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SB-2 file photo [4140]


ManufacturerTupolev Design Bureau
Primary RoleMedium Bomber
Maiden Flight1 October 1934


ww2dbaseThe SB-2 (Skorostnoy Bombardirovschik, or High Speed Bomber, 2-Engine) light bombers came out of a 1933 specification by the Russian air force administration for a fast bomber. Alexander Arkhangelsky of Tupolev headed up the design effort, and the prototype took flight in 1934. After several prototypes, the all-metal aircraft entered production in 1935 and entered service in Feb 1936. Starting in Oct 1936, the exporting of SB-2 bombers began, starting with Spain. The first examples of what eventually amounted to 210 SB-2 bombers fought on the side of the Republican air force went to Spain, causing considerable frustration for the Nationalist fighters because the SB-2 bombers could out-run many of their He-51 and Cr.32 biplane interceptors. SB-2 bombers were also sold to the air forces of the Nationalist Chinese, Czechoslovakia (both actual units and the license to build more), and others. During the Winter War between Russia and Finland in 1939-1940, SB-2 bombers began to show obsolescence as fighter technology rapidly advanced. Efforts were made to improve the design with more powerful engines, variable-pitch propellers, and additional fuel capacity, but none of the upgrades made a significant difference. Production finally came to a stop in 1941; between 1936 and 1941, 6,656 aircraft were built, making the design the most built bomber in the world in the late 1930s. When the war with Germany began in Jun 1941, they still made up 94% of bombers in the Russian air force. They were used extensively as a day bomber at the start of the campaign, but German Bf 109 fighters were clearly too great a threat for these aging bombers. Very soon, they were relegated to second line duties.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Jul 2007


MachineryTwo Klimov M-103 engines (license-built Hispano-Suiza 12Ybr engines) rated at 960hp each
Armament6x7.62mm ShKAS machine guns, 600kg of bombs
Span20.33 m
Length12.57 m
Height3.48 m
Wing Area56.00 m²
Weight, Empty4,768 kg
Weight, Loaded7,880 kg
Speed, Maximum450 km/h
Speed, Cruising360 km/h
Service Ceiling7,800 m
Range, Normal1,600 km
Range, Maximum2,300 km


Chinese SB-2 bomber, Kunming, China, date unknownSoviet SB-2 bombers over Helsinki, Finland, 30 Nov 1939
See all 6 photographs of SB-2 Medium Bomber

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Notable Figure:
» Tupolev, Andrei

SB-2 Medium Bomber Photo Gallery
Chinese SB-2 bomber, Kunming, China, date unknownSoviet SB-2 bombers over Helsinki, Finland, 30 Nov 1939
See all 6 photographs of SB-2 Medium Bomber

Famous WW2 Quote
"Since peace is now beyond hope, we can but fight to the end."

Chiang Kaishek, 31 Jul 1937