Su-2 Bomber Aircraft Technical Specifications :
- Crew – 2 people
- Engine – M-82
- Power – 1400 hp
- Wingspan-14.3 m
- The wing area is 29 sq. m
- Empty aircraft weight-3220 kg
- Maximum take-off weight-4700 kg
- Full load weight-420 kg
- Maximum speed at altitude/near the ground – 486 / 430 km / h
- Practical ceiling – 9300 m
- Maximum range-910 km
- Armament: 6×7. 62 mm SHKAS machine guns
- The maximum bomb load is 600 kg or 10 RS – 82 or 8 RS-132.
Su-2 Bomber Aircraft Details
By the mid-1930s, the Red Army Air Force needed an aircraft capable of performing multi – purpose tasks, including reconnaissance, light short-range bomber and attack aircraft. Several design bureaus of the People’s Commissariat of Aviation Industry of the USSR were involved in solving this problem on a competitive basis. Already in 1936, a competition was announced in the Soviet Union for the development of such a multi-purpose aircraft, which received the conditional name “Ivanov”. In accordance with the terms of the tactical and technical task, the new aircraft had to have a simple design, be reliable and unpretentious in operation. The main aircraft building teams of the country took part in the competition: TsAGI (Chief Designer A. N. Tupolev); TsKB (Chief Designer N. N. Polikarpov); Kharkiv Aviation Institute (Chief Designer I. G. Neman), as well as D. P. Grigorovich, S. A. Kocherigin and S. V. Ilyushin. The winner was a multi-purpose single-engine two-seat aircraft (short-range bombershik, scout and attack aircraft) ANT-51, developed in the Tupolev Design Bureau by the Sukhoi brigade. This aircraft also received the factory designation ” SZ-1 “(Stalin’s task – the first). The aircraft was an all-metal single-engine low-wing aircraft with a retractable landing gear, equipped with an M-62 liquid-cooled engine with a power of 820 hp. In order to eliminate the mass separation along the length of the fuselage, the bomb bay was equipped not behind the pilot’s cabin, but under the floor of his cabin. Pilot-as if “sitting” on bombs suspended in the bomb bay in the fuselage. There could fit four bombs weighing 100 kg. For this reason, the crew of the ANT-51 aircraft, consisting of a pilot and a navigator-gunner, was located in a relatively small common cabin. The control of the plane was double, mixed. The pilot’s cabin was covered by a convex streamlined plexiglass visor and a high sliding lantern that provided a good view in all directions. Behind the oblique rear section of the cockpit light, the arrow turret fairing was attached, consisting of fixed and folding (up and back) parts, ensuring that in case of damage to the aircraft, the pilot and the shooter simultaneously left the cockpit with parachutes. The pilot was protected by a 9-mm armor plate, and the shooter was protected by a 9-mm armor plate from the bottom and sides. Landing gear – single-column, retractable in the center section by turning to the axis of the aircraft. The aircraft’s armament consisted of a mobile 7.62 mm SHKAS machine gun at the rear of the cockpit and a lower “dagger” mount with a limited mobile second SHKAS machine gun designed to protect the lower rear hemisphere.
On August 25, 1937, test pilot M. M. Gromov first flew the first prototype of the ANT-51 short-range bomber. At the state tests in 1938, the ANT-51 aircraft with the M-62 engine (presented in the scout and attack versions) showed a speed of 360 km/h near the ground and 403 km/h at an altitude of 4700 m. Such data were considered insufficient, but since the aircraft was quite satisfactory and superior to other similar close-range reconnaissance bombers, it was decided to test it again, but with a more powerful engine. At repeated state tests conducted in 1939, this aircraft, initially with a more powerful M-87A engine of 950 hp, and then 1000 hp, showed a speed of 375 km/h near the ground and 468 km/h at an altitude of 5600 m. Compared to the previous cars, it has received a number of advantages: the flight speed has increased; the run-up has been reduced; the glide path of planning has increased. Tests showed that its flight data corresponded to the level of modern foreign aircraft of the same type, so in June 1940, the Sukhoi aircraft was adopted by the Red Army Air Force and put into mass production, receiving the name “BB-1 short-range bomber”, which was changed to the new designation “Su-2″in the same autumn.
Already at the end of 1939, serial production began at plant No. 135 in Kharkiv, and soon two more aviation plants were connected to their production in Taganrog and in the Moscow region. Due to the well-developed production technology at the Kharkiv plant, the metal fuselage used on prototype vehicles was replaced with a wooden monocoque with a 0.5 mm thick birch veneer plywood skin, while all other aircraft components remained metal. This mixed design was very rational and technologically advanced, embodying everything that domestic technology could give in the late 1930s, taking into account the scarcity of materials.
