The Tupolev Tu-2 

U.S.S.R.
U.S.S.R.

side view front view under view

Tupolev has the 'honour' of building one of the worst Soviet bombers, and one of the best Soviet bombers used during World War 2. The worst was the SB-2, not because of design but because of being obsolete and other reasons. One of the best bombers was this aircraft, the Tu-2. The Tu-2 started it's life when Tupolev was imprisoned in the NKVD (forerunner of KGB) State Prison were more aircraft designers were held after being falsely accused of spying for and collaboration with the Germans. The project was originally called ANT-58, or Type '103'. By Februari 1940 the preliminary design was ready. The Tu-2 would be a very clean cantilever mid-wing monoplane with an all-metal structure, a dihedraled tail unit with endplate vertical surfaces and fully retractable landing gear including main units that retracted into the underside of the nacelles for the two wing-mounted engines. There followed an improved ANT-59 prototype with the same powerplant of 2 × Mikulin AM-37 Vee, rated at 1,400 hp (1.044 kW) each, but these were then replaced by a pair of Shvetsov ASh-82 radials that were retained in the ANT-60 that was the simplified production prototype for the ANT-61 that entered operational evaluation service in November 1942 and was redesignated as the Tu-2 early in the following year.

Version list:

Further pictures:

Tupolev Tu-2 on an airfield
Tupolev Tu-2 on an airfield

Tupolev Tu-2 being prepared/armed/fuelled
Tupolev Tu-2 being prepared/armed/fuelled

 

Technical data on the Tupolev 'Type 103V'
Powerplant 2 × Shvetsov M-82 radial, rated at 1700 hp (1267.33 kW) each Role during war
  • Medium Bomber
Length 45 ft 4 inch Height unknown
Empty weight 16170 lb Operational weight 22802 lb max
Wing Span 61 ft 8 inch Wing Aspect ratio unknown
Wing Area 522 sq ft Service ceiling 29500 ft
Maximum speed 328 mph at 12450 ft Cruising speed unknown
Initial climb rate Climb to 16,400 ft in 10 min 0 sec Range 1242 miles typical
Fuel capacity internal unknown Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns
  • 3 × 0.3 inch SkHAS guns (position unknown to me)
  • 2 × 0.50 inch UB, (position unknown to me)
Cannons
  • 2 × 20 mm ShVAK fixed forward-firing in the wing roots, 100 rounds each
Bomb load Up to 6,613 lb of disposable stores carried in a lower-fuselage weapons bay rated at 6,613 lb. General disposables load consisted of:
  • 1 × 2,204 lb bomb, or
  • 2 × 1,102 lb bombs, or
  • up to 3 × 2,204 lb bombs
Torpedoes/rockets
  • 10 × 132 mm PS-132 rockets
Crew 4: pilot, navigator/bombardier/gunner, radio operator/gunner, gunner Naval or ground based Ground
First flight (prototype) 29 Januari 1941 Operational Service 1944 - late 1950's
Manufacturer AGOS (department of Aviation, Seaplane and Experimental Construction) of the TsAGI (Central Aerodynamics and Hydrodynamics Institute) Number produced 2.527 total, 2 this version
Metric system
Length 13.82 m Height unknown
Empty weight 7335 kg Operational weight 10343 kg max
Wing Span 18.8 m Wing Aspect ratio unknown
Wing Area 48.49 m² Service ceiling 8992 m
Maximum speed 528 km/h at 3795 m Cruising speed unknown
Initial climb rate Climb to 5.000 m in 10 min 0 sec Range 1999 km typical
Fuel capacity internal unknown Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns
  • 3 × 7,62 mm SkHAS guns (position unknown to me)
  • 2 × 12,7 mm UB, (position unknown to me)
Cannons
  • 2 × 20 mm ShVAK fixed forward-firing in the wing roots, 100 rounds each
Bomb load Up to 3.000 kg of disposable stores carried in a lower-fuselage weapons bay rated at 3,000 kg. General disposables load consisted of:
  • 1 × 1.000 kg bomb, or
  • 2 × 500 kg bombs, or
  • up to 3 × 1.000 kg bombs
Torpedoes/rockets
  • 10 × 132 mm PS-132 rockets

