Petlyakov Pe-2

From Academic Kids

Petlyakov Pe-2
RoleTactical/dive bomber
Crewthree - pilot, gunner, bombardier
First FlightDecember 22, 1939 (VI-100)
Entered ServiceSpring 1941
Length12.66 m41 ft 6 in
Wingspan17.16 m56 ft 3 in
Height3.5 m11 ft 6 in
Wing area40.5 m²436 ft²
Empty5,875 kg12,952 lb
Loaded7,563 kg16,639 lb
Maximum takeoff8,495 kg18,728 lb
Engines2x Klimov M-105PF
Power1,880 kW2,520 hp
Maximum speed580 km/h360 mph
Range1,160 km721 miles
Service ceiling8,800 m28,870 ft
Rate of climb430 m/min1,410 ft/min
Wing loading186 kg/m²38 lb/ft²
Power/mass250 W/kg0.15 hp/lb
Guns2 x 7.62 mm ShKAS machine guns in nose
2x rearward firing 7.62 mm ShKAS
Bombs1,600 kg (3,520 lb)

The Petlyakov Pe-2 (Cyrillic: Петляков Пе-2), nicknamed Peshka (Пешка - "Pawn") was a Soviet medium bomber aircraft used during World War II. It was fast and maneuverable yet durable, and was manufactured in large numbers. Several Communist nations flew the type after the war, when it became known by the NATO reporting name Buck'.

The Pe-2 was designed in a sharashka after Vladimir Petlyakov had been arrested and imprisoned in 1937 for allegedly deliberately delaying design work on the Tupolev ANT-42 bomber. In the sharashka, Petlyakov was put in charge of a team to develop a high-altitude fighter escort for the ANT-42 under the designation VI-100. The first of two prototypes flew on December 22 1939 and was a very sophisticated aircraft for its time, featuring a pressurised cabin, all-metal construction, superchargers and many electrically-actuated systems. The prototypes proved so pleasing that production was ordered almost immediately. It is said that Petlyakov and his team could see the VI-100 prototype from their prison as it was put through its paces for the crowds watching the annual May Day parade in 1940.

Just as production was ready to begin, the air force ordered a re-design of the aircraft. The value of tactical bombing had just been displayed by the Luftwaffe in the Blitzkrieg, and the need for such an aircraft suddenly became much more important than the need for a high-altitude escort fighter. Petlyakov's team was given 45 days to redesign their aircraft as a dive bomber. The cabin pressurisation and superchargers were deleted, and dive brakes and a position for a bombardier were added, among a number of aerodynamic refinements. A fuselage bomb-bay was added, along with smaller bays in each engine nacelle. Initially designated PB-100, Stalin was impressed enough with Petlyakov to free him, and his name was permitted to be used in the aircraft's designation. The first aircraft flew on December 15 1940, rushed through production without a prototype under severe threats from Stalin if a Pe-2 did not fly by the end of the year. Deliveries to combat units began the following Spring.

The aircraft did not really show its true potential until the end of the year, after the Soviet Air Force had a chance to regroup after the German onslaught during the Winter. The Pe-2 quickly proved itself to be a highly capable aircraft, capable of eluding the Luftwaffe's interceptors and allowing their crews to develop great accuracy with their bombing. Throughout 1942 the design was steadily refined and improved, in direct consultation with pilots who were actually flying them in combat. The product of this evolutionary development was the Pe-2FT variant.

A large number of minor variants were also developed, including a dedicated trainer version (Pe-2UTI), a heavily-armed version (Pe-2M) and a rocket-boosted version (Pe-2K). A fighter version (Pe-2I) and radial-engined version (Pe-2K) were put into limited production as the Pe-3 and Pe-4 respectively.

Air forces that continued to fly the Pe-2 after the war included those of Czechoslovakia, China, Poland, and Yugoslavia. In total, around 11,000 were built.

Related content
Related development

Pe-3 - Pe-4

Similar aircraft

de Havilland Mosquito - Junkers Ju 88 - Dornier Do 17

Designation series

Pe-2 - Pe-3 - Pe-4 - Pe-8

Related lists

List of military aircraft of the Soviet Union and the CIS - List of bomber aircraft

Lists of Aircraft | Aircraft manufacturers | Aircraft engines | Aircraft engine manufacturers

Airports | Airlines | Air forces | Aircraft weapons | Missiles | Timeline of aviation

de:Petljakow Pe-2

fr:Petliakov Pe-2 ru:Пе-2


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