I-16 type 17 (China)

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Rank IV USSR | Premium | Golden Eagles
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This page is about the Chinese fighter I-16 type 17 (China). For other versions, see I-16 (Family).
GarageImage I-16 type 17 (China).jpg
␗I-16 type 17
3.3 3.3 2.7
Research:9 200 Specs-Card-Exp.png
Purchase:16 000 Specs-Card-Lion.png
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The ␗I-16 type 17 is a rank II Chinese fighter with a battle rating of 3.3 (AB/RB) and 2.7 (SB). It was introduced in Update 1.91 "Night Vision".

General info

Flight performance

Max speed
at 4 400 m461 km/h
Turn time16 s
Max altitude9 300 m
EngineShvetsov M-25V
Cooling systemAir
Take-off weight2 t
Characteristics Max Speed
(km/h at 4,400 m)
Max altitude
Turn time
Rate of climb
Take-off run
Stock 444 423 9300 17.6 18.6 14.8 14.8 210
Upgraded 480 461 15.5 16.5 23.1 18.5


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 + -
700 260 N/A N/A 260 ~16 ~8
Optimal velocities (km/h)
Ailerons Rudder Elevators Radiator
< 300 < 240 < 280 > 190

Survivability and armour

Crew1 person
Speed of destruction
Structural0 km/h
Gear260 km/h
  • 6 mm steel behind pilot

Modifications and economy

Repair costBasic → Reference
AB493 → 624 Sl icon.png
RB1 046 → 1 324 Sl icon.png
SB1 407 → 1 781 Sl icon.png
Total cost of modifications8 380 Rp icon.png
9 460 Sl icon.png
Talisman cost640 Ge icon.png
Crew training4 500 Sl icon.png
Experts16 000 Sl icon.png
Aces180 Ge icon.png
Research Aces190 000 Rp icon.png
Reward for battleAB / RB / SB
30 / 70 / 150 % Sl icon.png
118 / 118 / 118 % Rp icon.png
Flight performance Survivability Weaponry
Mods aerodinamic fuse.png
Fuselage repair
560 Rp icon.png
630 Sl icon.png
100 Ge icon.png
Mods radiator.png
560 Rp icon.png
630 Sl icon.png
100 Ge icon.png
Mods compressor.png
470 Rp icon.png
530 Sl icon.png
85 Ge icon.png
Mods aerodinamic wing.png
Wings repair
700 Rp icon.png
790 Sl icon.png
125 Ge icon.png
Mods new engine.png
700 Rp icon.png
790 Sl icon.png
125 Ge icon.png
Mods metanol.png
Engine injection
680 Rp icon.png
770 Sl icon.png
120 Ge icon.png
Mods armor frame.png
470 Rp icon.png
530 Sl icon.png
85 Ge icon.png
Mods armor cover.png
680 Rp icon.png
770 Sl icon.png
120 Ge icon.png
Mods ammo.png
560 Rp icon.png
630 Sl icon.png
100 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 0.png
Mods weapon.png
470 Rp icon.png
530 Sl icon.png
85 Ge icon.png
Mods pilon bomb.png
470 Rp icon.png
530 Sl icon.png
85 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 1.png
Mods ammo.png
700 Rp icon.png
790 Sl icon.png
125 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 0.png
Mods weapon.png
680 Rp icon.png
770 Sl icon.png
120 Ge icon.png
Mods pilon rocket.png
680 Rp icon.png
770 Sl icon.png
120 Ge icon.png


Offensive armament

Weapon 12 x 20 mm ShVAK cannon
Ammunition300 rounds
Fire rate800 shots/min
Ammunition1 300 rounds
Fire rate1 800 shots/min

The I-16 type 17 (China) is armed with:

  • 2 x 20 mm ShVAK cannons, wing-mounted (150 rpg = 300 total)
  • 2 x 7.62 mm ShKAS machine guns, nose-mounted (650 rpg = 1,300 total)

Suspended armament

List of setups (4)
Setup 12 x 100 kg FAB-100sv (forged) bomb
Setup 22 x 50 kg FAB-50sv (forged) bomb
Setup 36 x ROS-82 rockets
Setup 46 x RBS-82 rockets

The I-16 type 17 (China) can be outfitted with the following ordnance:

  • Without load
  • 2 x 100 kg FAB-100sv bombs (200 kg total)
  • 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-16 type 17 shares a similar playstyle as its predecessors, which is turnfighting. Start off the match by climbing between 10-17 degrees to gain altitude. Although this is not a real BnZ fighter, getting some altitude will still grant you many opportunities.

