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Rank VII | Premium | Golden Eagles
Challenger DS Pack
This page is about the Soviet fighter I-15bis. For other versions, see I-15 (Family).
GarageImage I-15bis.jpg
1.3 1.0 1.0
Research:2 900 Specs-Card-Exp.png
Purchase:700 Specs-Card-Lion.png
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The I-15bis is a rank I Soviet fighter with a battle rating of 1.3 (AB) and 1.0 (RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.31.

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 + -
0 580 N/A N/A N/A ~14 ~6
Optimal velocities (km/h)
Ailerons Rudder Elevators Radiator
< 180 < 360 < 260 > 309
Compressor (RB/SB)
Setting 1
Optimal altitude 100% Engine power WEP Engine power
2,900 m 750 hp 830 hp

Survivability and armour

Crew1 person
Speed of destruction
Structural0 km/h
Gear580 km/h

The I-15bis does not have significant armour protection. All the important modules are located in the front half of the fuselage, and the large fuel tank is not self-sealing. With all the important modules packed together, well aimed shots will have little trouble causing significant damage very quickly. As such, the I-15bis must rely on other factors, such as manoeuvrability, in order to increase its survivability.

  • 8 mm Steel - Behind Pilot's Seat
  • Non-Self-Sealing Fuel Tanks

Modifications and economy

Repair costBasic → Reference
AB103 → 128 Sl icon.png
RB149 → 186 Sl icon.png
SB90 → 112 Sl icon.png
Total cost of modifications2 960 Rp icon.png
885 Sl icon.png
Talisman cost190 Ge icon.png
Crew training200 Sl icon.png
Experts1 000 Sl icon.png
Aces20 Ge icon.png
Research Aces96 000 Rp icon.png
Reward for battleAB / RB / SB
10 / 20 / 80 % Sl icon.png
100 / 100 / 100 % Rp icon.png
Flight performance Survivability Weaponry
Mods aerodinamic fuse.png
Fuselage repair
200 Rp icon.png
60 Sl icon.png
45 Ge icon.png
Mods radiator.png
200 Rp icon.png
60 Sl icon.png
45 Ge icon.png
Mods compressor.png
330 Rp icon.png
100 Sl icon.png
75 Ge icon.png
Mods aerodinamic wing.png
Wings repair
185 Rp icon.png
55 Sl icon.png
45 Ge icon.png
Mods new engine.png
185 Rp icon.png
55 Sl icon.png
45 Ge icon.png
Mods metanol.png
Engine injection
320 Rp icon.png
95 Sl icon.png
75 Ge icon.png
Mods armor frame.png
185 Rp icon.png
55 Sl icon.png
45 Ge icon.png
Mods armor cover.png
320 Rp icon.png
95 Sl icon.png
75 Ge icon.png
Mods ammo.png
200 Rp icon.png
60 Sl icon.png
45 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 0.png
Mods weapon.png
330 Rp icon.png
100 Sl icon.png
75 Ge icon.png
Mods pilon bomb.png
185 Rp icon.png
55 Sl icon.png
45 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 0.png
Mods pilon rocket.png
320 Rp icon.png
95 Sl icon.png
75 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 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), RS-82, RBS-82

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

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

Usage in battles

Like other I-15 models, try not to go face-to-face against enemies and instead manoeuvre around and dogfight the enemy from advantageous positions. With 3,050 rounds in the four machine guns, greater firing time can be afforded to lead shots into the enemy. As such, the aircraft is quite friendly to beginners with low gun accuracy.

Keep in mind the I-15bis has a slightly slower turn time than the preceding I-15 models. As such, be wary of rival biplanes that could begin out-turning the I-15bis.

The I-15bis can also equip six rockets, which can be used to ground-pound targets like light tanks or light-skinned vehicles, or activate the timed fuses and try to down larger aircraft like bombers, or even time it to destroy a fighter in a head-on.


The I-15 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. 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 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-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. Another solution is to mount the devastating RS-82 rockets which will down the heavy Dornier with relative ease.

