Tupolev Tu 2

Technical requirements on this new generation front line bomber (so designation FB, Frontovoj Bombardirovschik) became clear in 1940:

  • twin-engined aircraft;
  • speed close to fighter's;
  • internal bomb bay allowing to carry heavy bombs;
  • all-weather operation;
  • dive bombing capability;
  • long operation range;
  • appropriate defensive armament;

    Officially project started on March 1, 1940. Most of the design team (including also R.L.Bartini and S.P.Korolev) were imprisoned as the 'Enemies of the People', and had to work really hard to survive. Approaching war with Germany kept people stressed (despite denied officially).

    Tu-2S at Krakow (Poland) Museum Lotnictwai Austronautyki, Rakowice Airfield.

    Series production started in February 1942 under designation ANT-60. Shortly production was interrupted because catastrophic shortages of front line fighters. Restarted in April 1943.

    Originally Tu-2 served as front line and dive bomber. But during long career it got more assignments.

    Production continued until 1952 (2527 built), in Soviet service until 1955.

    The Tu-2 was the USSR's third (historically) important twin-engined bomber (after the Il-4 and Pe-2), and brought A.N.Tupolev back into favour after a period of detention.
    Heavy armament, powerful engines and incredible construction strength allowed the crew after dropping bombs to turn back and engage... enemy fighters.
    Tu-2 was a mid-wing monoplane with large bomb bay under the wing and twin tails. Production aircraft differed slightly from each other by nose section shape and size, except long-range versions (those had noticeably larger wing and tail surfaces). Standard crew included pilot (in the front cockpit), navigator (behind him), gunner and radio operator/gunner in rear cockpit behind the wing. Long-range variants sometimes had crew of five, in some missions crew was cut to 2-3.
    Bomb load was 1000kg inside the fuselage and 1000kg externally. Tu-2 was often used in overload configuration, carrying up to 4000kg of bombs. Maximum bomb calibre - 1000kg.
    Normal armament included pair of 20mm ShVAK cannons in the wing roots and 3...5 7.62mm ShKAS in three (navigator, gunner, operator/gunner) defensive positions. Those were replaced by heavy 12.7mm UBT machineguns. Optional RS-132 launchers could be carried under the wing (up to 10). In later modifications (including the most built) those launchers were deleted.
    Since 1946 several Tu-2 were converted for special research goals. In-flight study of rocket and jet engines was performed on specially equipped Tu-2 'Flying Lab' (Letauschaja Laboratorija).


    In 1948 detailed study of de-icing devices was carried out. Rubber strips, liquid and electric heating systems were evaluated. They worked fine but were found insufficiently robust (poor rubber quality). Proper choice of propeller (3.6m diameter AV-5V-21 was finally selected) allowed to keep flying characteristic unchanged with the same engines, while weight of empty aircraft was increased.
    To support paratroop operations one Tu-2 was modified to carry and deploy by parachute a GAZ-67B light truck. Vehicle was installed on special cage and half-hidden in the bomb bay. Bay doors were removed. Deployment procedure was worked out, but performance degradation (speed down to 378km/h and ceiling down to 6000m) turned to be unacceptable. Conclusion was made that special fairing is needed to use Tu-2 for this purpose. Project was abandoned, because larger transport aircraft had an obvious advantages.

    Tu-2 with GAZ-67B light truck in the bomb bay.

    During WWII blimp-supported nets were widely used as anti-bomber defence. To cut through hanging wires special 'Paravan' modification was built. It carried 6m nose cone (light aluminium monocoque), propeller protection 13.5mm wires from the cone tip to wingtips and wing-tip mounted blades. To compensate for the cone and wires weight, 150kg balance was added to the tail.

    Since this special aircraft carried no bombs, performance did not suffer. 'Paravan' aircraft could accompany bomber formations. Two were built and flown in September 1944. Finally found unnecessary.


    Year deployed
    Wing span, m
    Lenght, m
    Height, m
    Wings area, m2
    Weight, kg
    empty aircraft
    normal take-off
    Power, hp
    Maximum speed, km/h
    Cruising speed, km/h
    Range, km
    Rate of climb, m/min
    Service ceiling, m


    2 PE ASh-82FNV
    2 У 1850
    2 20-mm cannons ShVAK  ,
    3 12,7-mm machine-guns UBT 
    Bombs - 1000 kg , Maximum - up to 4000 kg