Your biggest threat when flying the I-16 Type 17 comes from pretty much any fighter aircraft at this BR, since they all have a significant top speed/climb rate advantage (such as Ki-43 and Bf 109 F). A common scenario you will encounter is, you will see those planes higher than you before an engagement due to your inferior climb rate. They will always try to BnZ you, while your only effective tactic is to evade their dives and bleed their energy. Bank towards your teammates and keep climbing with WEP. As the enemy starts diving on you, wait until the distance closes to ~0.9 km, then use your great roll rate and turn rate, suddenly roll to one side and dodge under the attacker. This will usually force them to either shoot at an awkward position and miss (usually), or they will straight-up relinquish the pass and pull up. Some enemies might lose patience after a few successful dodges and chase you rather than zooming away to try and destroy you. Now again utilise your agility to perform horizontal manoeuvres such as scissors, in a combination of short vertical movements such as Immelmanns and chandelles, to force an overshoot or to get on their tail. With careful aiming, the pair of ShVAK cannons will quickly destroy a fighter.

Do not try to out-dive any monoplane as the I-16's light weight means that it is relatively slow at building up speed in a dive and also causes it to have lacklustre energy retention. However some short dives will gather you speed for more manoeuvres, or drag enemy BnZ planes to the deck. Once they are low, it is rather easy to out-manoeuvre them.

When confronting slower but more manoeuvrable planes such as Ki-27, energy tactics like BnZ are to be favoured over turning and burning. When you do not have altitude advantage over the Ki-27, the use of rolls is the most desired if not a nigh obligatory form of evasion. There is minimal chance to turn out or outrun the Ki-27, but you can out-roll it, particularly at high speeds. On the other hand, zoom climbs are a bit of a mixed bag. While the I-16 sometimes can get away with it through its superior power-to-weight ratio, the Ki-27 has a much lower stall speed which sometimes allows it to stay all the way through the zoom climb with I-16.

The I-16 Type 17 is not a very effective interceptor, not being much faster than most monoplane bombers in its rank while having both a rather weak armament and protection.


The I-16 can be used in turnfighting, bomber intercepting and ground pounding. However in this mode, its characteristics appear to be quite conflicting. It is excellent in turning tightly and continuously, yet when manoeuvring it easily gets into uncontrollable spins which isn't beginner friendly. Also 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. More ever, there is no trim control available in a sim battle and the I-16 always pitch up and down. Although not a lot, it is still annoying when trying to get a precise aim.

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.

Sim is different from realistic, so discard the habit of bringing the least fuel. Bring at least 30 minutes of fuel, although it decreases the plane's performance a bit, it prevents constant refuelling which saves time for patrolling and fighting.

As your I-16 roars down the runway, you will notice that it shifts severely to the side, and the nose will tip down. If you don't correct it it will eventually strike the ground, causing a failed takeoff. Thus you must put rudder input as opposed to the side it's shifting towards, and apply positive pitch to keep the propeller off the ground. You do not want to use flaps anywhere except takeoff and landing, since they are very weak and will rip at more than 260 km/h, while the average speed during a battle tends to be around 300 km/h. Once one or both flaps are gone it creates an imbalance in the roll axis, making spins more common. It also makes landing harder.

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-16 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-16, these are the best options as they are quite slow and sluggish, and are a bigger target to hit. When dealing with fighters, it is way harder to aim. The elevator control of the I-16 is extremely sensitive, giving it good manoeuvrability, but at the same time, bad handling. The I-16 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-16 shines. Several hits with the ShVAK cannon will effectively damage the enemy. 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. Important note: DO NOT put too much rolling and pitching input at once, as aforementioned the I-16 tend to enter spins easily.

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 twin ShVAK can deal quite a bit of damage. Without an engine most bombers cannot go far.

Although ground pounding ability is limited, there are still bombs and rockets to choose from. The 2 bombs can effectively destroy pillboxes or tanks while the rockets, with accurate aiming, can destroy 3 targets. Once the suspended armaments are gone, use the 2 MG for soft targets like trucks, artillery and AA cars. Save the ammo for the ShVAK in case of an unwanted dogfight.