The Su-2 aircraft went into production with a two-row star-shaped 14-cylinder air-cooled M-88 engine, soon replaced by its modification-the M-88B with a three-bladed VISH-23-7 propeller. The Su-2 received reinforced armament, consisting of: 6 SHKAS machine guns (650 rounds each) – two machine guns in the wing consoles (fixed) and one each on the turret and in the hatch installation (movable) back and down. They also increased the maximum bomb load from 400 to 600 kg, which could be in several variants: internal suspension on cluster holders in the fuselage bomb bay, under the pilot’s cabin-up to 400 kg of small bombs in different combinations (30 x 8 kg; 30 x 10 kg; 20 x 15 kg; 20 x 20 kg; 12 x 25 kg; 4 x 50 kg; 4 x 100 kg); and also on the external suspension – two bombs of 100 or 250 kg or 10 NURS RS-82 or 8 NURS RS-132.
On Su-2 aircraft designed for reconnaissance and correction of artillery fire, an AFA-13 aviation camera was mounted, which was installed near the starboard side of the navigator’s cabin. In November 1941 (already during the war), the Su-2 was launched with a new M-82 air-cooled engine (ASH-82) with a capacity of 1400 hp, the aircraft’s speed reached 430 km / h near the ground and 486 km / h at an altitude of 5850 m.
By June 22, 1941, the Red Army Air Force was fully equipped with new bombers only one 135th bomber Aviation Regiment and seven more air regiments received several Su-2 aircraft. In the initial period of the Great Patriotic War, the Su-2 was actively used not only as a short-range bomber and attack aircraft, but also as a reconnaissance aircraft. So, in the evening of June 22, 1941, the first combat sortie on the Southern Front was made by eight Su-2 aircraft from the 211st Bomber Aviation Regiment with the aim of attacking the crossings over the Prut River near Lipkany, Dumeni. In the second half of July, the 209th Bomber Aviation Regiment, which had 28 Su-2s, entered the battle on the Western Front. In one of the combat missions, the heroic feat was performed by the squadron commander of this air regiment, Captain H. A. Mamin. When his bomber was shot down over the enemy airfield Borovskaya on July 25, the pilot sent his burning Su-2 plane into the thick of enemy vehicles. Soon, at the front, the Su-2 was increasingly used as an attack aircraft, although it did not have either powerful offensive weapons or sufficient protection for the most important structural elements. In addition, at the beginning of the war, lightweight Su-2s (without bombs and rockets) were sometimes used even as a single-seat fighter (due to heavy losses in the first days of the war). In these battles, Sukhoi aircraft showed great survivability of the structure, often returning to their airfields with serious damage to the wings, with damaged or partially lost tail units and ailerons. Such facts strengthened the confidence of the crews in the merits of this aircraft.
On the Su-2, the only known case of an air ram committed by a female pilot was committed. On September 12 of the same year, pilot E. Zelenko on her Su-2 shot down one German Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter with a ram, and the second Messer shot down her plane, which she tried to land after the ram, while the brave Soviet pilot died. But, all the same, it soon became clear to the leadership of the Soviet Air Force that this type of scout and short-range bomber was fundamentally outdated and not needed by the front, although this aircraft continued to fight very effectively in skilful hands. This was proved by the raid of five Su-2s, led by Senior Lieutenant V. A. Verkholantsev, on the Kursk railway station on May 1, 1942. Despite heavy anti-aircraft fire, our bombers accurately hit the target. Enemy warehouses and hangars broke out – the fire raged there for three days. He also performed his intelligence functions perfectly. So, in the award list for senior Lieutenant I. N. Martynenko noted that he: “acting on the Stalingrad Front from August 1, 1942 to January 5, 1943, performed the most responsible tasks of the command, such as the detection of airfields and reconnaissance of defensive lines.” Pilot Martynenko made 37 reconnaissance sorties during this period. However, combat experience has shown that Su-2 short-range bombers operating at low and medium altitudes are too vulnerable to enemy fighters due to their low flight performance. In addition, the functions of the bomber and scout, everywhere and firmly, began to pass to the twin-engine high-speed aircraft Pe-2 and Tu-2, which had a speed of about 550 km / h, while the Su-2 with the M-88B engine (tested in a lightweight version, without external suspension of bombs and RS), showed a speed of only 410 km/h at the ground and only 512 km/h at an altitude of 7100 m. And as the Su-2 attack aircraft was quickly replaced by Il-2 attack aircraft more adapted for fighting over the battlefield, so the production of Su-2 aircraft was discontinued. Until the end of World War II, the Su-2 was used in the Red Army Air Force as a scout, target towing aircraft, training aircraft and communications aircraft.
Serial production of the Su-2 was carried out from 1939 to April 1942 at the plants of the People’s Commissariat of Aviation Industry of the USSR No. 135 (Kharkiv, evacuated at the beginning of the war to Perm), No. 207 (Dolgoprudny, Moscow region) and No. 31 named after G. Dimitrov (Taganrog) and amounted to 877 copies.
The Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War exhibits a model of the Su-2 bomber aircraft (tail number 27), which was part of the separate assault group of the 8th Air Army of the Stalingrad Front in 1942. The mock-up of the aircraft was built by Tushinsky Machine-Building Plant together with Avion LLP in 1995.