×
Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Infantry Arms Warships & Submarines Military Pay Scale Military Ranks
HOME
AIRCRAFT / AVIATION
MODERN AIR FORCES
COUNTRIES
MANUFACTURERS
COMPARE
BY CONFLICT
BY TYPE
BY DECADE
COLD WAR
WORLD WAR 2

Petlyakov Pe-8 (TB-7)


Long-Range Strategic Heavy Bomber Aircraft (1940)


Aviation / Aerospace

1 / 1

Jump-to: Specifications

The Petlyakov Pe-8 was the only Soviet-made, four-engined strategic bomber to serve in World War 2.



Authored By: Dan Alex | Last Edited: 05/18/2016 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.
During the lead-up to World War 2 (1939-1945), the Soviet Union joined Germany and Italy in providing a reduced focus on capable, four-engined strategic heavy bombers. As a result, the only Soviet-originated design to carry this quality became the largely forgotten Petlyakov "Pe-8". The Pe-8 was designed to a specific Soviet Air Force requirement that emerged in 1934 calling for a replacement to the outgoing Tupolev TB-3 series. This bomber was ancient-looking even by 1930s standards despite being introduced as recently as 1932. It saw a rather healthy production run of 818 aircraft.

Soviet authorities now turned their attention to a more modern aircraft with a 4,400 lb bomb load capability while reaching speeds of 270 miles per hour with a range out to 2,800 miles. This gave rise to the preliminary aircraft designation of ANT-42 with design attribution given to Vladimir Petlyakov and his team. A working prototype achieved first flight December 27th, 1936 and was eventually adopted under the Soviet Air Force designation of "TB-7". It formally entered service in 1940. However, back in October of 1937, Petlyakov was imprisoned (with others) during Stalin's "Great Purge" which only added delays to the program. The purge served to repress communist officials who threatened Stalin's control with many lives ending in either imprisonment or execution.

While the Soviet Union played its part in the dismantling of Poland during the German invasion of September 1939 (to officially begin World War 2), the former allies became enemies when German forces invaded the Soviet Union in June of 1941 through Operation Barbarossa. The German advance was swift and terrible for the retreating Soviets who pressed any manner of weaponry against the aggressors but lost thousands of men, vehicles, and aircraft to the scourge.

The Pe-8 program labored on though it would be permanently dogged by a lack of available - or capable - engines (the aircraft required four). Original aircraft were to be fitted with superchargers for better performance at altitude but only four production aircraft managed these engine types. Another two airframes were settled with Mikulin AM-34FRNV series engines while a stock of eighteen airframes would be powered by Mikulin AM-35A engines. Though was also being given to Mikulin M-30B diesel-fueled engines though these, while providing better fuel economics, never supplied the required performance results. The Mikulin M-82FN was another engine version, this offering fuel-injection.

On January 12th, 1942, the TB-7's lead designer, Petlyakov himself, was killed in a crash involving his Pe-2 dive bomber. As a result, the TB-7 was redesignated in his honor as the "Petlyakov Pe-8" - which is the designation the heavy bomber is largely recognized for today (December 2013). The change occurred on aircraft arriving from 1942 onwards.
Manufacture of the Pe-8 was handled out of Kazan Factory No. 124 and production spanned from 1936 to 1944. However, engine reliability, performance and availability were never completely solved and dogged the aircraft for the entirety of its service career. Indeed, many were lost simply to mechanical failures than enemy guns. In a late 1942 initiative, the aircraft received new Shvetsov ASh-82 radial piston engines of 1,850 horsepower output which improved reliability to an extent. Other refinements included removal of the nacelle-mounted defensive machine guns.

Base Pe-8s featured a crew of eleven personnel. Length measured 76 feet with a wingspan of 128.3 feet and height of 20.3 feet. When empty, the aircraft weighed in at 40,940lbs and featured an MTOW of 77,000lbs. Power was typically served through 4 x Mikulin AM-35A series, liquid-cooled V12 engines developing 1,340 horsepower each. This provided a top speed of 275 miles per hour, a range of 2,300 miles and a service ceiling of 30,500 feet. Rate-of-climb was listed at 1,150 feet per minute. In terms of the period, the Pe-8 could be compared to the Avro Lancaster of Britain or the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress of the United States.