Just like the SB 2M, the I-16 can still fly when it's extremely slow, causing it to bounce up during landing which can lead to a fatal crash. The trick is similar: slow it down more than other aircraft. Make sure you are around 1 km from the start of the runway and is no more than 300 m high. When the runway fills up your gunsight, drop speed to around 210 km/h and deploy landing flaps. The good thing is, the I-16 will not pitch up drastically upon using its flaps so you don't need to counter the extra lift. Make sure that you extend landing gears early as they move very slow (takes around 15 seconds to deploy). When you are about to touch down you should be flying at around 140 km/h. You must control your rate of descent (I-16's gears are fragile) and make sure that you are slightly pitching upwards with the nose obstructing the horizon. This way the I-16 should land gently without having to brake for too long. Once you are sliding on the ground, fully deflect your elevators upwards to counter the momentum that can push the nose into the ground. You must release brakes once every 4 seconds, because if you only release them as the nose dips down, it's too late.

Against the I-16

Turn fighter: if you are in a biplane (e.g. He 51, CR.32), you can simply choose to lure the I-16 into a turn fight with purely flat turns. But before doing so it might dive at you, perform the classical evading manoeuvre by dodging under its negative G area. The I-16 is indeed good at turning, but its monoplane configuration, small wings and weak engine leads to poor energy retention and high wing loading, causing it to bleed speed in continuous turns. Biplanes will last longer in a prolonged turn fight and will eventually end up at the I-16's tail. Monoplane turn fighters like the Spitfire and A6M2 all have superior level speed, climb rate and dive speed, although their turn rate might be slightly worse. Now with better energy retention you can choose a combination of turn fighting and BnZ fighting.

Jack-of-all-trades fighter: this type of aircraft (e.g. Ki-43, Bf 109 E) can find it quite easy to deal with an I-16, since they all have significantly better climb rate, acceleration, level and dive speed, despite having slower turn rate. With this superior performance, players have every advantage possible and should perform BnZ attacks on the I-16. It will most certainly dodge your dives like described above, but do not lose patience. Keep either speed or altitude advantage and never get lured down to the same height as an I-16. An experienced I-16 pilot will utilise its amazing turn rate and roll rate to force overshoots or even an ultimate reversal should you somehow bleed all your energy/speed. In Simulator, this kind of jack-of-all-trades fighter usually has much better stability and smoother handling than an I-16, and maybe better visibility too, so you can choose a combination of manoeuvres to play with it. The I-16 has very limited over-the-nose visibility, and absurdly bad stableness that it usually ends up in flatspins if its pilot is not gentle with the stick.

High speed BnZ fighter: with fast fighters, the tactic is straightforward: keep up your speed at all times, even if it means trading altitude for it. Approach the I-16 fast, perform a quick and precise deflection shooting and zoom climb/shallow climb away, leaving the I-16 far behind. Its slow speed means that it will never catch up to a high speed aircraft like the He 100, P-40, Ki-61, etc. Note, as you approach a veteran I-16 pilot might dance around to mess up your shots. if you do miss, do not try and follow up for more shots, immediately zoom away. This is a very vicious trap: the slower "prey" presents its tail to an attacker to disguise as an easy target, lure it closer and closer until the BnZ becomes a face to face dogfight, then before the attacker may realise the reversal comes.

Attacker/bomber: many attackers are faster than the I-16, like the B18, Hs 129, even bombers like the SBD and He 111. For the former, if an I-16 tries to get on your tail, enter a steep dive, gradually level out and gain some separation. It cannot catch up to you. The best scenario is to force a head-on with it, as it has rather weak armaments. For planes with defensive guns, keep your plane steady as the I-16 dives/approaches, then aim carefully at its huge radial engine. It will not be fast even in a dive, and with its engine damaged it will be even slower, making itself an easier target for your gunners.

Enemies worth noting:

Ki-27 otsu, 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 are easily damaged by your ShVAK.

He 111 H-6 - This bomber is not only quite durable, but also pretty fast. In level flight it can outrun the I-16 rather easily. Avoid being on its 6 as it will have at least 2 x 7.92 mm MGs facing its tail, and their rapid rate of fire and good penetration is a big threat. Either go for a head-on or use deflection shooting and aim for its engines. If you cannot keep up with it, disengage. If it flies way higher than you, change your target.

Sunderland Mk IIIa - This flying boat is like a low-tier Be-6. Its huge fuselage is very spacious and can absorb lots of bullets and shells. It also has lethal defensive firepower: two 7.7 mm in the nose, four forward-facing, two on the top and four at the tail, so attacking from behind, in front or above aren't the best options. Dive under it and suddenly pull up to shoot its defenceless underside. Aim at the large wings and engines, avoid shooting the fuselage.