Technical data on the Tupolev Tu-2S
Powerplant 2 × Shvetsov Ash-82FN radial, rated at 1850 hp (1379.16 kW) each Role during war
  • Medium Bomber
Length 45 ft 3.33 inch Height 14 ft 11 inch
Empty weight unknown Operational weight unknown
Wing Span 61 ft 10.5 inch Wing Aspect ratio 7.29
Wing Area 525.3 sq ft Service ceiling 31170 ft
Maximum speed 340 mph at 17715 ft Cruising speed unknown
Initial climb rate Climb to 16,400 ft in 9 min 30 sec Range 1305 miles max
Fuel capacity internal 616 Imp gal (740 US gal) Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns
  • 1 × 0.50 inch Beresin UBT trainable rearward-firing in the rear cockpit, 250 rounds
  • 1 × 0.50 inch Beresin UBT trainable rearward-firing in dorsal position, 250 rounds
  • 1 × 0.50 inch Beresin UBT trainable rearward-firing in ventral position, 250 rounds
Cannons
  • 2 × 20 mm ShVAK fixed forward-firing in the wing roots, 100 rounds each
Bomb load Up to 8,818 lb of disposable stores carried in a lower-fuselage weapons bay rated at 8,818 lb. General disposables load consisted of:
  • 4 × 2,204 lb FAB-1000 bomb, or
  • 8 × 1,102 lb FAB-500 bombs
Torpedoes/rockets -
Crew 4: pilot, navigator/bombardier/gunner, radio operator/gunner, gunner Naval or ground based Ground
First flight (prototype) 29 Januari 1941 Operational Service 1944 - late 1950's
Manufacturer AGOS (department of Aviation, Seaplane and Experimental Construction) of the TsAGI (Central Aerodynamics and Hydrodynamics Institute) Number produced 2.527 total, 2 this version
Metric system
Length 13.8 m Height 4.55 m
Empty weight unknown Operational weight unknown
Wing Span 18.86 m Wing Aspect ratio 7.29
Wing Area 48.8 m² Service ceiling 9501 m
Maximum speed 547 km/h at 5400 m Cruising speed unknown
Initial climb rate Climb to 5.000 m in 9 min 30 sec Range 2100 km max
Fuel capacity internal 2.800 liters Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns
  • 1 × 12,7 mm Beresin UBT trainable rearward-firing in the rear cockpit, 250 rounds
  • 1 × 12,7 mm Beresin UBT trainable rearward-firing in dorsal position, 250 rounds
  • 1 × 12,7 mm Beresin UBT trainable rearward-firing in ventral position, 250 rounds
Cannons
  • 2 × 20 mm ShVAK fixed forward-firing in the wing roots, 100 rounds each
Bomb load Up to 4.000 kg of disposable stores carried in a lower-fuselage weapons bay rated at 4.000 kg. General disposables load consisted of:
  • 4 × 1.000 kg FAB-1000 bomb, or
  • 8 × 500 kg FAB-500 bombs
Torpedoes/rockets -

Here is a quick overview of all different versions, without the full technical specifications:

