|This page is about the Soviet fighter I-153 M-62. For other versions, see I-153 (Family).
The I-153 M-62 Chaika is a further development of the I-15 family of biplanes, conceptualized after experience during the Spanish Civil War led the Soviet high command to believe in the need of more modern biplanes in service. The Chaika included several modern features that significantly improved its performance, namely a retractable undercarriage, upgraded armaments to faster-firing ShKAS machine guns, and a "gull wing" sesquiplane design that improved the overall aerodynamic qualities. While the Chaika proved to be a formidable fighter during the early stage of the war, being capable of going toe-to-toe with the Japanese Ki-27 during the Battle of Khalkin Gol, it was plagued with engine reliability problems and its poor fuel fire damage resistance that often left the pilot at risk of immolation. Several attempts were made to iron out the problem with the Chaika during the beginning stage of the war in Europe, but was deemed fruitless. With the advent of more modern and capable monoplanes, the Chaika was gradually phased out of the service and relegated to light attack aircraft.
In the game since the start of the Open Beta Test prior to Update 1.27, the Chaika is arguably one of if not the best biplane fighters in War Thunder, with incredible manoeuvrability and blistering ShKAS machine guns. The plane can out-turn and out-roll any monoplanes in the game, and features excellent ground and air attack capability. This extreme characteristic allows the Chaika to easily went toe-to-toe with more advanced fighter and gives them a tough dogfight. However, the Chaika still retains the drawback of a biplane of poor top speed and durability that would leave it helpless if the pilot did not pay an attention to the surroundings. With understanding of the strength and weakness of the Chaika, one can push this humble biplane to its fullest and defeating even the much faster and heavier-armed planes at higher ranks.
The I-153 M-62 Chaika possesses a good turn radius, good climb rate and good acceleration at low altitudes. To fly this plane, you should climb to medium altitudes after taking off (2,000-3,000 m) then accelerate to prepare for hot pursuit against enemy fighters and bombers.
Being a light biplane, the I-153 M-62 has an excellent manoeuvrability and will outturn any enemy aircraft it encounters. It also has a slow stall speed, meaning it can follow booming-and-zooming enemy aircraft in a climb after having evaded their fire. The ability to retract the landing gear reduces parasitic drag, improving the I-153 M-62's energy retention.
To get an enemy plane off your tail, it is best to simply do a turn and you won't get hit as the manoeuvrability of the plane is incredible. The plane's massive flaws are its low top speed and the incredible engine overheating.
| Max Speed
(km/h at 4,850 m)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
| Take-off run
|Max Static G
|Optimal velocities (km/h)
|100% Engine power
|WEP Engine power
Survivability and armour
The Chaika is a biplane, so don't expect much survivability. It can withstand a few shots from 7 mm MGs, but guns like the American .50 cal will shred it to pieces, and cannons will decimate it. However, it can be flown (to some extent) with parts of the wings missing, which can be helpful to get back to the base. Your greatest protection is your manoeuvrability, so keep making manoeuvres to avoid enemy fire when you can.
The only armour on the aircraft is a 8 mm steel plate behind the pilot. While it can stop rifle calibre MG over 400 m, its effectiveness remains limited against targets at closer range or armed with heavier armament.
- 8 mm steel: behind pilot.
- Fuel tank is self-sealing.
Modifications and economy
The I-153 M-62 is armed with:
- 4 x 7.62 mm ShKAS machine guns, nose-mounted (700 rpg + 750 rpg + 520 rpg + 500 rpg clockwise from the top-left = 2,470 total)
The ShKAS machine guns were a direct improvement over the PV machine guns on the early I-15 series, with absurd rate of fire and huge amount of ammunition. Due to the Chaika's wide nose, the guns has a rather wide spread when convergence is not set, but near pinpoint accurate when it is set (usually 600-800 m).
While the individual round is fairly weak, it makes up with the sheer amount of rounds it can deliver (120 rounds per second) which means more chance for the rounds to hit the pilot and setting the engine/fuel tank on fire, especially when using the "Tracers" and "Stealth" belts. When combined with the plane's agility, this result into a deadly combo of a highly efficient dogfighter that is more than capable at pilot and engine sniping, even when pitting against superior foes at higher ranks.
The main drawbacks of the ShKAS machine guns are its vulnerability to jamming which made trigger discipline vital, as well as an uneven distribution of each gun's ammunition, the latter will cause some gun to expend all of its ammo before the other and reduce the firepower of the plane when low on ammo.
The I-153 M-62 can be outfitted with the following ordnance:
- Without load
- 2 x 50 kg FAB-50sv bombs (100 kg total)
- 8 x ROS-82 rockets
- 8 x RBS-82 rockets
Usage in battles
As described earlier, climbing at an aggressive rate during the beginning of the game is extremely beneficial. Once at bomber altitude, building up speed is a must as the biplane bleeds speed in high altitude turns. However, once this is achieved, the plane has free reign overruling the sky. Play mainly as an interceptor and air defence fighter and watch as the enemy plummets towards the ground.