He 100 D-1, [[Bf 109 E-1, A6M2 - These planes might not be able to out-turn the I-16, but they can easily outrun it as the I-16 is very slow. These fighters will usually BnZ you, so you must constantly look above and behind you. If they are diving on you, do what you do in realistic: use your roll rate and dodge under their negative G areas. Most players will try to follow up, if not immediately losing track of you. Several dodges might make them impatient and if they really start to turn with you, they are already dead.

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


  • Excellent turning ability- with combat flaps deployed it can out-turn any Bf 109, Fw 190 A and even turn-fighters like the Spitfire
  • Extreme roll rate allows it to do offensive/defensive scissors easily, which is an advantage over Bf 109 and Spitfire as their roll rates aren't as good.
  • Powerful twin ShVAK cannons with good fire rate, adequate velocity and accuracy, while 150 RPG capacity allows for reasonably long engagements
  • Is at rank III but with a 2.7 BR, meaning it can research rank IV planes while playing at low BR matches which can be more enjoyable
  • Suspended armament provides rockets and bombs, which, to an extent, allows some ground attack ability
  • Is a very short and small plane, offering the enemy a harder target to hit


  • Extremely poor level speed, climb rate, dive acceleration and energy retention- will get outran, out-climbed and out-dived easily by Bf 109 E/F, Fw 190 A or A6M2.
  • Engine tends to overheat when diving at more than 500 km/h
  • Control surfaces are unresponsive over 450 km/h
  • Flaps are very weak and will break over 250 km/h, severely limiting its sharp-turning potential at higher speeds
  • No manual trim controls in Simulator which makes it hard to handle
  • Although manoeuvrable, it can still get out-turned by the Japanese turn-fighters
  • Hard to fly in SB -- very unstable in pitch, poor over-the-nose visibility and is prone to enter flat spins


From Russia with military aid

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), including 216 Polikarpov I-16s, predominantly Type 5s and Type 10s. 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 first I-16s were delivered in November 1937, however rushed training of the Chinese pilots meant many were lost to crashes. In Chinese service the I-16 became known as the "Lastochka" or "Swallow".[1] In the early years of the war the I-16 was a capable fighter, however from 1939 onwards its performance was deemed to be lacking in comparison to newer fighters.

A number Chinese aces flew the I-16; among them Lo Ying-Teh who in 1938 shot down Japanese unit leader Lt Ryohei Ushioda's A5M2 in his I-16 Type 5. Another ace to fly the I-16 was Liu Chi-Sheng who achieved 3 of his 10 kills while flying the I-16 Type 5, along with another shared kill.[2]

Type 17 , the "cannon bird"

The I-16 Type 17 is an enhanced version of I-16 Type 10 with firepower improvement. Two ShVAK 20 mm autocannons replace the ShKAS machine guns mounted underwing while the other two nose-mounted ShKAS machine remain unchanged. Additional armour is implemented to improve the protection and overall survivability of the aircraft. The racks under both wings can carry two 100 kg FAB-100 bombs or six RS-82 series rockets.

Unlike later I-16s with M-62 engine, the Type 17 still uses the M-25V engine and weighs 145 kg heavier than the Type 10. The additional weight makes the plane about 10 km/h slower, which is considered as acceptable. But the worse manoeuvrability is annoying.

The Republic of China purchased a total of 75 I-16 Type 17 fighters from the Soviet Union in early 1941, just before the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact was signed. Those were the last military planes the USSR sold to Republic of China. The 32nd Squadon,3rd Fighter Group received 15 of these aircraft, and 5 of them crashed on May 2nd,1941 due to disorientation. The 4th Fighter Group received 35 of them. The 17th Squadron and the 26th Squadron of the 5th Fighter Group were equipped with 14 I-16 Type 17 fighters.

Those I-16 Type 17 had a rather short service life in the ROC Air Force due to multiple reasons. Although the I-16 fighter is reluctantly capable of fighting against Nakajima Ki-27 fighters mainly fielded by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Corps and A5M fighters fielded by the Imperial Navy in late 1930s, there was a huge performance gap between the outdated Russian design and the latest A6M fighter which made its first debut in 1940. Apart from their lack of performance, the I-16s in China suffered from lack of logistic supply because the Soviet Union refused to offer further support in order to comply to the non-aggression treaty signed with Japan. Later, after the outbreak of the Pacific War, those I-16 Type-17s along with other I-16 and I-15 fighters were replaced by American-made P-40 and P-43 fighters.



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