Different versions of the Tupolev Tu-2 
Tupolev ANT-58 This first prototype of the Tu-2 was desinged by Tupolev and his team while in prison. The first draft were ready by Februari 1940. The ANT-58 would be powered by 2 × Klimov M-120, have a flying weight of about 17,195 lb (7.800 kg), a max level speed of 459 mph (740 km/h), and a range of 1,553 miles (2.500 kg). Defensive armament would consist of eight machineguns, and bombload would be up to 4,409 lb (2.000 kg). A mock-up was built, and in April 1940 this was approved.
In August 1940 Plant No.156 was ordered to build three prototypes, one powered by 2 × Mikulin AM-37, the other two by 2 × Klimov M-120 with TK-2 superchargers. On 8 January 1941the first prototype was ready, and took to the air for the first time on 29 Januari 1941.
Number built: 1
Tupolev 'Type 103' NKVD state prison designation for the ANT-58
Redesignated aircraft
Tupolev ANT-59 The second and third prototype of the ANT-58 type were during construction modified to meet revised requirements. According to the VVS (Voenno-vozdushniye Sily, Soviet Air Force) the pilot and navigator should be seated side-by-side, which increased the cross section of the resulting aircraft (the aircraft now became a four-seat in stead of three-seat aircraft). Also, the Klimov M-120's development lagged behind because of problems, so the second prototype was powered by 2 × Mikulin AM-37 radial as well. This, combined with increased weight meant that the ANT-59 had inferior performance compared to the ANT-58. At a take-off weight of 23,004 lb (10.435 kg) the ANT-59 had a max level speed of 291 mph (469 km/h) at sea level, and 379 mph (610 km/h) at 25,600 ft (7.800 m) altitude. It could climb to 16,400 ft (5.000 m) in 9 min 30 sec, had a ceiling of 34,500 ft (10.500 m) and had a range of 1,180 miles (1.900 km). When the state trials were almost completed, it also received a new fin and rudder.
Even though performance was less than that of the ANT-58, the figures still met the requirements. Thus it was decided to start production of it. However, since the Mikulin AM-37's were still underdeveloped, another alternative had to be found. TOT HIER
Number built: 1
Tupolev 'Type 103U' NKVD state prison designation for the ANT-59
Redesignated aircraft
Tupolev ANT-60 When the trials on the ANT-59 were completed it turned out that the Mikulin AM-37 engines were not ready yet for production. An alternative for the powerplant was found in the way of 2 × Shvetsov M-82 radial. This prototype was completed by 15 december 1941, on which date the first flight was performed. Company and State trials lasted until 22 August 1942, while in the meantime the ANT-60 was officially designated Tu-2.
One of the prototypes' engines behaved unsatisfactory, and this aircraft was returned to the factory where it received the new Shvetsov M-82FNV's, later designated M-82FN. Thsi aircraft underwent trials, and based upon the results of both M-82 and M-82FN powered aircraft it was decided to put the M-82FN powered aircraft into production.
Number built: at least 2
Tupolev 'Type 103V' NKVD state prison designation for the ANT-60
Redesignated aircraft
Tupolev Tu-2 This version was the pre-production version of the Tu-2. It was similar to the ANT-60, initially powered by 2 × Shvetsov M-82, later by 2 × Shvetsov M-82FNV redesignated Shvetsov Ash-82FN, rated at 1,850 hp (1.395 kW) each. These aircraft were mainly used for operational trials.
Number built: unknown out of 2.527
Tupolev Tu-2S This version was an upgrade from the Tu-2. It had an increased bombload, uprated engines, and the twin 0.3 inch (7,62 mm) ShKAS guns in the dorsaland ventral positions were replaced by single 0.50 inch (12,7 mm) Beresin UBT guns.
Number built: unknown out of 2.527
Tupolev Tu-2D (ANT-62) In 1941 plans for a long range Tu-2 had existed, but were put on hold in favour of the standard design of the Tu-2. In 1943 these plans were looked upon once more. The Tu-2D had a crew of 5, increased wing span (72 ft 4.5 inch, 22,06 m), increased wing area (635 sq ft, 59,05 m²), greater empennage area, increased fuel capacity, new cockpit canopies, and new propellers.
Number built: unknown out of 2.527
Tupolev ANT-62T This version was closely related to the Tupolev Tu-2D (ANT-62). based on the very design, it was modified for Torpede capabilities. As such, it had an additional fuel tank in the weapons bay, and could carry one or two torpedoes. Since the War ended before the work was finished development was halted.
Number built: 0
Tupolev Tu-2R This version was the reconnaissance version of the Tu-2. Development of this version began in 1942, and the first prototype flew in 1943. The aircraft were fitted with vertical as well as oblique cameras, but I lack further information thereof.
Number built: unknown out of 2.527
Tupolev Tu-2Sh This was the ground-attack version of the Tu-2. Based on the Tu-2S, it was powered by 2 × Shvetsov ASh-82FN. Armament differed dramatically from it's ancestor, being 48 × PPSh sub machine guns installed in the forward fuselage, ,since the aircraft was meant to attack hostile infantry. The 48 guns could deliver a fierce barrage for a short period, it was nearly impossible to reload all 48 guns in a short time.
Another Shturmovic (ground-attack) version was fitted with a 75 mm cannon, which was reloaded by the navigator, in addition to it's standard armament. It was primarily meant for attacking enemy trains. It was tested, but did not enter production.
In 1946 yet another version arose. It was armed with 2 × 45 mm NS-45 cannon and 2 × 37 mm NS-37 cannon all situated under the nose. 2 × 20 mm ShVAK cannon whcich were fitted to the sides of the fuselage complemented the quartet. This aircraft had a crew of 2, and had for defence a dorsal turret mounted with 1 × 0.50 inch (12,7 mm) Beresin UBT gun. This was also only a prototype.
The last Shturmovic version was one similar to the one directly above, but fitted with a single 57 mm RShR anti-tank cannon with a recoil compensator, installed in the weapons bay. The barrel of this cannon protruded almost 1 ft 8 inch (0,50 m) from the nose of the aircraft.
Number built: unknown out of 2.527
