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".
Production of Tu-2s spanned from September of 1941 to 1951. In June of 1942, the Germans invaded the Soviet Union to open up the East Front and this pressed all manner of Soviet industry to previously unseen levels, requiring entire production lines to be set up in central Russia and many weapons produced in short order. The aircraft went on to have a successful post-war career as well, being showcased in several communist (and Soviet-allied) inventories beyond the Soviet Union. In all, production totaled 2,257 aircraft and stocked the inventories of Bulgaria, China, Hungary, Indonesia, North Korea, Poland and Romania. Amazingly, several managed frontline operational status into the early 1980s (China). Tu-2s saw combat actions in the Chinese Civil War (1927-1950) and Chinese airmen flew sorties in the Korean War against the United Nations. The Chinese also utilized their Tu-2s in forcibly putting down Tibetan upheaval between 1958 and 1962.
It is noteworthy to mention the somewhat "unfriendliness" of Soviet production designations when compared to the basic "A-B-C" or "1-2-3" conventions followed in the West. As such, a "D-model" follows an "S-model" into service while "T" simply signifies a "torpedo" carrying capability.
The Tu-2 spawned into many recognized variants beginning with the ANT-58 3-seat prototype of 1941. This was followed by the ANT-59 four-seat prototype and the ANT-67 five-seater of 1946 outfitted with, interestingly, diesel engines. "Tu-2" was the definitive series marker of 1942 outfitted with 2 x Shvetsov ASh-82 air-cooled engines of 1,450 horsepower. The Tu-2S was an updated design of 1943 with 2 x Shvetsov ASh-82FN radial piston engines of 1,850 horsepower. A long-range variant, the Tu-2D, was unveiled in October of 1944 with larger wings and five crew. The Tu-2DB was a high-altitude reconnaissance bomber variant while the Tu-2F was a photographic reconnaissance platform fielded with camera equipment. The Tu-2G proved a fast cargo hauler with limited capacity and the Tu-2R was a dedicated fast reconnaissance mount. The Tu-2K served as a developmental series for early powered ejection seat testing while the Tu-2N was used to evaluate the British Rolls-Royce Nene turbojet engine. Another testbed, the Tu-2 "Paravan", served to trial a "cable cutting" facility to be used against tethered ground-based enemy obstacle balloons. The Tu-2M was outfitted with 2 x Shvetsov ASh-83 radial piston engines of 1,900 horsepower. The Tu-2RShR was used to trial a 57mm internal cannon arrangement though this would never see serial production. The Tu-2Sh was a prototype ground-attack platform outfitted with various weaponry that came to naught. The Tu-2/104 became an all-weather interceptor mount and the Tu-2T was born as a dedicated torpedo bomber platform (the latter for Soviet Naval Aviation). The Tu-6 was an evolved reconnaissance variant, the Tu-8 a long-range bomber of 1947 and the Tu-10 a high-altitude version of 1943. Training of Tu-2 crew was handled through the downgraded "UTB" variant of 1946 and these were powered by 2 x Shvetsov ASh-21 engines of 690 horsepower.
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Bulgaria; China; Hungary; Indonesia; North Korea; Poland; Romania; Soviet Union
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Air-to-Air Combat, Fighter
General ability to actively engage other aircraft of similar form and function, typically through guns, missiles, and/or aerial rockets.
Ability to intercept inbound aerial threats by way of high-performance, typically speed and rate-of-climb.
✓Ground Attack (Bombing, Strafing)
Ability to conduct aerial bombing of ground targets by way of (but not limited to) guns, bombs, missiles, rockets, and the like.
✓Close-Air Support (CAS)
Developed to operate in close proximity to active ground elements by way of a broad array of air-to-ground ordnance and munitions options.
Equipped to search, track, and engage enemy surface elements through visual acquisition, radar support, and onboard weaponry.
✓Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.
Developed ability to be used as a dedicated trainer for student pilots (typically under the supervision of an instructor).
45.3 ft (13.80 m)
61.9 ft (18.86 m)
13.5 ft (4.13 m)
16,755 lb (7,600 kg)
25,948 lb (11,770 kg)
+9,193 lb (+4,170 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Tupolev Tu-2 (Bat) production variant)
2 x Shvetsov ASh-82 radial piston engines developing 1,850 horsepower each and driving three-bladed propeller units.
(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the base Tupolev Tu-2 (Bat) production variant. Performance specifications showcased above are subject to environmental factors as well as aircraft configuration. Estimates are made when Real Data not available. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database or View aircraft by powerplant type)
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 5,000lb of external stores.
(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 4
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.
Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
The overall rating takes into account over 60 individual factors related to this aircraft entry.
Rating is out of a possible 100 points.
Relative Maximum Speed
This entry's maximum listed speed (324mph).
Graph average of 300 miles-per-hour.
Tupolev Tu-2 (Bat) operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
Max Altitude Visualization
The three qualities reflected above are altitude, speed, and range.
Aviation Era Span
Showcasing era cross-over of this aircraft design.
Unit Production (2,257)
Compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian).
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective aerial campaigns / operations / aviation periods.
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