Shpitalny Sh-37

Last updated
Shpitalny Sh-37
Type Autocannon
Place of originSoviet Union
Service history
Used by Soviet Union
Wars World War II
Production history
Designer Boris Shpitalniy
Designed1940-1941
ManufacturerFactory no. 74
Produced1941-1942
No. built~240
Specifications
Cartridge 37×195mm
Barrels1
Action gas operated
Rate of fire 170-185 rpm
Muzzle velocity 900 m/s [1]
Feed systemmagazine

The Shpitalny Sh-37 (Russian : Шпитальный - Ш-37) was the first indigenous Soviet 37 mm (1.5 in) aircraft cannon, designed by Boris Shpitalniy at OKB-15. [2] The gun saw limited production and was installed in few aircraft before being replaced by the competing Nudelman-Suranov NS-37 designed at OKB-16. It was installed on a military-trial basis on two short series of aircraft. Installed to fire through the hollow, gear-driven propeller shaft and fastened to the engine block of the Yak-7-37 it was known as MPSh-37, where "MP" stands for "motornaya pushka", [1] similar to the German Motorkanone term for the same mount type. As installed in the underwing gun pods of the Il-2 it was known as ShFK-37 [3] (Russian : ШФК-37 - Шпитальный фюзеляжно-крыльевая калибра 37 мм), [4] literally "Shpitalny fuselage-wing(-mounted) caliber 37mm".

Contents

History

In 1940, after the Red Army accepted for service the 61-K 37 mm anti-aircraft gun, the VVS leadership decided to equip some fighters and a part of the upcoming production series of the Ilyushin Il-2 ground attack aircraft with a 37 mm autocannon capable of firing the same shell. Shpitalniy designed a gun that was gas operated and magazine fed, [2] which however used a less powerful cartridge than the 61-K gun.

By early 1941, a prototype Sh-37 was flight tested on a LaGG-3 fighter. As installed in the LaGG-3, the gun together with its magazine weighed 208.4 kg. In this test it achieved a rate of fire of 184 rounds per minute. [2]

At the end of June 1941, it was decided that within 45 days 40 more Sh-37 were to be produced for military trials. These were manufactured as planned by factory 74. In 1942, the same factory produced a further 196 Sh-37 guns. [2]

The first LaGG-3 aircraft equipped with the Sh-37 gun were delivered to the 42nd IAP in the beginning of 1942. In August 1942, a small series of 22 Yak-7-37, equipped with the same gun, passed military trials with the same 42nd IAP, [2] led by Boris Shinkarenko. The Sh-37 was powerful enough to down an enemy fighter with a single hit. Its shell could punch a hole with an area of over 1 square metre (11 sq ft). [1] [5] The MPSh-37 was supplied with 20 rounds of ammunition in this aircraft. The Yak-7-37 was additionally armed with two UBS 12.7 mm machine guns, with 450 rounds total ammunition. [6] The weight of fire of the Yak-7-37 was 4.15 kg/s (9.15 lb/s). [1] The length of the Sh-37 gun necessitated moving the cockpit some 40 cm rearwards, and the weight of the Yak-7-37 increased by some 200 kg compared to its proximate predecessor, the Yak-7B. [6]

By mid-1941 an Il-2 exemplar was experimentally fitted with a pair of Sh-37 cannons in underwing pods. By September 15, this aircraft had passed ground and air firing test at the factory, and was presented for state trials, which were conducted between September 23 and October 12, 1941. [3] Each Sh-37 gun on this Il-2 was provisioned with 40 rounds of ammunition. [2] [3] The large ammunition magazine did not fit in the wings, and mandated a conformal gun pod mount of a rather bulky design. As fitted to the wing of the Il-2, the weight of the Sh-37 with the assembly and magazine was 302.5 kg. The rate of fire measured in this latter installation was 169 rpm; [2] [4] muzzle velocity was 894 m/s. [4] The underwing position of the 37mm gun pods in the Il-2 had the unpleasant effect that when the guns were fired in a dive, their recoil caused the aircraft to pitch down even further, thus reducing salvo accuracy. [2] [3] The flight characteristics of the Il-2 armed with the Sh-37 guns were substantially worse than for the regular versions fitted with 20 or 23 mm guns. It was slower and more difficult to handle. Its top airspeed was only 372 km/h (231 mph) at sea level and 409 km/h (254 mph) at 2,500 m (8,200 ft). Its rate of climb also deteriorated and the length of its take-off run had increased. [3]