Tupolev Tu-2T The Tu-2T was a torpedoe bomber. It could carry up to 2 × 45-36-AN torpedoes under the wing center section. The prototype for this version passed the state and manufacturer trials in februari/march 1945. It had a max level speed of 313 mph (505 km/h) with one torpedoe, and 306 mph (493 km/h) with two torpedoes. However, it was not put into production, since another version ANT-62T was being developed based on the long range Tu-2D.
Number built: unknown out of 2.527
Tupolev Tu-2U This version was built to proide training facilities for new air crews. This was a post-war development, and I lack any further information.
Number built: unknown out of 2.527
Tupolev Tu-2DB (ANT-65) Based on the long-range Tu-2D, this version was powered by 2 × Mikulin AM-44TK water cooled engines fitted with the TK-1B (TK-300B) turbo-superchargers. These engines drove 12 ft 5 inch (3,80 m) three-bladed AV-5LV-166B propellers. During trials the engines proved unreliable, so further development was abandoned.
Number built: unknown out of 2.527
Tupolev Tu-2 Ash-83 Only days after the War in Europe (18 may 1945) the prototype for this version took off for the first time. The new engines (2 × Shvetsov ASh-83) were high-altitude capable and delivered more output. The max level speed increased, but range was negatively affected (shorter range). Because the ASh-83's didn't enter production, the project was cancelled.
Number built: unknown out of 2.527
Tupolev Tu-2 'Paravan' In order to deal with enemy balloon barrages, two standard production aircraft were modified. These aircraft were fitted with a 19 ft 8 inch (6 m) long Duralumin cone on the nose, and cables with sharp cutting edges were stretched from the tip of the cone to the wingtips. In order to maintain the correct center of gravity, a 330 lb (150 kg) weight was placed in the tail of the aircraft. The Paravan did not enter production, however
Number built: 2 out of 2.527
Tupolev SDB (ANT-63) This version was the prototype for a new aircraft. However, some state that it was an escort fighter version of the Tu-2 family, others claim it was a high speed day bomber. Since the abbreviation SDB seems to mean Skorostnoy Dnevnoy Bombardirovschik (High speed Day Bomber), I am inclined to believe the latter. All sources agree that is was powered by 2 × Mikulin AM-39, rated at 1,870 hp (1.395 kW) each, however . Since it was to rely on speed several changes could be made. It was turned into a two-seat aircraft, without the air brakes and armed with 2 × 20 mm ShVAK cannon and 1 × 0.50 inch (12,7 mm) Beresin UBT gun. During trials the max level speed at sea level increased to 327 mph (527 km/h), an d to 400 mph (645 km/h) at 21,800 ft (6.650 m) altitude. rate of climb improved as well, being 7 min 45 sec to reach 16,400 ft (5.000 m). The ceiling was roughly the same at 32,800 ft (10.000 m) and range as well at 1,137 miles (1.830 km).
The tests with the first prototype led to a number of modifications incorporated in the second prototype. A number of structural modifications that entered the Tu-2S production were incorporated as well. So the total list of differences from the first was: single strut main undercarriage legs, augmented AM-39F's in stead of the AM-39's, improved view for the pilot and gunner, max bomb load of 8,818 lb (4.000 kg), increased area of the vertical tail surfaces, changed wing center section, cockpit armour for the three-manned crew, an additional 0.50 inch (12,7 mm) UB gun and increased fuel capacity to 519 Imp gal (623 US gal, 2.360 liters). The weight of the second prototype was a little higher than that of the first, and speed was 3 mph (5 km/h) slower at altitude, although at sea level it was faster (339 mph, 547 km/h). The test were satisfactorily, but the view for the navigator was pretty poor. Work on this version was halted, because the Tupolev design team thought that the Tu-10 was more promissing.
Number built: 2 out of 2.527
Tupolev Tu-6 After the War this version came about. It was, like the Tu-2R a reconnaissance version, based on that same forfather, and fitted with a number of cameras. Among these cameras there were the AFA-33's with a focal length of 20 cm, 33 cm, 50 cm, 75 cm and 100 cm. Also the NAFA-3S/50, AFA-3S/50 and AFA-33/100 were tested. The latter camera had a lens so big it protruded through the fuselage, and had to be faired. To address the need for increased range an additional fuel tank was installed in the weapons bay.
Number built: unknown out of 2.527
Tupolev Tu-8 (ANT-69) This version was yet another long-range version. It was based on the Tu-2D, had the same wingspan, but increased wing area by increasing the chord of the outer wing panels and ailerons. Also the undercarriage was reinforced and made longer. Armament consisted of 1 × 20 mm B-20 cannon in the nose, 1 × 20 mm B-20 cannon in a a power-operated dorsal turret, and two more for each of the gunners. Bombload was increased to 9,920 lb (4.500 kg), and this resulted in a flying weight of 36,926 lg (16.750 kg) in overload condition. The cockpit were made wider, and this combined with the weight increase had a bad result on the performance. The only thing that improved was the range, being about 2,574 miles (4.100 km). The aircraft had insufficient performance for the period (1947), and it was not strong and stable enough. Besides, the first Jet bombers had been designed in the Soviet Union, so furhter development was halted.
Number built: unknown out of 2.527
Tupolev Tu-10 By the end of the War a new version emerged form the Tupolev design team. During the War the Tu-2(S) was constantly improved, and now it was time for a more drastic improvement. Power was delivered by 2 × Mikulin AM-39FNV water cooled engines, rated at 1,850 hp (1.380 kW) each. Other changes were a wider canopy, one side window in stead of three, radiators installed in the wing center section, redesigned rear section of the wings in order to be able to combaine the fuel tanks No. 6 and No. 7 to one tank, increased vertical tail surfaces, hydraulically controlable tailplane and a new tail wheel installed. Besides this, the armament was improved. The navigator's VUSh gun mounting was replaced by a VUS-1, and the radio operator/gunner's VUB-2M by a VUB-65. The hatch machine gun and the bomb lifting system were modernised, and the max bombload increased to 8,818 lb (4.000 kg).
Number built: unknown out of 2.527

