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Polikarpov 2/U-2

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Designed originally as a trainer to replace the U-1 Soviet built version of the Avro 504, the U-2 and its derivatives were produced from 1938 until 1944. Production was resumed after World War II, when thousands more were built in Poland. Designated 'Mule' by NATO in 1954, Russian troops nicknamed the aircraft 'Kukuruzhnik' ('corn-cutter'). In 1944 the U-2's designation was changed to Po-2 in recognition of Polikarpov's role in its creation.

A great number of variants of the Po-2/U-2 have been identified. Military versions were used for training, observation and light attack as close-support aircraft with rockets and bombs and as black painted night-bombers carrying two 100 kgs (220 lbs) bombs. Two aircraft were even equipped with transmitters and loudspeakers for psychological warfare.

Several ambulance versions were produced. The first carried a single stretcher and attendant but later medevac models had an enclosed rear cockpit for two stretchers. Another variant carried a cylindrical container for a stretcher on each lower wing.

One of the first non-military uses was crop-dusting and large numbers were built for this task both before and after the war. A tank for chemicals replaced the rear cockpit. There were other versions with three seats, some of which had enclosed cabins and one 1944 model had five seats for military liaison.

There was also a series of floatplane versions, including one fitted with a 537-kW (720 hp) Wright Cyclone engine which set new altitude records for seaplanes in 1937 as well as many one-off and experimental conversions.


Polikarpov 2/U-2

Preserved Polikarpov 2/U-2 Polikarpov 2/U-2 in Soviet service
Wearing the markings of the former Yugoslavia, this Po-2 has been displayed at air shows in France. Serving in a multitude of roles, the Po-2/U-2 was highly respected by Soviet forces.

Polikarpov 2/U-2 (Technical Specification)
Role Trainer and multi-purpose biplane
Manufacturer Polikarpov
Maximum Speed 156 kmh (97 mph)
Maximum Range 400 km (250 mil)
Ceiling 4,000 meters (13,000 feet)
Maximum Takeoff
635 kg (1,397 lbs)
890 kg (1,958 lbs)
Wing Area

11.40 meters (37 ft 5 in)
8.17 meters (26 ft 9 in)
3.10 meters (10 ft 2 in)
33.15 square meters (357 sq ft)
Engines One M-11 five-cylinder air-cooled radial engine which provides 75-kW (100 hp)
Armament One 7.7 mm (0.303 cal) ShKAS machine-guns on a ring mounting over the rear cockpit and racks for up to 120 kgs (260 lbs) of bombs
Four RS-82 rockets

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