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  • Tupolev Tu-2 (Bat) Fast Bomber / Multirole Aircraft

    The Tupolev Tu-2 Bat served a variety of critical frontline roles for the Soviet Air Force in World War 2.

     Updated: 5/1/2015; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    Russian aviation engineer Andrei Tupolev would lend his surname to a plethora of Soviet-era aircraft after founding his Tupolev OKB concern in 1922. By the late 1930s, the world was at war following the German invasion of Poland in September of 1939 to officially mark the start of World War 2. By 1940, the Soviet Air Force was interested in a high-speed medium bomber platform to lend a modern offensive "punch" in support of various Red Army initiatives - the result becoming the excellent twin-engine "Tu-2" which recorded its first flight on January 29th, 1941 and the series was formally introduced in March 1942. After the formation of NATO in 1949, the Tu-2 was assigned the codename of "Bat" in Western nomenclature.

    Light, twin-engined bombers certainly had their place in the aerial inventories of the period concerning World War 2. They offered the high-performance, high-speed flight of dedicated fighter platforms with the firepower of heavier bomber types in one complete package. As such, they could be outfitted with various armament layouts to include machine guns, cannon, bombs and torpedoes while being called upon to carry out differing sortie types consisting of reconnaissance, ground attack, interception and torpedo/dive bombing. In this way, many of these twin-engined heavy fighter-type designs of the war came to become the first true "multirole" fighter platforms and this was embodied through examples produced by all of the major powers of the time - Britain fielded their famous de Havilland "Mosquito" while the Soviets showcased their Tu-2. The Americans managed their Northrop P-61 "Black Widow" night-fighters while the Japanese made good with their Ki-45 "Tony".

    The Tu-2 became one of the more important bombers of the Second World War and proved an overall excellent design. In practice, the airframes proved quite resilient to enemy fire and the harsh operating environments that were the European Winter while their capabilities made them extremely valuable to combined Soviet operations requiring air support. The design centered around a pair of Shvetsov ASh-82 radial piston engines fitted to streamlined nacelles under each wing assembly and powering three-bladed (later four-bladed) propellers. The fuselage was long and slender, containing operating spaces for the four crew as well as a large internal bomb bay. The aircraft featured external hardpoints for munitions as well. Total ordnance capacity was 3,300lbs internally and up to 5,000lbs externally. The forward section of the fuselage contained the elevated cockpit position (inline seating) with the lower nose section glazed for the bombardier. The twin-door bomb bay ran just aft of the bombardier's position along the belly of the aircraft. Base armament consisted of 2 x 20mm ShVAK cannon fitted to the leading edge of the wings suitable for attacking enemy aerial and ground targets. Defense was initially provided by 3 x 7.62mm ShKAS machine guns across three defensive positions (cockpit, dorsal and ventral) though these were later upgraded to the more powerful 12.7mm Berezin UB machine gun types. The undercarriage was fully retractable and of the "tail-dragger configuration to include two single-wheeled main legs and a single-wheeled tail leg. The empennage incorporated a horizontal plane straddled by rounded vertical tail fins which provided the needed stability at low-levels. Overall performance specifications included a top speed of 325 miles per hour with a range out to 1,250 miles and service ceiling up to 29,500 feet. Rate-of-climb was 1,600 feet per minute. All told, the aircraft was regarded as a fast airframe for her class type and much appreciated by Soviet airmen. When utilized as a true fighter thoroughbred, the Tu-2 certainly held her own. Her value was such that she was utilized in all major actions towards the end of the war that would see the Soviets victors over their German invaders.

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    Tupolev Tu-2 (Bat) Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1942
    Type: Fast Bomber / Multirole Aircraft
    National Origin: Soviet Union
    Manufacturer(s): Tupolev - Soviet Union
    Production Total: 2,257

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 4
    Length: 45.28 feet (13.8 meters)
    Width: 61.88 feet (18.86 meters)
    Height: 13.55 feet (4.13 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 16,755 lb (7,600 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 25,948 lb (11,770 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 2 x Shvetsov ASh-82 radial piston engines developing 1,850 horsepower each.

    Maximum Speed: 324 mph (521 kph; 281 knots)
    Maximum Range: 1,243 miles (2,000 km)
    Service Ceiling: 29,528 feet (9,000 meters; 5.59 miles)
    Rate-of-Climb: 1,610 feet-per-minute (491 m/min)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    2 x 20mm ShVAK cannon in wings
    3 x 7.62mm ShKAS rear-firing machine guns (early).
    3 x 12.7mm Berezin UB rear-firing heavy machine guns (late).

    Up to 3,300lbs of internal (bomb bay) and 5,000lbs of external stores.

    Global Operators / Customers

    Bulgaria; China; Hungary; Indonesia; North Korea; Poland; Romania; Soviet Union

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    ANT-58 - Original three-seat model; fitted with 2 x Mikulin AM-37 engines of 1,400 horsepower.

    ANT-59 - Revised four-seat model

    ANT-60 - Based on the ANT-59 though with Shvetsov ASh-82 engines.

    ANT-63(SDB) - High-speed day bomber prototype

    ANT-67 - Five-seat long-range bomber of 1946 with ACh-30BF diesel-fueled engines.

    Tu-1 (ANT-63P) - Three-seat night-fighter prototype

    Tu-2 - Model of 1942; outfitted with 2 x Shvetsov ASh-82 air-cooled engines of 1,450 horsepower.

    Tu-2S (ANT-61) - Model of 1943; fitted with ASh-82FN radial engines of 1,850 horsepower.

    Tu-2D (ANT-62) - Model of 1944; long-range variant with lengthened wings; crew of five; fitted with 2 x Shvetsov ASh-82FN engines of 1,850 horsepower.

    Tu-2DB - High-altitude reconnaissance bomber

    Tu-2F - Photographic reconnaissance model

    Tu-2G - Cargo transpoer variant

    Tu-2K - Ejection seat testbed; two airframes used

    Tu-2M (ANT-61M) - Fitted with 2 x ASh-83 radial piston engines of 1,900 horsepower.

    Tu-2N - Testbed for Rolls-Royce Nene turbojet engine

    Tu-2 "Paravan" - Testbed for barrage balloon cutting

    Tu-2R - Reconnaissance platform

    Tu-2RShR - 57mm armed prototype

    Tu-2Sh - Experimental ground attack model; various configurations trialed.

    Tu-2/104 - All-weather interceptor prototype

    Tu-2T (ANT-62T) - Model of 1945; torpedo bomber

    Tu-6 - Model of 1946; reconnaissance prototype

    Tu-8 (ANT-69) - Model of 1947; based on Tu-2D as long range bomber.

    Tu-10 (Tu-4 / ANT-68) - Model of 1943; high altitude bomber.

    UTB - Model of 1946; bomber trainer variant; fitted with ASh-21 engines of 690 horsepower.