Operational remarks:

The development of the Tu-2 took a reasonable long time. But the resulting aircraft had a number of excellent qualities. The first aircraft to be used were three Tu-2's, in september 1942. During their first operational tests they flew a good number of missions without losses, due to their excellent speed and good defensive armament. Unlike the Petlyakov Pe-2, the Tu-2 could not perform dive-bombings, and was used for level bombing mostly (also see other versions). The Tu-2 was more liked than the Pe-2, yet the latter was built in bigger numbers because of the limited capacity the plants had were the Tu-2 was built, and the fact that the infrasturcture that supported the Pe-2 was already well established. Also, most pilots were used to the Pe-2. It were mostly these reasons that prevented the Tu-2 to be used on a much larger scale in spite of the facts that the Pe-2 was more vulnerable than the Tu-2, and a lot slower (almost 62 mph, 100 km/h!).
The Tu-2 was first used in greater numbers during the counter-attack on Stalingrad, in which the German 6th Army under Paulus was encircled and forced to surrender. Because the report on the test results was late Stalin decided to cancel the production, and although Tupolev went to Moscow production was halted in januari 1943, the 80th aircraft just being finished. A couple of months later, in a typical Stalin way, production was once more restored, and would be done at Aircraft Plant No. 23 situated in Moscow.
Then early in 1944 the Tu-2 was finally supplied in greater quantities to front-line units. There they proved very effective, and had a high survivability rate. Once a group of Tu-2's took of for a mission, but failed to meet with their intended escorts. Nevertheless the bombers pressed home their attack, and all returned safely. Later in the war it was established that the loss rate of the Tu-2 was something of 1 aircraft for every 46.5 sorties, even though they were mostly the primary target of the Luftwaffe fighters in air battles. The Tu-2 was also very effective in it's primary role: level bombing. One unit took off to bomb the Vyborg railway terminal on 17 June 1944, which was obliterated. The unit then was awarded the title Leningradskaya.
Besides normal bombs (FAB series), the Tu-2 could also be armed with RAB-3 cassettes. This was not possible for e.g. the Pe-2, proving the diversity the Tu-2 possessed. But one of the best atests the Tu-2 had for it's excellent design was the fact that the majority of the aircraft were built after the War: 1.013 aircraft were built up until the German surrender, the remaining 1.514 aircraft were built afterwards. The Tu-2 was used long after the War, even as late as 1961. It received the NATO codename 'Bat', and was used in the Korean War by the North Korean Air Force.

Strengths:

Weaknesses:

 

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© by Frans Bonné, 2000
Last revision: 5/27/02