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Petlyakov PB-100 / PE-2 / Pe-3


Arriving in small numbers in the ranks of the V-VS to witness the mass devastation of the summer of 1941, the Petlyakov Pe-2 was destined to become the best Soviet light bomber of World War II. The aircraft was derived from V.M. Petlyakov's VI-100 pressurized high-altitude twin-engined interceptor, which displayed a phenomenal top speed of 623km/h at 10,000m, had a crew of two and was powered by 820kW M-105R V-12 engines. The VI-100 first flew on 7 May 1939. With the approach of war in Europe the V-VS made urgent requests for dive-bomber aircraft, and to this end the design bureau adapted the VI-100 fighter by removing the TK-3 high-altitude turbo-chargers, fitting standard M-105R engines, lattice type dive-brakes, and giving the tailplane pronounced dihedral to increase stability. Two prototype PB-100 (pikiruyushchn bombardirovshchik, or dive-bomber) aircraft were built with these items installed in addition to an extensively glazed nose and defensive armament. This type became the Petlyakov Pe-2 light bomber and dive-bomber. The crew of three (pilot, bombardier and air-gunner) sat under a long glazed canopy with 9mm armour protection. Initial armament consisted of two fixed 7.62mm ShKAS guns in the nose, one in the dorsal station, and a fourth in the ventral aimed by a 120° vision periscope. The M-105R engines drove three-bladed VISh-61 propellers. The aircraft proved to be fast, highly manoeuvrable, but was guite demanding to novice pilots under asymmetric conditions. By the time of the German invasion in June 1941 some 458 Pe-2s had been produced from the factories, but it is suspected that deliveries to service units was tardy. Certainly, even by September 1941 the numbers of Pe-2s in front-line units were few. Colonel General I.S. Konev's Western Front had only five in commission with which to stem the German assault on Moscow, and the establishment of Pe-2s with the Bryansk and Kalinin Fronts was even lower. Although limited in numbers, Pe-2s contributed to the victories of the Soviet winter offensive of 1941-2, and were seen in increasing numbers during the defensive battles at Leningrad, Kharkov, Rostov, and in the Stalingrad campaign. Late in 1942 came the improved Pe-2FT with 940kW Klimov M-105PF engines, and a 12.7mm UBT machine-gun in a dorsal turret. The Pe-2I and Pe-2M were fighter-bombers, powered by 1208kW VK- 107A engines. The reconnaissance version was the Pe-2R, whilst a dual-control trainer was termed the Pe-2UT. The aircraft saw distinguished service in every major Soviet campaign from 1941 to 1945, including operations in Manchuria against the Japanese in September 1945. A total of 11,427 Pe-2s and Pe-3s (the fighter version) was produced.

Engines: 2 x VK-105PF, 920kW
Max take-off weight: 8520 kg / 18783 lb
Empty weight: 5870 kg / 12941 lb
Wingspan: 17.2 m / 56 ft 5 in
Length: 12.7 m / 42 ft 8 in
Height: 4.0 m / 13 ft 1 in
Wing area: 45.5 sq.m / 489.76 sq ft
Max. speed: 581 km/h / 361 mph
Cruise speed: 480 km/h / 298 mph
Ceiling: 8800 m / 28850 ft
Range w/max.fuel: 1200 km / 746 miles
Armament: 3 x 12.7mm machine-guns, 2-4 7.62mm machine-guns
Bomb load: 600-1000kg
Crew: 2


Petlyakov Pe-2



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