␗Ki-61-I otsu · ␗Ki-84 ko
American  CW-21 · Hawk III · P-66 · ␗P-40E-1 · H-81A-2 · ␗P-43A-1 · ␗P-47D-23-RA · ␗P-47D-30 · ␗P-51D-20 · ␗P-51K
Soviet  ␗I-15bis · ␗I-153 M-62 · ␗I-16 Chung 28 · ␗I-16 type 5 · ␗I-16 type 10 · ␗I-16 type 17 · ␗La-11 · ␗La-9