Military Wiki
Role Fighter
National origin USSR
Manufacturer Ilyushin
First flight late 1936
Number built 2

The Ilyushin I-21, (Istrebitel-21, fighter-21), was a single-engined, single-seat fighter produced in the USSR in 1936-7 in response to a government specification. It was an all-metal, low-wing, cantilever monoplane with retractable undercarriage and closed cockpit. The wings were sharply tapered with straight trailing edges, which introduced sweep back on the leading-edge. Two specially modified Mikulin AM-34RNF, (also written AM-34FRN), liquid-cooled V-12 engines provided the power via a non reducing gearbox, which was used only to raise the thrust line, and enable the use of shorter undercarriage legs. Cooling for the first prototypes engine used an evaporative system which dispensed with radiators and used condensers built into the surface of the wing centre section. The second prototype was fitted with a conventional cooling system using ethylene glycol coolant and a retractable radiator. Flight trials started but soon showed that the evaporative cooling system was inadequate with both the engine and the wing centre section overheating. Ilyushin was also very aware of the vulnerability of the system to combat damage, but he was ordered by GUAP to use this system. Further development was halted in 1939 and the I-21 designation was re-used for the Pashinin I-21.


General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 8.366 m (27 ft 5 in)
  • Wingspan: 10 m (32 ft 9 in)
  • Wing area: 18.16 m2 (195.5 ft2)
  • Gross weight: 2,125 kg (4,685 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Mikulin AM-34FRN, 940 kW (1,260 hp)


  • Maximum speed: 620 km/h (385 mph)
  • Range: 766 km (476 miles)
  • Service ceiling: 12,000 m (39,360 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 1,250 m/s (4,000 ft/min)


  • 4 x 7.62 mm ShKAS machine guns (initial fit)
  • 2 x 20 mm ShVAK cannon (later fit)
  • See also[]


    • Gordon, Yefim. (2004). OKB Ilyushin. London: Ian Allan. pp. 13 to 14. 
    • Gunston, Bill (1995). The Osprey Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft 1875–1995. London: Osprey. ISBN 1-85532-405-9. 

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