World War 2 Aircraft Logo
Home » Russia » Tupolev TB-3

Tupolev TB-3

Aircraft Lists

In 1926, the Tupolev design bureau, under Vladimir Petliakov, was given the task of designing the world's first monoplane bomber with engines mounted on the leading edge of the wing. So challenging was the project that the aircraft did not fly until 1930. What finally emerged was the ANT-6, a tremendously capable long-range bomber. It entered VVS (Soviet air force) service in 1932 as the TB-3. It was truly an aircraft ahead of its time.

Taking to the air for the first time on 22 December 1930, the ANT-6 at first seemed little more than a scaled up Tupolev TB-1. True, it did retain many features of the older design including the landing gear, engines and propellers but it was destined to be of far greater importance.

A massive production programme was instigated and the first ANT-6s (TB-3s) began to roll off the assembly lines in 1930, with deliveries to the VVS beginning soon after. Amazingly few problems were met, although early aircraft were fitted with unreliable Mikulin M17 engines and had poor build quality. Once these problems had been rectified, the TB-3 proved itself to be the most modern and capable bomber in the world and did more than any other aircraft to give the Soviet Union a long-range strike capability.

Besides bombing, TB-3s were also used for paratroop drops and the unorthodox Zveno (link) experiments in which the aircraft acted as mother ship for Polikarpov I-5 and I-16 fighters.

By the late 1930s the aircraft were approaching obsolescence and began to be withdrawn from service, though a handful were still active by the outbreak of WOrld War II in 1939.


Tupolev TB-3

Tupolev TB-3 air force assets Tupolev TB-3 at the North Pole Soviet Tupolev TB-3 bomber come of age
Introduction of the TB-3 significantly improved the capabilities of the VVS (Soviet air force. These bombers were among the first Soviet aircraft employed to drop paratroops. Two ANT-6s (as civilian TB-3s were known) were used as support aircraft on a survey party to find a suitable base for an Arctic expedition. Zveno experiments were conducted for several years. The combination actually saw combat, attacking a bridge in August 1941.

Tupolev TB-3 (Technical Specification)
Role Five-seat long-range bomber and transport aircraft
Manufacturer Tupolev
Maximum Speed 288 kmh (179 mph)
Maximum Range 1,400 km (868 mil)
Ceiling 7,740 meters (25,400 feet)
Maximum Takeoff

12,585 kg (27,687 lbs)
18,877 kg (61,917 lbs)
Wing Area

41.85 meters (137 ft 3 in)
25.10 meters (82 ft 4 in)
5.60 meters (18 ft 4 in)
234.50 square meters (2,523 sq ft)
Engines Four Mikulin M-34 water cooled in-line V-12 piston engines each providing 615-kW (825 hp)
Armament Six DA machine guns in pairs

Photo Gallery

Click here to submit your photo

Have A Passion For Aircraft?
Subscribe to our 14 series FREE newsletter
delivered weekly on World War 2 Aircraft factfile...
NB:- We hate spam as much as you do, so your email address will NEVER be shared with or sold to anyone else. That's a Guarantee.

Best 10 Aircraft   Top 10 Favorites   United States   Germany   Great Britain   Japan   Russia  
Italy   Model Gallery   Resources   Contact Us   Guestbook  
Copyright © All rights reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.