Tupolev Tu-2

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Tu-2 at the China Aviation Museum.jpg
A North Korean Tu-2 bomber at the China Aviation Museum, Beijing
Role Medium bomber
Manufacturer Tupolev
Designer Andrei Tupolev
First flight 29 January 1941
Introduction 1942
Primary users VVS, Soviet Naval Aviation
People's Liberation Army Air Force
Polish Air Forces
Produced 1941—1948
Number built 2,257
Variants Tupolev Tu-1
Tupolev Tu-8

The Tupolev Tu-2 (development names ANT-58 and 103; NATO reporting name Bat) was a twin-engine Soviet high-speed daylight and front-line (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 bomb load, 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.[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.[2] 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.[2] 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.[1]

Operational history

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 their aircraft like fighters, they could survive heavy damage and were fast.[3] 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 British and American 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.

After World War II, the Tu-2 proved to be an ideal test aircraft for various powerplants, including the first generation of Soviet jet engines.[1]


Tupolev Tu-2.svg
"Aircraft 103" (ANT-58)
The initial 3-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 4-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.[4] 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 test beds.
Tu-2M (ANT-61M)
Powered by two 1,417 kW (1,900 hp) ASh-83 radial piston engines.
Engine test-bed, 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.
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.[5]
Experimental ground-attack versions. Two variants were tested in 1944: one with a 75mm (2.95 inches) centerline gun and another with a battery of 88 7.62mm (0.30 inches) PPSh-41 sub-machine 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.[6]
Torpedo-bomber variant, was tested between February and March 1945, and issued to Soviet Naval Aviation units.[4]
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.[1]
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


Operators of the Tu-2
World War II operators
 Soviet Union
Post-War operators
  • People's Liberation Army Air Force Imported 33 UTB-2 and 29 T-2U trainers in the end of 1949. The last 4 UTB-2's retired in 1965. Imported 311 Tu-2 from the end of 1949 to 1952. The last 30 Tu-2's retired in 1982.
 North Korea
 Soviet Union

Aircraft on display

Specifications (Tu-2)

Data from[citation needed]

General characteristics



See also

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Jackson 2003, p. 154.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bishop 2002, p. 317
  3. Ethell 1995, p. 161.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Jackson 2003, p. 155.
  5. Н.В. Якубович (2010). Ту-2. Лучший бомбардировщик Великой Отечественной (in Russian). Коллеекция / Яуза / Эксмо. p. 39.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Gunston, Bill (1995). Tupolev Aircraft since 1922. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. p. 119. ISBN 1-55750-882-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. (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.
  8. http://ww2warbirds.net/ww2htmls/tupotu2.html
  • 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.

External links

The initial version of this article was based on material from aviation.ru. It has been released under the GFDL by the copyright holder.