Anything with .50 cals will usually knock your engine out almost immediately. Also, tracer belts easily light this on fire, and the burning is usually fatal. As a result, turn-fighting to keep yourself out of enemy guns is advisable.
Many aircraft will attempt to Boom & Zoom you if you remain at low altitudes. Should this happen, engage as though you were going to head-on and break off at the last moment. By swinging around, you'll be able to catch them as they pull up and destroy them.
Start out by climbing to ~2,000 m and then gaining airspeed. You then react to the most imminent/dangerous threats, either diving on lower flying planes or attackers, or going a bit higher up to get a bomber kill, or in general, luring people into turnfights.
Surprisingly, this small biplane is quite deadly as a CAS aircraft. It can carry 4 x 50 kg bombs, which can still be relatively effective at this BR, or the lethal RBS-82 rockets, 4 on each wing. These effectively function as APHE, as they deal little to no damage if a direct hit does not occur. If it does, however, it will instantly destroy the tank with a single hit. Therefore, if you are comfortable with your aim, you can destroy up to 4 targets per sortie, and a few more with some strafing. Due to its low stall speed and incredible manoeuvrability, the I-153 can easily be pulled out of a dive at very low altitude. SPAA are a considerable threat however, as the Chaika isn't exactly a hard target to hit if the pilot is unaware of their surroundings. The biggest threats are the M16 MGMC and Flakpanzer 38 due to their high rate of fire. The P.7.T AA is also a rare, yet deadly occurrence.
The I-153 can be used in turnfighting, bomber intercepting and ground pounding. Like in AB and RB, 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.
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.
Before engaging in 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-153 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-153, 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-153 is extremely sensitive, giving it good manoeuvrability, but at the same time, bad handling. The I-153 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-153 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 is only light bombs and rockets. The 8 rockets, with accurate aiming, can destroy 4 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 recon 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-153'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-153 in a level flight.
- He 111 H-6 - This bomber is not only quite durable, but also pretty fast. In level flight it can outrun the I-153 rather easily. Avoid being on its 6 as it will have at least 2x 7.92 mm MG 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 defenseless underpart. Aim at the large wings and engines, avoid shooting the fuselage.
He 100, Bf 109 E / F, A6M2 - These planes might not be able to out-turn the I-153, but they can easily outrun it as the I-153 is slower. 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
Not auto controlled
Not auto controlled
Not auto controlled
Pros and cons
- Excellent flight performance
- Small target, coupled with great manoeuvring ability making it hard to target
- Great offensive capabilities
- 4 x rapid-firing ShKAS machine guns with large ammo reserves and deadly incendiary tracer belts
- Option to be equipped with rockets (can destroy most enemy tanks in ground RB at its rank)
- Great at destroying bombers with a hail of rockets and machine gun fire
- Very good at strafing soft targets in air battles due to accuracy and low stall speed
- Can be surprisingly effective in higher BR with careful engagements
- Excellent for learning/performing highly advanced aerobatic manoeuvres
- Biplane design
- Frail airframe, can be destroyed or crippled with a few well placed hits
- Low speed compared to monoplanes or even some other biplanes
- Very vulnerable to fire damage
- Poor energy retention
- ShKAS machine guns prone to overheating
- Uneven ammo distribution on each gun reduces firepower when the plane is low on ammo
- Virtually no frontal protection, thus making the engine very prone to damage
- A single machine gun round to the engine is capable of knocking it out
- Defensive armament of bombers can easily wreck this aircraft's engine
- Not suited for head-on attacks
- Loses a lot of performance if the engine is hit
- Vulnerable to boom-and-zoom attacks, especially when climbing
The I-153 Chaika (aka I-15ter) is the last biplane made by Polikarpov. Created in 1939, due to misleading results of Aerial Warfare in the 1937 Spanish Civil War, a meeting chaired by Stalin concluded that the Fiat CR.32 biplane was superior to the Polikarpov I-16 monoplane. A technologically superior Bf 109 that had been introduced was ignored, and instead, work on the new I-153 biplane was officially approved on 11 October 1937.
