The Tupolev Tu-2 (development names ANT-58 and 103; NATO reporting name Bat) was a twin-engine Soviet high-speed daylight and frontline (SDB and FB) bomber aircraft of World War II vintage. The Tu-2 was tailored to meet a requirement for a high-speed bomber or dive-bomber, with a large internal bombload, and speed similar to that of a single-seat fighter. Designed to challenge the German Junkers Ju 88, the Tu-2 proved comparable, and was produced in torpedo, interceptor and reconnaissance versions. The Tu-2 was one of the outstanding combat aircraft of World War II and it played a key role in the Red Army's final offensives.
|A North Korean Tu-2 bomber at the China Aviation Museum, Beijing|
|First flight||29 January 1941|
|Retired||late 1970s (PLAAF)|
|Primary users||VVS, Soviet Naval Aviation|
People's Liberation Army Air Force
Polish Air Forces
|Variants||Tupolev Tu-1 |
Design and development
In 1937, Andrei Tupolev, along with many Soviet designers at the time, was arrested on trumped-up charges of activities against the State. Despite the actions of the Soviet government, he was considered important to the war effort and following his imprisonment, he was placed in charge of a team that was to design military aircraft. Designed as Samolyot (Russian: "aircraft") 103, the Tu-2 was based on earlier ANT-58, ANT-59 and ANT-60 light bomber prototypes. Essentially an upscaled and more powerful ANT-60 powered by AM-37 engines, the first prototype was completed at Factory N156, and made its first test flight on 29 January 1941, piloted by Mikhail Nukhtinov. Mass production began in September 1941, at Omsk Aircraft Factory Number 166, with the first aircraft reaching combat units in March 1942. Modifications were made based on combat experience, and Plant Number 166 built a total of 80 aircraft. The AM-37 engine was abandoned to concentrate efforts on the AM-38F for the Il-2, which required Tupolev to redesign the aircraft for an available engine. Modifications of this bomber took ANT-58 through ANT-69 variants. A further 2527 aircraft were built at Kazan, with these modifications. Production ceased in 1951 after a total of some 3,000 aircraft were delivered to various Soviet Bloc air forces.
Built from 1941 to 1948, the Tu-2 was the USSR's second most important twin-engine bomber (the first being the Pe-2). The design brought Andrei Tupolev back into favour after a period of detention. Crews were universally happy with their Tupolevs. Pilots could maneuver the aircraft like a fighter, it could survive heavy damage, and it was fast. The first Soviet unit to be equipped with the Tu-2 was 132 BAP of 3 VA (Vozdushnaya Armiya, Air Army). The aircraft had its baptism of fire over Velikiye Luki. There, in November-December 1942, this Tupolev bomber flew 46 sorties. On February 11, 1943, 132 BAP was transferred to 17 VA to support the drive toward River Dnepr and it flew another 47 sorties - attacking airfields and rail junctions - until April 13, when the unit was removed from frontline. By that time only three Tu-2s were lost in action, while seven were damaged. The Tu-2 remained in service in the USSR until 1950.
Some surplus Tu-2s were provided to the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force for use in the Chinese Civil War. Some Chinese Tu-2s were shot down by United Nations airmen during the Korean War. In the 1958–1962 'counter-riot actions' in the 1959 Tibetan uprising in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau covering Qinghai, Tibet, southern Gansu, and western Sichuan, Chinese PLAAF Tu-2s took on the roles of ground-attack, reconnaissance and liaison. The Chinese Tu-2s were retired at the end of the 1970s.
- "Aircraft 103" (ANT-58)
- The initial three-seat version. Top speed 635 km/h (395 mph) at 8,000 m (26,247 ft). Two 1,044 kW (1,400 hp) Mikulin AM-37 (water cooling), 1941.
- "Aircraft 103U" (ANT-59)
- Redesigned for four-seat crew (influenced by Junkers Ju 88). Top speed dropped to 610 km/h (379 mph). It used the same engines as the ANT-58.
- "Aircraft 103V" (ANT-60)
- As ANT-59 but powered by air-cooled Shvetsov ASh-82 engines after the AM-37 was cancelled.
- "Aircraft 104"
- Tu-2S modified for interceptor role.
- Torpedo bomber prototype developed from the Tu-2D.
- ANT-63 (SDB)
- High-speed day bomber prototype.
- Long-range four-engine heavy bomber project developed from the Tu-2, cancelled in favor of Tu-4. Also known as Tu-10.
- Airliner variant of ANT-64.
- Five-seat long-range bomber similar to ANT-62 but powered by Charomskiy ACh-30BF diesel engines, 1946.
- Tu-1 (ANT-63P)
- Prototype three-seat night fighter version.
- Two 1,081 kW (1,450 hp) Shvetsov ASh-82 (air cooling) with bigger drag, 1942.
- Tu-2D (ANT-62)
- Long-range version, it appeared in October 1944. It had an increased span and a crew of five aviators. Powered by two 1,380 kW (1,850 hp) Shvetsov ASh-82FN?, 1943?
- Tu-2DB (ANT-65)
- High-altitude reconnaissance bomber version developed from the Tu-2D, powered by two turbo-supercharged Mikulin AM-44TK engines.
- Photo-reconnaissance version.
- High-speed cargo transport version.
- Only two aircraft were built for testing ejection seats.
- Tu-2's modified as testbeds.
- Tu-2M (ANT-61M)
- Powered by two 1,417 kW (1,900 hp) ASh-83 radial piston engines.
- Engine testbed, built to test the Rolls-Royce Nene turbojet engine.
- Tu-2 Paravan
- Two aircraft built to test barrage balloon cable cutters and deflectors.
