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Sukhoi Su-2

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A long with Germany, Great Britain and the USA, in the mid-1930s the Soviet Union saw the need to develop a multi-purpose tactical bomber. The resulting Su-2 never achieved the air superiority enjoyed by the Germans and suffered terrible losses at the hands of Messerschmitt Bf 109 and Focke-Wulf 190 fighters. These losses resulted in the Su-2's premature relegation to second-line tasks in 1942.

Pavel Osipovich Sukhoi was undoubtedly one of the greatest Soviet aircraft designers of all time. However, his first design to see combat the Su-2, suffered greatly at the hands of German fighters in 1941 and 1942.

Developed from the ANT-51, the first production Su-2 (then designated BB-1) flew in April 1940 and by September 1941, five aircraft were being produced every day. With its two-man crew, cockpit armour and robust, mainly wooden construction, the aircraft was initially successful, carrying out short-range bombing, reconnaissance and artillery-spotting missions in the first weeks of the German invasion. However, once the Su-2 encountered the Bf 109 fighters, losses rapidly began to mount.

Desperate fighting in 1942, when some Su-2s were converted into makeshift fighters, resulted in severe attrition rates. By the end of the year, the surviving Su-2s had been withdrawn and assigned to second-line duties.

Throughout the Su-2's service life, a number of different variants were produced, including a version carrying eight unguided rockets and the more powerful Su-4 with an M-82 engine.


Sukhoi Su-2

First Sukhoi Su-2 to see combat Heavy losses of the Sukhoi Su-2 Sukhoi Su-2 was caught on the ground
Built only in prototype form, the aerodynamically improved ShB strike bomber was based on the Su-2. Its modifications enhanced performance. Even when fitted with the more powerful M-88 engine, the Su's performance was inadequate. Losses to German fighters were prohibitively high. Many of the 500 Su-2s that were hastily constructed to provide the Soviet air force with a close-support bomber were lost in the first few months of Operation Barbarossa.

Sukhoi Su-2 (Technical Specification)
Role Two-seat armed close-support bomber and reconnaissance aircraft
Manufacturer Sukhoi
Maximum Speed 455 kmh (282 mph)
Maximum Range 850 km (525 mil)
Ceiling 8,900 meters (29,200 feet)
Maximum Takeoff

2,875 kg (6,325 lbs)
4,150 kg (9,130 lbs)
Wing Area

14.30 meters (46 ft 11 in)
10.25 meters (33 ft 8 in)
3.94 meters (12 ft 11 in)
29.00 square meters (312 sq ft)
Engines One Tumanskii M-88B radial piston engine which provides 820.3-kW (1,100 hp)
Armament Four 7.62 mm (0.30 cal) ShKAS machine-guns in wings
One 7.62 mm (0.30 cal) ShKAS machine-guns in turret
600 kgs (1,320 lbs) of bombs

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