Su-2 (ANT-51) – Soviet short-range bomber

In 1936, a competition was announced in the Soviet Union for the creation of a multi-purpose aircraft that could carry out the work of an attack aircraft, light bomber, air reconnaissance, and artillery fire spotter. In general, we needed a plane that would directly support ground forces on the front line. The new aircraft should be simple, reliable, and unpretentious. And most importantly, cheap and suitable for mass production.


It should be noted that in those years, usually there were no competitions between design bureaus: designers proposed projects, and the management only made adjustments to them. But the creation of the new aircraft was taken care of by Stalin himself, the future machine was designated “Ivanov” —this was the telegraph address of Comrade Stalin himself. There is information that the characteristics of the new aircraft were also personally formulated by Joseph Vissarionovich.

The best designers of the Soviet Union took part in the competition: Tupolev, Ilyushin, Polikarpov, Neman, Grigorovich, and others. Tupolev had a somewhat advantageous position because in 1935 he was already developing a similar machine. The favorites of the competition were Neman, Polikarpov, and Tupolev, other projects remained at the stage of sketches.

The requirements in the new car were as follows: speed – 420-430 km / h, ceiling – 9-10 thousand meters, flight range 2-4 thousand kilometers. The new plane was supposed to lift 500 kilograms of bombs.

In KB Tupolev, a group of designers led by Sukhoi was engaged in the creation of a new machine. The aircraft received the factory designation ANT-51 or “SZ” (Stalin’s mission). The first prototype was ready in 1937. At first, it was planned to install a liquid-cooled engine on the plane, but then it was replaced with an air-cooled M-62 (it was more reliable). In 1938, it was replaced by an even more powerful M-87 engine. At the beginning of 1939, state tests of the car were completed, reviews of the new aircraft were positive.

In 1939, serial production of the aircraft began at the Kharkiv aircraft factory, the machine received the designation BB-1 (near bomber No. 1). Su-2 this aircraft will be called from the end of 1940. Soon, two more plants were connected to the production of Su-2: in Moscow and Taganrog.

Creating a new aircraft was not easy. At first, the developers were chased by numerous engine failures, then Kharkiv Plant No. 135, where it was planned to start mass production, turned out to be unprepared for work. At the beginning of 1940, Sukhoi, together with the team, moved to a pilot plant in Podlipki near Moscow.

Su-2 was built according to the classical scheme. The fuselage is wooden, such as a semi-monocoque, lined with plywood on the outside. The wing, stabilizer, and frame of the rudders were made of duralumin, and the rudder sheathing was plain. The crew of the aircraft consisted of a pilot and navigator-shooter. The cockpit provided excellent visibility in all directions. The cockpit consisted of a visor and a movable lamp. The navigator’s cockpit and the seatback of the pilot had a reservation.

The aircraft had a three-leg landing gear, the front legs retracted towards each other, the rear leg – back to the tail.

A two-row star engine M-88 with fourteen cylinders was installed on the Su-2. It had air cooling and a power of 950 hp. The propeller is three-bladed, with a variable pitch. The engine hood had an outer and inner part and a skirt.

The Su-2 was armed with three ShKAS machine guns with a caliber of 7.62 mm. Two machine guns were located in the consoles, and the third – on the rear turret and was designed to protect the rear upper hemisphere. The bomb load of the aircraft was 200-500 kilograms of bombs, depending on the modification of the machine. Bombs were located both in the bomb bay and on external holders. The bomb bay was equipped under the cockpit.


  • Su-2 with the M-87B engine (950 hp) – the first option, which, in fact, was pre-production. Small arms – 5 7.62 mm ShKAS machine guns (4 in the wing, 1 on the upper turret). The mass of the bomb load is 400 kg (maximum – 600 kg). Crew – 2 people. The number of buildings is not exactly known, but not less than 6.
  • Su-2 with an M-88 or M-88B engine (1100 hp) is the main modification. Rifle and bomb weapons correspond to the version with the M-87B. Since August 1941, enhanced booking was established. Manufactured more than 800 units.
  • Su-2 with the M-82 engine (1400 hp). Basically similar to the version with the M-88B, but the lower hatch rifle mount with 1 ShKAS machine gun was introduced. Built 58 aircraft.


  • engine: M-88B;
  • power, hp: 1100;
  • wingspan, m: 14.30;
  • weight, kg: empty: 2790; take-off: 4375;
  • maximum speed, km / h: 455;
  • practical ceiling, m .: 8900;
  • range, km .: 890.
Graduated from Embry-Riddle Aviation University with a master's degree in aviation science. He began his career as an aviation researcher in local periodicals. Has a pilot license. Now are the author and developer of the Plane Worlds.