- Reconnaissance version.
- Prototype, armed with 57 mm cannon in the forward fuselage.
- Tu-2S (ANT-61)
- Powered by two 1,380 kW (1,850 hp) Shvetsov ASh-82FN radial piston engines, 1943.
- Tu-2S RLS PNB-4
- Secretive night-fighter prototype developed under leadership of the NKVD special section of V. Morgunov and P. Kuksenko. Equipped with the Soviet Gneiss 5 (Гнейс 5) radar. Armed with two NS-45 autocannons. Development presumed to have started in 1943. Precursor of the Tu-1.
- Experimental ground-attack versions. Two variants were tested in 1944: one with a 76mm (2.95 inches) centerline gun and another with a battery of 88 7.62mm (0.30 inches) PPSh-41 submachine guns fixed in the bomb bay, directed to fire ahead at a 30-degree angle. Another version under this designation was tested in 1946; this one had a frontal armament consisting of with two NS-37 and two NS-45 autocannons.
- Torpedo-bomber variant, was tested between February and March 1945, and issued to Soviet Naval Aviation units.
- Trainer version.
- All-weather interceptor prototype.
- Reconnaissance prototype, 1946.
- Tu-8 (ANT-69)
- Long-range bomber based on Tu-2D, 1947.
- Tu-10 (ANT-68)
- It was a high-altitude variant that saw limited service, 1943.
- Medium-range jet bomber prototype, 1947.
- Bomber trainer with Shvetsov ASh-21 engines of 515 kW (690 hp) created by the Sukhoi OKB in 1946
- World War II operators
- Postwar operators
- People's Liberation Army Air Force Imported 33 UTB-2 and 29 T-2U trainers at the end of 1949. The last four UTB-2s retired in 1965. Imported 311 Tu-2s from the end of 1949 to 1952. The last 30 Tu-2s retired in 1982.
- Romanian Air Force (six delivered in 1950: two Tu-2s, two Tu-2 trainers and two Tu-6s)
Aircraft on display
- Bulgarian Museum of Aviation – Tu-2T, tactical number 27
- War Eagles Air Museum in Santa Teresa, New Mexico
Specifications (Tu-2 2M-82)
Data from Gordon, Yefim; Rigmant, Vladimir (2005). OKB Tupolev (1st ed.). Hinkley: Midland Publishing. pp. 83–97. ISBN 1-85780-214-4.
- Crew: 4
- Length: 13.8 m (45 ft 3 in)
- Wingspan: 18.86 m (61 ft 11 in)
- Height: 4.13 m (13 ft 7 in)
- Empty weight: 7,601 kg (16,757 lb)
- Gross weight: 10,538 kg (23,232 lb)
- Max takeoff weight: 11,768 kg (25,944 lb)
- Powerplant: 2 × Shvetsov ASh-82 14-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engines, 1,380 kW (1,850 hp) each
- Propellers: 3-bladed АБ-5-167А, 3.8 m (12 ft 6 in) diameter , Weight: 178 kg, Pitch range: 23-53°
- Maximum speed: 528 km/h (328 mph, 285 kn)
- Range: 2,020 km (1,260 mi, 1,090 nmi)
- Service ceiling: 9,000 m (30,000 ft)
- Rate of climb: 8.2 m/s (1,610 ft/min)
- Wing loading: 220 kg/m2 (45 lb/sq ft)
- Power/mass: 0.260 kW/kg (0.158 hp/lb)
- Bombs: 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) internally and 2,270 kg (5,000 lb) externally
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Jackson 2003, p. 154.
- Bishop 2002, p. 317
- Ethell 1995, p. 161.
- Bergstrom 2019, p. 191.
- Jackson 2003, p. 155.
- Н.В. Якубович (2010). Ту-2. Лучший бомбардировщик Великой Отечественной (in Russian). Коллеекция / Яуза / Эксмо. p. 39.
- Gunston, Bill (1995). Tupolev Aircraft since 1922. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. p. 119. ISBN 1-55750-882-8.
- (in Polish) Marian Mikołajczuk, Paweł Sembrat. Samoloty Tu-2 i UTB-2 w lotnictwie polskim, in: Lotnictwo z Szachownicą No. 33(3/2009), pp. 4–12.
- Bonné, Frans. "WW2 Warbirds: the Tupolev Tu-2".
- Bergström, Christer. Black Cross – Red Star, Air War over the Eastern Front. Volume 4. Stalingrad to Kuban. Vaktel Books, 2019. ISBN 978-91-88441-21-8
- Bishop, Chris. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of WWII: The Comprehensive Guide to Over 1,500 Weapons Systems, Including Tanks, Small Arms, Warplanes, Artillery, Ships, and Submarines. New York: Sterling, 2002. ISBN 1-58663-762-2.
- Ethell, Jeffrey L. Aircraft of World War II. Glasgow: HarperCollins/Jane's, 1995. ISBN 0-00-470849-0.
- Jackson, Robert. Aircraft of World War II: Development, Weaponry, Specifications: Leicester, UK: Amber Books, 2003. ISBN 1-85605-751-8.
- Leonard, Herbert. Encyclopaedia of Soviet Fighters 1939–1951. Paris: Histoire & Collections, 2005. ISBN 2-915239-60-6.
- Munson, Kenneth. Aircraft of World War II. New York: Doubleday and Company, 1972. ISBN 0-385-07122-1.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tupolev Tu-2.|
- Walkaround of Tu-2 from Monino Museum, Russia
- Tu-2 on World War II Warbirds
- Tu-2 aircraft family
- Photo of Tu-2 with PPSh in bomb bay