Alekseyev I-212

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Alekseyev I-212
Role Jet Interceptor Fighter
National origin USSR
Manufacturer Alekseyev
Designer Semyon Mikhailovich Alekseyev
Developed from Alekseyev I-21

The Alekseyev I-212 was a twin-engined, jet fighter designed in the USSR in 1947 by Experimental Design Bureau 21 (OKB). It was a two-seat variant of the I-21 (Istrebitel '​ - Fighter) that had been designed in response to a requirement for a very long-range fighter issued by the Soviet Air Forces in 1946. Intended as an escort fighter, it was also designed for use as a night fighter and reconnaissance aircraft. Sources are contradictory about the construction of a prototype, but it is known that the aircraft never flew.

Development[edit]

After working as Lavochkin's right-hand man during World War II, Semyon Alekseyev was appointed as Chief Designer of OKB-21 at Gor'kiy in 1946. The Council of the People's Commissars directed Alekseyev, among others, to develop jet fighters using more powerful engines than the captured German examples and their Soviet-built copies. The OKB was tasked to design a single-seat jet fighter that could meet the very demanding specification of a maximum speed of 980 km/h (610 mph) and a range of 3,000 km (1,900 mi) with drop tanks. The OKB responded with the I-21, which was planned to be built in several variants.[1]

Development of the I-212, one such variant, began in 1947. It was a twin-engined, all-metal, two-seat jet fighter. The round, streamlined fuselage was optimized to reduce drag and house the considerable amount of equipment and fuel required by the Air Force. It had mid-mounted straight laminar flow wings and the engine nacelles were mounted in the middle of the wing, with the spars continued by banjo rings around the engines. The cruciform tail unit was swept at 45°. To save weight, the main load-bearing structures of the airframe were constructed from V-95 aluminum alloy and high-strength steel. "Elektron" magnesium alloy was used for many components and castings. The aircraft used a tricycle undercarriage with the main wheels retracting into the fuselage. Hydraulically actuated air brakes were fitted either side of the rear fuselage.[2][3]

Photo of an aircraft cannon in a museum exhibit
Nudelman-Suranov NS-23 cannon on display at the National Museum of the US Air Force

The pilot and gunner/radio operator sat in tandem, back to back in a single pressurized cockpit. They were protected by armor plates to their front and rear, as well as by a bulletproof windscreen. Each man had an ejection seat. The aircraft was intended to use Klimov VK-1 engines, a derivative of the Rolls-Royce Nene, but the Klimov engine was still under development, so Nenes were substituted instead. The aircraft carried a Toryii-1 radar for use by the gunner/radio operator.[2][3]

The information on the design's armament is contradictory. British aviation historian Bill Gunston says that the forward-facing armament consisted of a 37-millimeter (1.5 in) Nudelman-Suranov NS-37 autocannon and two 23-millimeter (0.91 in) Nudelman-Suranov NS-23 autocannons. The radio operator controlled a tail barbette with two 20-millimeter (0.79 in) Berezin B-20 autocannon. The aircraft carried 75 rounds for the NS-37 and 200 rounds apiece for the NS-23s.[2] Russian aviation historian Yefim Gordon argues that the aircraft's standard armament consisted of four NS-23 guns in the nose and two B-20s in the barbette; each gun having 150 rounds apiece. Alternatively, one NS-37 and two NS-23 guns could be fitted, with two more NS-23 in the tail. He gives the ammunition load for this configuration as 40 rounds for the 37 mm gun and 150 each for the 23 mm guns. Gordon also mentions that each wing carried one hardpoint that could carry a drop tank with 550 kilograms (1,210 lb) of fuel or a single 500 kilograms (1,100 lb) bomb.[3]

Gordon and Gunston also differ on the fate of the aircraft. Gunston says that a prototype began taxiing tests on 30 June 1948, but makes no mention that it flew at any time.[2] Gordon, however, claims that no prototype was built. A training version designated UTI-212 was planned if the aircraft had gone into production. He also mentions an I-217 project in two versions with forward-swept and sweptback wings. Neither author gives a good explanation as to why the aircraft never flew.[3][2]

Variants[edit]

  • I-212 - Initial version, never built.[4]
  • I-214 - Proposed version with the tail barbette replaced with a rearwards-facing radar and heavier forward-facing armament.[2]
  • I-217 - Project with forward-swept and sweptback wings.[4]
  • UTI-212 - Proposed training variant of the I-212.[4]

Specifications (I-212)[edit]

Data from The Osprey Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft 1875-1995, p. 17

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 13.08 m (42 ft 11 in)
  • Wingspan: 16.2 m (53 ft 1.75 in)
  • Height: ()
  • Wing area: 33 m2 (355 ft2)
  • Loaded weight: 9,250 kg (20,393 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 10,500 kg (23,148 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × centrifugal flow turbojet RD-45, 2,230 kgp (4,916 lb st) each

Performance

Armament

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gordon, pp. 121, 123
  2. ^ a b c d e f Gunston, p. 17
  3. ^ a b c d Gordon, pp. 131–32
  4. ^ a b c Gordon, p. 132

Bibliography[edit]