Combat aviation of the USSR: the light bomber Su-2 (BB-1). Developed in 1937. Single all-metal monoplane with closed cockpit and retractable landing gear. 893 copies made. A crew – 2 persons. Armament: machine gun (7.62 mm ShKAS). The bomb capacity is 400 kg. The practical ceiling is 8800 m. The flight range is 1190 km. Power – 1100 hp.

Museum of the Great Patriotic War, Moscow

The Sukhoi Su-2 was a Soviet reconnaissance and light bomber aircraft used in the early stages of World War II. It was the first airplane designed by Pavel Sukhoi. The basic design received an engine and armament upgrade (Su-4) and was modified for the ground-attack role (ShB).

In 1936, Joseph Stalin released a requirement for a multipurpose combat aircraft. Codenamed Ivanov, the airplane had to be capable of performing reconnaissance and then attacking the targets it located. P. O. Sukhoi was working in the Tupolev OKB at the time and designed the “Ivanov” aircraft under the tutelage of Andrei Tupolev.

The resulting ANT-51 flew on 25 August 1937 with M. M. Gromov at the controls. Powered by a 610 kW (820 hp) Shvetsov M-62 air-cooled radial engine, the ANT-51 reached 403 km/h (220 kn, 250 mph) at 4,700 m (15,420 ft).

This was considered insufficient but since the basic design was sound, it was decided to re-test it with a more powerful engine. Equipped with a 746 kW (1,000 hp) Tumansky M-87 engine, the ANT-51 reached 468 km/h (255 kn, 290 mph) at 5,600 m (18,370 ft) and was accepted into production as BB-1 (Blizhniy Bombardirovschik; Russian: Ближний Бомбардировщик — “short-range bomber”).

In 1940, the aircraft was renamed Su-2 and the unreliable M-87 engine was replaced with a Tumansky M-88. This lightened version with an M-88B engine reached 512 km/h (275 kn, 320 mph) in testing.

The Su-2 was of mixed construction. The fuselage was semi-monocoque with wood spars and a plywood skin. The wings were of duralumin and steel construction with fabric-covered rod-actuated control surfaces. The pilot and gunner were protected with 9 mm (0.35 in) of armor. The taildragger landing gear was retractable, including the tailwheel.

Read more: Aircrafts with Clark Perez ...