Tupolev Tu-1 “63P”. Heavy fighter-interceptor

After the first stage of the State Tests, the “103” bomber, having the speed of a modern fighter, was recommended for construction as a multi-purpose aircraft capable of fulfilling the tasks of both a bomber and a fighter, for which it was necessary to strengthen its cannon armament and armor protection. However, in the conditions of the outbreak of war with Germany, the absence of a significant number of long-range bombers in the Air Force on our front and the acute need of the front for a large number of cheap tactical combat aircraft pushed the problem of designing a multi-role heavy fighter based on Tu-2 to a later date.

In May 1944, OKB A.N. Tupolev Decision GKO No. 5947 of 05.22.44 entrusted the construction of a high-speed day bomber “SDB” with two engines of the AM-39 types (aircraft “63”). On the basis of the bomber version, it was also envisaged the creation of a night fighter-interceptor.

In the fighter version, its front rifle and cannon armament, consisting of two ShVAK-20 wing cannons, was enhanced by the installation of the following additional SPV options in the front of the bomb bay: two HP-45 cannons with 50 rounds of ammunition per barrel; two NS-37 cannons with ammunition of 50 shells per barrel; two VYA-23 cannons with ammunition of 50 shells per barrel. The mass of the front weapon volley was 752 kg/min for the variant with NS-45 and 392 kg/min with the VYA-23. The protection of the rear hemisphere was to be carried out with two machine-gun mounts for machine guns UBT, 12.7 mm caliber. The upper unit had ammunition of 250 rounds, the lower – 350 rounds.

The crew of the aircraft was protected from the fire of machine guns of 12.7 mm caliber. and shells of 20 mm guns. The pilot was covered with an armored back and two 15 mm thick armrests. From above, the armored back turned into a transparent armor plate 65 mm thick. The upper shooter was protected by a 12 mm thick plate, the lower shooter – by a rear armor shield 12 mm thick and a lower skin armor 6 mm thick. When using the aircraft as a fighter, additional front armoring for the pilot was provided, consisting of a front armored plate 10 mm thick, a lower armored glass 65 mm thick, a front armored glass on a flashlight 65 mm thick.

Flight and navigation equipment of the aircraft was supposed to provide piloting day and night under any meteorological conditions. To unload the pilot from continuous monitoring of the temperature of water and oil in the engine cooling systems, electrical automatic devices were introduced that regulated the necessary temperature in these systems.

The most important component of the new interceptor fighter was to become a radar station. By 1944, the domestic radio engineering industry had achieved certain results in the creation of airborne aircraft radars. Gneiss-2 station was launched into serial production. In total, up to December 1944, 231 copies of the Gneiss-2 and Gneiss-2M radar were launched – for the naval aviation, the radar could be used to determine sea and air targets.

The next step was the development of the Gneiss-5 airborne station. The station was intended to be installed on two-seat fighter jets and had to provide for the detection of enemy aircraft and the guidance of their aircraft in them in the absence of visibility. In addition to pointing the enemy aircraft at the station, the station was supposed to provide the drive of its fighter to a special drive beacon from a distance of 90 km.

According to the recall of GK NII VVS Gneiss-5 in its tactical and technical parameters, it was not inferior to the British airborne radar station of a similar purpose, surpassing it in range. In the second half of 1945, a new station under the designation Gneiss-5s was put into serial production and put into service. Especially for the Navy aviation, the Gneiss-5M variant was developed and launched into the series, which was adopted by the Navy in April 1945.

On May 15, 1946, a preliminary design of the Tu-1 aircraft was ready. The ability to install powerful cannon weapons, special radar equipment and, finally, the ability to bring the flight range when installing outboard fuel tanks to 3,000 km in combination with high flight speeds made it possible to use the Tu-1 as an escort fighter armed with five NS-23 guns; interceptor fighter armed with two NS-23 cannons and two NS-45 cannons and equipped with Gneiss-5s radar equipment.

It should be noted that the Tu-1 aircraft completely retained all the bomber weapons and therefore could be used as a high-speed bomber, especially for top-mast bombing when used on marine theater.

By the time of the Tu-1 tests (1947), the OKB gradually began to conclude that it was no longer possible to create a modern power system for intercepting high-speed air targets, relying on an aging piston Tu-2. If at the end of the war the speed of the Tu-2 in the fighter version exceeded the speed of the main serial bombers, then with the advent of the first jet bombers in the second half of the 40s, whose speeds were close to 900-1000 km / h, the possibility of intercepting such targets with Tu-class planes -2 sharply decreased. It was necessary to transfer heavy fighter-interceptors to jet thrust and, as a result, increase their speeds by at least a half to two times.

Therefore, further work on Tu-1 interceptors at the OKB was discontinued. At the same time, the OKB began to develop a promising concept of the required aircraft of a similar class, which is part of a single long-range interception system.


  • Crew 3
  • Aircraft Length, m 13.60
  • Wingspan, m 18.86
  • Wing Area, m² 48.80
  • Aircraft height, m 4,55
  • Mass, kg: Empty aircraft 9460; Normal take-off 12755; Maximum take-off 14460
  • Motor 2 × PD AM-43V
  • Horsepower 2 × 1950
  • Maximum speed, km / h 641
  • Cruising speed, km / h 576
  • Maximum rate of climb, m / min 435
  • Practical range, km 2250
  • Practical ceiling, m 1100
  • Armament: 2 × NS-23 in the wing, 2 × NS-45 in the nose, 2 × 12.7 UBT machine guns
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.