Nevertheless, between December 1942 and January 1943, a limited production run of nine Il-2s armed with Sh-37 guns was delivered to the 688th Attack Air Regiment (ShAP) of the 228th Attack Air Division (16th Air Army) for military trials. These aircraft took part in the combat around Stalingrad that winter. The Sh-37 gun proved somewhat effective against the German tanks of the day. It could pierce the armor of light tanks without problem and at favorable angles it was effective against German medium tanks as well. However, effective use of the gun required a high degree of skill from the pilots. Besides the diving issue, poor firing synchronization between the guns (as installed in these aircraft) caused them to also veer laterally off-course when the Sh-37 guns were fired. Consequently, bursts of only two or three rounds were practical. To compound the problems, the Sh-37 guns were also rather unreliable, with frequent jamming occurring. Even though the Sh-37s were installed in pairs, this actually decreased the overall reliability of the aircraft as a weapon system, because the jamming of a single gun meant that the Il-2 could not fire safely any longer, due to the strong, asymmetric recoil from a single gun having a very strong destabilizing effect on the aircraft. After these experiences, the Il-2 with Sh-37 guns was not ordered in mass production. [3]

See also

Related Research Articles

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-1 1940 fighter aircraft model by Mikoyan-Gurevich

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-1 was a Soviet fighter aircraft of World War II that was designed to meet a requirement for a high-altitude fighter issued in 1939. To minimize demand on strategic materials such as aluminum, the aircraft was mostly constructed from steel tubing and wood. Flight testing revealed a number of deficiencies, but it was ordered into production before they could be fixed. Although difficult to handle, one hundred were built before the design was modified into the MiG-3. The aircraft was issued to fighter regiments of the Soviet Air Forces (VVS) in 1941, but most were apparently destroyed during the opening days of Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941.

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-3 1940 fighter aircraft

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-3 was a Soviet fighter and interceptor aircraft used during World War II. It was a development of the MiG-1 by the OKO of Zavod (Factory) No. 1 to remedy problems found during the MiG-1's development and operations. It replaced the MiG-1 on the production line at Factory No. 1 on 20 December 1940 and was built in large numbers during 1941 before Factory No. 1 was converted to build the Ilyushin Il-2.

Yakovlev Yak-11

The Yakovlev Yak-11 is a trainer aircraft used by the Soviet Air Force and other Soviet-influenced air forces from 1947 until 1962.

Yakovlev Yak-36

The Yakovlev Yak-36, also known as Izdeliye V, is a Soviet technology demonstrator for a VTOL combat aircraft.

Yakovlev Yak-25

The Yakovlev Yak-25 was a swept wing, turbojet-powered interceptor and reconnaissance aircraft built by Yakovlev and used by the Soviet Union.

Yakovlev Yak-1

The Yakovlev Yak-1 was a Soviet fighter aircraft of World War II. The Yak-1 was a single-seat monoplane with a composite structure and wooden wings; production began in early 1940.

Yakovlev Yak-7

The Yakovlev Yak-7 was developed from the earlier Yak-1 fighter, initially as a trainer but converted into a fighter. As both a fighter and later reverting to its original training role, the Yak-7 proved to be a capable aircraft and was well liked by air crews. The Yak-7 was simpler, tougher and generally better than the Yak-1.

The ShKAS is a 7.62 mm calibre machine gun widely used by Soviet aircraft in the 1930s and during World War II. The ShKAS had the highest rate of fire of any aircraft machine gun in general service during WWII. It was designed by Boris Shpitalniy and Irinarkh Komaritsky and entered production in 1934. ShKAS was used in the majority of Soviet fighters and bombers and served as the basis for the ShVAK cannon.

The ShVAK was a 20 mm autocannon used by the Soviet Union during World War II. It was designed by Boris Shpitalniy and Semyon Vladimirov and entered production in 1936. ShVAK were installed in many models of Soviet aircraft. The TNSh was a version of the gun produced for light tanks.

Volkov-Yartsev VYa-23 is a 23 mm (0.91 in) autocannon used on Soviet aircraft during World War II.

Lavochkin-Gorbunov-Gudkov LaGG-3

The Lavochkin-Gorbunov-Gudkov LaGG-3 was a Soviet fighter aircraft of World War II. It was a refinement of the earlier LaGG-1 and was one of the most modern aircraft available to the Soviet Air Force at the time of Germany's invasion in 1941. Despite its wooden construction, it was both overweight and underpowered. At one point in the war, on average 12 LaGG-3s were being completed daily and 6,528 had been built in total when Factory 31 in Tbilisi switched production to the Yak-3 in 1944.

