It's Time for High Calibers!



Update 1.9.10 brought a new addition to the Soviet arsenal: a mini-branch of high Tier multirole fighters whose main feature is a long-range high caliber armament.

Sukhoi Su-9

Development of this single-seater twin-engine fighter-bomber was started as Sukhoi’s initiative in 1944. During the design stage, the team was forced to switch from using the jet engines developed in the USSR at the time to captured German Jumo-004 because the former models were not ready for production and riddled with technical issues. The project’s concept was approved by the aviation ministry in autumn 1945; the sketches passed approval in December.

The Sukhoi Su-9 was designed as a maneuverable aircraft capable of engaging enemy fighters and bombers on the frontlines. The machine was quite suitable for that purpose: two RD-10 (Soviet analogs of the Jumo-004) provided good speed characteristics, while its powerful armament consisted of a single N-37 37 millimeter cannon and two 23 millimeter NS-23 cannons that were more than adequate for tackling both light aircraft and armored bombers. Additionally the N-37 cannon could be switched with a 45 millimeter N-45 one or, optionally, the aircraft could carry a 500 kg bomb load on its nose part of the fuselage. The pilot cabin was armored.

Test flights showed that the Su-9 was easy and pleasant to pilot. Interestingly, various technical issues discovered during testing allowed the designers to further sophisticate the fighter: it was eventually equipped with an ejection seat and landing parachute. The aircraft passed evaluation successfully, but still had not entered production by 1948. By that time, the requirements for jet-powered fighters had grown significantly, and the Su-9 could not satisfy them anymore. The project was abandoned.

The Sukhoi Su-9 in World of Warplanes is a Tier VIII Soviet multirole fighter that has a similar character to the lower-tier Yakovlev fighters. It combines good maneuverability and altitude performance for an MRF with powerful forward-facing armament. This makes it suitable for both long-range engagements, and dogfighting at medium and close range. The “Sharpshooter” N-37 and top-tier N-45 cannons are exceptionally dangerous to enemy fighters but require good aiming skill from a pilot. Closing the distance to an enemy will allow you to easily deal significant damage in mere seconds due to its accurate double 23 millimeter cannons.

Alexeev I-211 and I-215

The perspective I-21 fighter-interceptor was developed in OKB-21 lead by S.M. Alexeev in 1946. The key targets the team needed to achieve were to significantly improve the flight range and make the fighter capable of efficiently destroying heavy bombers.

The search for a suitable engine was quite long, but eventually the designers chose the Soviet-developed TR-2 turbojet engine project that was being actively developed at the time. Nevertheless, during the design stage it became apparent that the TR-2 would not be ready by the time the I-21 would go into testing, so it was modified to use another engine – the TR-1.

The I-211 (I-21 1st modification) had its engine gondolas located in the wing planes, was equipped with a pressurized cockpit, and had manually controlled aerodynamic braking planes for maneuvering and landing. It was supposed to be armed with three 32 millimeter N-37 cannons located in the nose part of the fuselage, additionally bombs and rockets could be installed. 

The I-211 fighter entered testing in autumn 1947. Despite the fact that the pilots noted it to be very easy to pilot and control, numerous issues with the TR-1 engines slowed the process significantly. Eventually development of the TR-1 was abandoned, which in turn ended the I-211 project itself. The only prototype built was damaged in a landing incident, later fixed and modified.

The Alexeev I-211 in game follows the Su-9 in gameplay style and general “feel”, but it is more tailored for long-range engagements. Decent maneuverability and speed, and ease of control make quick switching between targets comfortable. This will be especially valuable because the three 37 millimeter cannons deal astonishing damage when they hit, but they require good aiming skills and the ability to pick suitable targets quickly.

The Alexeev I-215 was an upgraded version of the I-211. The main changes included switching from Soviet engines to more powerful, reliable and fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce Derwent V engines. This necessitated changes to the fuel system, the size of the fuel tanks were increased. Additional radio equipment was supported, including a radar and IFF system, which made the I-215 suitable for an interceptor role. Another change was made to the armament: now the fighter could carry two 57 millimeter cannons instead of three 37 millimeter ones. The I-215 passed testing successfully, but suffered the same ultimate fate as many other projects from that time: by 1948, jet powered aircraft progressed so significantly that even two-year old designs became obsolete. The ministry chose the much more promising MiG-15 project instead.

The Alexeev I-215 in the game is the ultimate sniper. Two 57-millimeter nose-mounted long-range cannons devastate any light target and will quite probably send them to the hangar instantly. Heavies and attack aircraft will also feel the full weight of high caliber shells: aside from huge damage, they deal a lot of critical damage to modules, so even the very first hit will cripple many enemies and end the fight for them. The I-215 is not perfect though and has its drawbacks: consistently hitting targets with high caliber cannons requires a lot of skill, and their weight makes the I-215 slower than most of its rivals at Tier X. Nevertheless, if you take your time and pick your targets carefully, the warplane’s inability to fly as fast as speedier enemies won’t be a problem: even if you can’t catch up to them, a 57 millimeter shell easily can.