|Engines||4*610kW Mikulin AM-34|
Angular mid-wing monoplane with fixed landing gear. A four-engined development of the TB-1. Frequently used designation TB-3-AM-34RN corresponds to TB-3 with modified Mikulin AM-34RN engines. For some time, the USSR had the largest heavy bomber force in the world and the TB-3 was one of the most impressive heavy bombers. Used as a "mother aircraft" in Zveno experiments.
First pre-production TB-3 was tested during period April 29 to August 23 1931. Number of improvements were introduced, and this aircraft was presented on January 3, 1932 with BMW-VI (M-17??) engines as 'first series production aircraft'. It was fully equipped and armed. Acceptance trials started on January 10, and on February 21 it was adopted as a 'reference aircraft' for mass production. Six months later even more improved TB-3 No2211 became a standard.
First 10 TB-3 were assembled on April 28 1932, and were ordered to participate in May 1 parade. Aircraft arrived to the Central Moscow Airport, but on April 30 all ten developed radiator leaks. The Big Show was in jeopardy. Solution was simple: each aircraft was loaded with water bottles and extra 4 technicians with manual pumps. Seven aircraft demanded only minor pumping, two - medium and one - very intensive. Last three could not make it without the 'repair'.
January to November 1935 A.N.Tupolev carried out extensive study of the smooth surface in comparison with corrugated aluminum skin. Series TB-3 N°22452 was used as a platform. Fabric was stitched to the corrugated skin and then covered with lacquer. 42 flights were performed with gradually increased smooth area, with careful measurements of aircraft performance.
Many were lost during Nazi surprise attack while on the ground, as well as during first weeks of the War due to complete obsolecense and lack of escort fighters. In WWII some were used as transports; they were retired after 1942.
|Modified January 25, 1996||Back to|