Ilyushin Il-20 (1948)

The Ilyushin Il-20 was a Soviet prototype for a heavily armored ground-attack aircraft to replace the Ilyushin Il-10. It featured a number of innovative concepts including a cockpit mounted on top of the engine, directly behind the propeller, and wing-mounted autocannon that could be adjusted on the ground to fire level or depressed 23° to allow the aircraft to strafe ground targets while remaining in level flight. However it was slower than the Il-10, and its M-47 engine was problematic in flight tests in 1948–49. It was not placed into production. The test pilots called the aircraft the Gorbach (Hunchback).

Ilyushin Il-40

The Ilyushin Il-40 was a two-seat Soviet jet-engined armored ground-attack aircraft. The first prototype flew in 1953 and was very successful except when it fired its guns, as their combustion gasses disturbed the airflow into the engines and caused them to flameout or hiccup. Remedying this problem took over a year and involved the radical change of moving the engine air intakes all the way to the very front of the aircraft and repositioning the guns from the tip of the nose to the bottom of the fuselage, just behind the nosewheel. The aircraft, now resembling a double-barreled shotgun from the front, was ordered into production in 1955. Only five production aircraft had been completed before the entire program was canceled in early 1956 when the VVS discarded its close air-support doctrine in favor of tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield.

The Yakovlev Yak-5 was an experimental trainer aircraft designed by Yakovlev OKB in the Soviet Union, and first flown in 1944.

The Ilyushin Il-8 was a Soviet ground-attack aircraft developed by Ilyushin to replace the Ilyushin Il-2. The first two prototypes were significantly faster than the older aircraft, but proved to be less maneuverable. It was redesigned, incorporating many features of what would become the Ilyushin Il-10, but proved to be inferior to that aircraft in testing. It was not ordered into production.

Ilyushin Il-16

The Ilyushin Il-16 was a Soviet lightweight armored ground-attack aircraft developed at the end of World War II by the Ilyushin Design Bureau. It was in essence a scaled-down version of the Ilyushin Il-10, but was fitted with a newly developed Mikulin AM-43 engine with the expectation that it would be faster and more maneuverable than its predecessor. However, the engine's defects proved to be impossible to rectify and further development was canceled in mid-1946.

Nudelman-Suranov NS-37 Autocannon

The Nudelman-Suranov NS-37 was a 37-millimetre (1.5 in) aircraft cannon, which replaced the unreliable Shpitalny Sh-37 gun. Large caliber was planned to allow destruction of both ground targets and planes.

The Nudelman-Suranov NS-45 was an enlarged version of the Soviet Nudelman-Suranov NS-37 aircraft autocannon. It was evaluated for service on 44 Yakovlev Yak-9K aircraft during World War II, but proved to stress the airframes too much. The NS-45 was also mounted on the prototype Tupolev Tu-1 night fighter after the end of World War II.

This is a glossary of acronyms and initials used for aircraft weapons in the Russian federation and formerly the USSR. The Latin-alphabet names are phonetic representations of the Cyrillic originals, and variations are inevitable.

Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-30-1 Aircraft autocannon

The Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-30-1 is a 30 mm autocannon designed for use on Soviet and later Russian military aircraft, entering service in the early 1980s. Its current manufacturer is the Russian company JSC Izhmash.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 Yefim Gordon; Dmitriĭ Komissarov; Sergey Komoissarov (2005). OKB Yakovlev: A History Of The Design Bureau And Its Aircraft. Midland Publishing, Limited. p. 95. ISBN   978-1-85780-203-0.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Широкорад А.Б. (2001) История авиационного вооружения Харвест (Shirokorad A.B. (2001) Istorya aviatsionnogo vooruzhenia Harvest. ISBN   985-433-695-6) (History of aircraft armament), pages 122-123
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Yefim Gordon; Dmitriĭ Komissarov; E. Gordon; Sergey Komissarov (2004). OKB Ilyushin: A History Of The Design Bureau And Its Aircraft. Midland Publishing Limited. p. 35. ISBN   978-1-85780-187-3.
  4. 1 2 3 В. Перов, О. Растренин, "Ил-2 Штурмовик", Авиация и Космонавтика 2001/5-6 (double issue article/monograph), pages 60-63
  5. George Mellinger (2012). Yakovlev Aces of World War 2. Osprey Publishing. p. 12. ISBN   978-1-78200-553-7.
  6. 1 2 С.В. Иванов. Як-1/3/7/9 во Второй Мировой войне. части 2. Война в воздухе (in Russian). 33. section "Як-7-37 М-105ПА" (pages ~34-35 & 52): ООО "АРС".CS1 maint: location (link)

Further reading