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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.


The Pe-3 was produced specificaly for night fighting and reconnaissance. Powered by two 1310 hp M-105PF engines, the Pe-3 featured a solid nose and a shorter cockpit enclosure with a dorsal turret to the rear, and was in service by 1943.
A total of 11,427 Pe-2s and Pe-3s (the fighter version) was produced.




The Pe-2RD was a version of the Petlyakov Pe-2 bomber with an additional Glushko RD-1 rocket engine (3 kN thrust) mounted instead of a fuselage tail cone. This conversion was a task of a special design bureau led by V. Glushko, based in Kazan, and working on rocket powerplants; Korolev’s post there was deputy chief designer of flight tests. Korolev made full aerodynamic calculations for Pe-2 equipped with RD-1; they indicated that maximum speed at sea level will increase by 82 km/h (and reach 542 km/h), while at 7000 m altitude it will increase by 108 km/h (although all this only for short time). The reworking of one production Pe-2 (No.15/185) into Pe-2RD began in 1943 spring. The nitric acid tanks were mounted in the bomb bay, kerosene tanks in the wing roots; full weight of rocket fuel system was 1050 kg. After many ground fire tests, on October 1, 1943 test pilot Alexander Vasilchenko first time fired rocket engine in the air for 2 minutes. During this time, flight speed increased by 92 km/h. On October 2 the rocket engine was fired already for 4 minutes, and next day the first takeoff with RD-1 working was performed. Later RD-1 was replaced by improved RD-1KhZ, with chemical ignition instead of electric. The tests were held until middle 1945; more than 100 fire flights were done. On May 12, 1945 the rocket engine exploded – aircraft’s empennage was seriously damaged, Korolev himself scorched; but Vasilchenko managed to land successfully.

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

Engines: 2 x Klimov VK-105R, 1100 hp
Wingspan: 56 t 4 in
Length: 41 ft 4 in
Empty weight: 12,900 lb
Loaded weight: 18,730 lb
Crew: 2
Max speed: 335 mph at 16,400 ft
Service ceiling: 29,520 ft
Normal range: 1200 mi
Armament: 1 x 12.7mm Beresin mg / 4 x 7.62 mm ShKA5 mg
Bombload: 2200 lb


Wing span: 17.60 m
Length: 12.60 m
Wing area: 40.50 sq.m
Empty weight: 6044 kg
Normal takeoff weight: 8200 kg
MTOW: 9215 kg (with two 500-kg bombs external
Maximum speed: 650 km/h
Maximum speed at sea level: 542 km/h
Range: 1200 km
Service ceiling: 9000 m
Takeoff run: 446 m (with RD-1 fired): 70 m shorter than ordinary Pe-2



Petlyakov Pe-2



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