SB, A.A.Arhangelsky/ A.N.Tupolev


ANT-40.2 ANT-40-2IS
Series modifications

SB-2M-100A modifiedBomber



Aircraft developed from the SB

T-1 ANT-41
Torpedo Bomber
DI-8/ANT-46Heavy Fighter

SB-RKDive Bomber

Dive Bomber

Dive Bomber

PS-35 ANT-35 ANT-35bis
Some other designations

At the Monino AF Museum near Moscow; Photo (26k) by John Sloan

This was a fast twin-engined monoplane bomber. The design (A.A.Arhangelsky - head of a team, general supervision - A.N.Tupolev) was very advanced, and experience gained during development of ANT-21 and ANT-29 helped to avoid serious complications. Later changes of design were directed on introduction of new technologies, not on fighting serious shortcomings.

Mass production started in 1936, and continued until 1941 on two factories.

Successful in the Spanish civil war because it outpaced most fighters, but obsolete in 1941.

Small image (12k) from the Russian Aviation Trivia by Alexej Gretchihine;

Numerically the most important bomber in the world in late 30's, SB was the first modern stressed-skin aircraft produced in quantity in the Soviet Union and probably the most formidable bomber of mid-1930 era. Many versions saw extensive action in Spain, China, Mongolia, Finland and in the beginning of the War against Germany in the year 1941. It was also used in various duties in civil variants (modified retired aircraft), as trainers and in many secondary roles.

In the year 1933 Administration of Air Force (UVVS) had drawn up an outline requirement for a high-speed bomber. Work began in January 1934, two prototypes were designed as ANT-40(.1 and .2). ANT-40.2 was considered a production prototype, its performance was impressive. The series aircraft designation was SB-2, the first series SB rolled of production line before the end of 1935 and before ANT-40.2 had completed its flight test programme.

The SB-2 was all-metal monoplane, initially powered by two M-100 12 cylinder water-cooled engines (license production version of HS-12-Yrds engine) which drove fixed-pitch two bladed metal propellers. The engines were provided with honeycomb type frontal radiators enclosed by vertical thermostat controlled cooling shutters. At an early production stage, the M-100 engine gave place to improved M-100A engine, this driving ground-adjustable three-pitch propellers, speed being boosted to 423km/h at 4000 meters.

Despite the fact that the assembly lines were planed with a constant string of modifications, some 400 SB's were to be delivered by the end of 1936 - a number of these being diverted to Spain - and 24 VVS squadrons were in process of working up with the new bomber. Well documented outstanding performance in Spanish civil war acquired popular name "Katyushka". In the year 1937 were successfully concluded negotiations between the Soviet and Czechoslovak governments for manufacture of the SB under licence in Czechoslovakia.

The version of the SB to be supplied to and subsequently licence built in Czechoslovakia was fundamentally the SB-2M-100A and, as a B-71, this was to be fitted with the Avia-built Hispano-Suiza 12-Ydrs engine. A single 7.92mm vz. 30 machine gun supplanted the twin ShKAS weapons in the extreme nose and similar weapon was provided for the dorsal and ventral stations.

60 aircrafts were to be flown to Czechoslovakia by the summer of 1938. The planned licence production programme was to take a decidedly leisurely course, despite the increasingly dangerous political situation. Than, by 15 March 1939, when the Wermacht was to occupy Bohemia and Moravia, not one Czech built aircraft was to have been delivered.

(From MPM (Modely Plastikvym Modelarum) manual to SB-2M-100 model kit)

  • "History of aircraft construction in the USSR", Vol.2 p.11-20

  • More Links...
  • SB-2
  • SB, Tupolev
  • SB model page by Dariusz Tyminski
  • Little Kate: Tupolev's Revolutionary SB at Chandelle

  • Modified February 18, 1997
    by Alexandre Savine
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