Outwardly, the Pe-8 carried a conventional heavy bomber shape for the period. Its wide-spanning wings fitted the four engines along their leading edges with the inboard mount receiving a retractable, single-wheeled main landing gear leg unit. The fuselage was aerodynamically contoured and includes a stepped cockpit with framing and a heavily glazed nose assembly. The empennage carried a single vertical tail unit and low-set horizontal tailplanes.

Beyond its offensive-minded internal bomb load of 11,000lbs, the aircraft featured defensive-minded armament. 2 x 20mm ShVAK cannons were fitted to dorsal and tail turrets. 2 x 12.7mm UBT heavy machine guns were added to the rear of the engine nacelles to counter the threat posed by trailing aircraft behind the wings (these were removed in some re-engined models). 2 x 7.62mm ShKAS machine guns were installed in a nose turret to complete the defensive network of guns.

In practice, the Pe-8 served in its intended long-range strategic bombing role, engaging "exceptional" enemy targets such as airfields and railway yards in an attempt to expose the weaknesses of the enemy defense. In turn, successful missions were drummed up through the Soviet propaganda machine which was intended to lift local morale during the fighting on the ground. The missions were often daring and suicidal and enemy pilots were keen to locate, engage and destroy these large, ponderous aircraft at any opportunity. Such a targeting led to many losses of the existing Pe-8 stock.

With mounting losses, missions were scaled back in number. During 1944, many were beginning to see replacement by incoming Allied bombers types available through Lend-Lease. Pe-8 use therefore dwindled and some saw extended use as converted VIP transports by war's end. In the post-war years, the Pe-8 served as a technology testbed or in non-military roles. Beyond the base Pe-8 designation, there was the Pe-8ON VIP model and the Pe-8LL piston-engined trial bed. All Pe-8s were soon retired as more advanced large bomber designs appeared in the Soviet Air Force inventory.

Specifications



Service Year
1940

Origin
Soviet Union national flag graphic
Soviet Union

Crew
11

Production
93
UNITS


Petlyakov, Factory No. 124 - Soviet Union
National flag of the Soviet Union Soviet Union
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
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.
VIP Service
Used in the Very-Important-Person (VIP) passenger transport role, typically with above-average amenities and luxuries as standard.


Length
76.1 ft
(23.20 m)
Width/Span
128.3 ft
(39.10 m)
Height
20.3 ft
(6.20 m)
Empty Wgt
40,940 lb
(18,570 kg)
MTOW
77,162 lb
(35,000 kg)
Wgt Diff
+36,222 lb
(+16,430 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Petlyakov Pe-8 (AM-35A) production variant)
Installed: 4 x Mikulin AM-35A liquid-cooled V12 engines developing 1,340 horsepower each.
Max Speed
277 mph
(445 kph | 240 kts)
Ceiling
30,512 ft
(9,300 m | 6 mi)
Range
2,299 mi
(3,700 km | 6,852 nm)
Rate-of-Climb
1,155 ft/min
(352 m/min)


♦ MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030


(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the Petlyakov Pe-8 (AM-35A) production variant. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database. View aircraft by powerplant type)
STANDARD:
2 x 20mm ShVAK cannon in dorsal and tail turrets
2 x 12.7mm Berezin UBT heavy machine gun at inboard engine nacelles.
2 x 7.62mm ShKAS machine guns in nose turret

OPTIONAL:
Up to 11,000 lb of conventional drop ordnance.


Supported Types


Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft heavy machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft automatic cannon
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition


(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 0


Pe-8 Base Series Designation
Pe-8ON - Special Mission model; VIP transport
Pe-8LL - Piston-engined testbed
TB-7 - Original Soviet Air Force designation


Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft


Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective aerial campaigns / operations / aviation periods.

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies


2021 Military Pay Scale Army Ranks Navy Ranks Air Force Ranks Alphabet Code DoD Dictionary American War Deaths French Military Victories Vietnam War Casualties

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org, the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft, and SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane.


Facebook Logo YouTube Logo

www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-