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


  • Decent firepower: 4 x 7.62 mm PV-1 MG has good destruction; with 3,050 rounds fire saturation is great even with low beginner's accuracy
  • Amazing turnfighting capacities at almost all speed, making it one of the best turnfighters in-game
  • Able to perform ground pounding: can carry 6 x rockets to destroy light tanks or even aircraft with timed fuses, or 2 x 50 kg bombs
  • Lovely low stall speed and low speed handling, meaning it performs well in manoeuvres like spiral climb
  • Fixed gear means that the player does not have to worry about extending/retracting gears in RB/SB
  • Good rate of climb
  • Small silhouette meaning you are harder to hit
  • Very short take off distance
  • Open cockpit allows you to easily hear nearby aircraft in Simulator
  • Nose-mounted MGs means no need to worry about convergence distances
  • Good manoeuvrability combined with fast rockets makes this aircraft lethal against both ground and air targets


  • Very slow speed: cannot keep up with early monoplane fighters (e.g. He 112) or even some bombers such as Do 17 E-1
  • No combat flaps which limits its sharp-turning potential
  • Awful gunsight for SB: too much zoom makes aiming very wobbly and frustrating
  • Bad over-the-nose visibility makes turnfighting and leading hard in SB
  • I-15bis's turn time is relatively higher compared to previous I-15s
  • Will quickly lose speed gathered in a dive
  • Average roll rate
  • Side views are obstructed by the upper wings and supporting structures
  • Very wobbly with Simulator controls, making it hard to aim precisely


Archive of the in-game description

A single-seat biplane fighter with a composite construction, open cockpit and fixed landing gear designed in N.N. Polikarpov's TsKB (Central Design Bureau). The plane was a modernized version of the I-15 fighter. The developmental prototype of the TsKB-3bis underwent state testing in July 1937, and went into series production in October of the same year at the No. 1 Aircraft Works in Moscow.

Apart from its new upper wing center section, increased fuel capacity and upgraded armament, the I-15bis differed from its predecessor in its new, longer engine housing, which not only covered the engine, but also the entire frontal section of the fuselage to the landing gear unit.

Wind tunnel testing showed that this housing improved the plane's streamlining and increased its speed. A large semi-circular propeller spinner covering the plane's rotor head provided additional improvements to its aerodynamics. A ratchet passed through it for the self-starter.

The plane was equipped with the 750 hp 12-cylinder air-cooled M-25V radial engine (a licensed uprated version of the American Wright Cyclone SGR-1820 engine).

The plane's armament consisted of four synchronized 7.62 mm PV-1 machine guns (the "Pulemyot Vozdushnyj", or "Airborne Machine Gun" was a reduced-weight model of the famous "Maxim" machine gun, redesigned with an air-cooled barrel and a disintegrating metal ammunition belt).

The upper machine guns were equipped with 1,100 rounds each, and the lower guns – 425 rounds each. The rounds were housed in belts and located in the central fuselage directly behind the fuel tank. The used chain-link collectors were located in the same place. Spent cases were ejected outside and downwards.

In addition, the majority of series-produced I-15bis planes were equipped with four DER-31 bomb containers under the lower wing, rated for a maximum load of 150 kg (two FAB-50 bombs and two AO-25 bombs). Some of the planes were additionally equipped with four to six RO-82 launchers designed to fire RS-82 rockets. With the installation of the DER-32 bomb containers, it was also possible to install suspended VAP-6 spraying devices.

The I-15bis was in service with the USSR and China from the beginning of 1938 and with Spain from January 1939. It was used in Spain from February 1939. It participated in the Battles of Khalkhin Gol in May – September, and in the Winter War in the winter of 1939–1940. It saw use as a fighter and assault plane on the fronts of the Great Patriotic War in 1941–1942. Air defense logistics units used it right up to the end of 1944, particularly in the Far East. Production was ceased in 1939.

In total, 2408 I-15bis aircraft were built.



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

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

USSR fighters
I-15  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  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-29  I-29
I-185  I-185 (M-71) · I-185 (M-82)
I-225  I-225
ITP  ITP (M-1)
MiG-3  MiG-3-15 · MiG-3-15 (BK) · MiG-3-34
LaGG  I-301 · LaGG-3-4 · LaGG-3-8 · LaGG-3-11 · LaGG-3-23 · LaGG-3-34 · LaGG-3-35 · LaGG-3-66
La  La-5 · La-5F · La-5FN · La-7 · Dolgushin's La-7 · La-7B-20 · La-9 · La-11
Yak-1/7  Yak-1 · Yak-1B · Yak-7B
Yak-3  Yak-3 · Eremin's Yak-3(e) · Yak-3P · Yak-3T · Yak-3U · Yak-3 (VK-107)
Yak-9  Yak-9 · Yak-9B · Golovachev's Yak-9M · Yak-9T · Yak-9K · Yak-9U · Yak-9UT · Yak-9P
Other countries  ▂P-40E-1 · ▂P-47D-27 · ▂Hurricane Mk IIB · ▂Fw 190 D-9 · ▂Spitfire Mk IXc
P-39  ▂P-39K-1 · ▂Pokryshkin's P-39N-0 · ▂P-39Q-15
P-63  ▂P-63A-5 · ▂P-63A-10 · ▂P-63C-5