The fuselage and wings of the I-153 were similar to those of the I-15 and I-152, with a steel tube framework, covered by metal at the front of the fuselage and fabric elsewhere. The manually operated retractable undercarriage rotated through 90 degrees before folding back into the fuselage. The first prototype was powered by a 750 hp M-25V engine. Its maiden flight is variously reported as having taken place in May or August 1938, with A. I. Zhukov at the controls. Tests that began on 27 September are variously described as state acceptance or factory trials. These tests weren't entirely satisfactory and production was delayed while some of the problems were solved. This plane is equipped The 800 hp M-62 was used in the largest number of aircraft, produced around 3,018 in total. The standard I-153 was armed with four ShKAS machine guns. These replaced the PV-1 guns used on the I-15 and I-152 and had a much higher rate of fire (1,800 compared to 750 rounds per minute) as well as being much lighter. The four underwing bomb racks could also carry up to 441 lb of bombs. The I-153 entered Red Air Force service in October 1938 and was soon thrust into combat in the Far East, where the Soviet Union was engaged in an unofficial war against Japan in Mongolia. The I-153 had a successful combat debut. Thirteen aircraft had been allocated to the 22nd IAP, and on 7 July 1939 nine were sent into combat with their wheels down. As had been hoped this convinced the pilots of a flight of Japanese Nakajima Ki-27 monoplanes that they were facing the I-15. Just before they entered combat the Soviet pilots raised their undercarriages and turned into combat. Four Japanese aircraft were claimed, although only two losses were acknowledged by the Japanese. Ninety-three I-153s were provided to China (a tiny proportion of the overall Soviet contribution to the war effort against Japan in 1937-1941).
The I-153 saw combat during the Winter War against Finland (1939-1940), probably suffering heavy losses against the small Finnish air force.
On 22 June 1941, the I-153 made up one-third of the Soviet fighter forces in the western parts of the Soviet Union, accounting for around 1,500 of the 4,226 fighters available at the start of the German invasion. A vast number of aircraft were destroyed in the first few days of the fighting, but enough I-153s survived for them to play a major part in the early part of the fighting, and they were responsible for most of the 800 German aircraft claimed between 22 June and 5 July. The I-153 remained in use as a front line fighter until early in 1942, but by then very few aircraft were still intact, having been lost in the air, on the ground and while acting as ground attack aircraft. The surviving aircraft remained in use in secondary roles into 1943, although they were also used as ground attack aircraft. By the middle of 1943, the Red Air Force only had 36 I-153s on its strength. A few remained in service in the Far East as late as 1945.
The I-153 Chaika (Seagull) was a Soviet biplane fighter of the 1930s and 1940s. It was created by the Polikarpov Design Bureau in 1938. It is a modification (3rd variant) of the earlier I-15 fighter, as shown in the designation. The Chaika was considered to be the fastest biplane in the world. However, at the start of hostilities between the Soviet Union and Germany, the I-153 could not compete on equal terms with the German Messerschmitt Bf 109 and therefore was mainly used in ground attack roles.
For many years, Soviet pilots considered the I-16 to be the most dangerous aircraft in a spin. Therefore, when flight testing the I-153 with the M-25 engine in March and April of 1939, the VVS Command paid special attention to its spin characteristics. Initially, the matter remained unresolved. However, in the summer of 1939, when the new aircraft saw action against the Japanese in Mongolia, NII VVS returned to this crucial point. Test results were disappointing. By the third full rotation the I-153 would go into a flat spin; the engine would cease by the fifth formation, after which spin recovery would become extremely difficult. Lowering the landing gear in order to shift the center of gravity did not help. The Chaika still took a significant amount of time to recover.
|Polikarpov Design Bureau (Опытное конструкторское бюро Поликарпова)
|I-15 WR · I-15 M-22 · I-15 M-25 · I-15bis · Krasnolutsky's I-15bis
|I-153 M-62 · Zhukovsky's I-153-M62 · I-153P
|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-180S · I-185 (M-71) · I-185 (M-82)
|Po-2 · Po-2M
|␗I-15bis · ␗I-153 M-62 · ␗I-16 type 5 · ␗I-16 type 10 · ␗I-16 type 17 · ␗I-16 Chung 28
|I-15 WR · I-15 M-22 · I-15 M-25 · I-15bis · Krasnolutsky's I-15bis
|I-153 M-62 · Zhukovsky's I-153-M62 · I-153P
|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-180S
|I-185 (M-71) · I-185 (M-82)
|MiG-3-15 · MiG-3-15 (BK) · MiG-3-34
|I-301 · LaGG-3-4 · LaGG-3-8 · LaGG-3-11 · LaGG-3-23 · LaGG-3-34 · LaGG-3-35 · LaGG-3-66
|La-5 · La-5F · La-5FN · La-7 · Dolgushin's La-7 · La-7B-20 · La-9 · La-11
|Yak-1 · Yak-1B · Yak-7B
|Yak-3 · Yak-3P · Yak-3T · Yak-3U · Yak-3 (VK-107)
|Yak-9 · Yak-9B · Golovachev's Yak-9M · Yak-9T · Yak-9K · Yak-9U · Yak-9UT · Yak-9P
|▂P-40E-1 · ▂P-47D-27 · ▂Hurricane Mk IIB · ▂Fw 190 D-9 · ▂Spitfire Mk IXc
|▂P-39K-1 · ▂Pokryshkin's P-39N-0 · ▂P-39Q-15
|▂P-63A-5 · ▂P-63A-10 · ▂P-63C-5