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ANT-7 / R-6 "air cruiser"

The birth of the class of combat aircraft "air cruiser" refers to the end of the first World War, when with the advent of heavy bombers it was necessary to ensure their protection and protection against attacks by enemy fighters on the entire flight route of the bombers. To do this, it was necessary to create intermediate class aircraft, called air cruisers, which had speeds close to those of single-seat fighters, a large radius of action and powerful cannon weapons. In addition to the function of the defense of the bombers, such planes were assigned the tasks of reconnaissance, fighting with the enemy bombers, and bombing.

In the second half of the 20s, aircraft designers from a number of countries tried to create an aircraft that could be used as a land and sea reconnaissance aircraft, a medium bomber and a long-range fighter capable of conducting air combat with the enemy during a raid on its rear. A design team headed by A. N. Tupolev also worked on such a machine. In September 1929, a prototype of one of the world's first multi-purpose aircraft was built and named P-6 . But to the design and appearance, this all-metal monoplane with two M-17 engines resembled a TB-1 bomber, but differed from it in smaller sizes.

In the USSR, the creation of heavy TB-1 heavy bombers in the mid-1920s was a direct impetus to the creation of "air cruisers". In October 1926, in the design bureau on the initiative, at the suggestion of A.N. Tupolev, the design of an all-metal twin-engined ANT-7 aircraft began, which in its designation corresponded to the class air cruiser. The new aircraft was designed for two 500-600 hp engines. and was actually a reduced version of ANT-4 (TB-1).

The air force, having familiarized themselves with the completed works, recognized them as promising and soon gave TsAGI preliminary TTTs to the aircraft. By August 1927, the design was developed, and the aircraft was put into pilot production. The order for the series is received by Plant No. 22. The issue with the engines that were of the same type with the TB-1 (BMW UI - M-17) is finally resolved. By August 26, 1929 the first ANT-7 (designation on the Air Force R-6) was completed construction. In early September, the ANT-7 was transported to the airfield, and in the same month, factory tests began, which were conducted by test pilot MM Gromov. Tests and refinements continued until March 1930. On March 11, the aircraft was transferred to state tests, which continued until mid-October 1930, the results of which the aircraft was recommended for use in the series and as a "long-range reconnaissance aircraft" and "escort aircraft" (R- 6 and KR-6).

The benchmark for the series at plant number 22 was a modified prototype. On October 5, 1931, the first production R-6 aircraft with two M-17 engines was transferred to the Scientific-Research Institute of the Air Force for state tests. After eliminating all the flaws identified during the tests of the head machine, full-scale production of the aircraft began. Beginning in 1932, a series of P-6 float options for the MP-6 aircraft was mastered at plant number 31 in Taganrog, and the P-6 was built at the new plant number 126 in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. In total, until the cessation of production in 1936, 407 ANT-7 type aircraft of all modifications were produced (R-6 2M-17, MR-6 2M-17, KR-6 2M-17, KR-6A 2M-17).

On the basis of the main serial modifications of the aircraft, there were several variants of the ANT-7, both implemented and remaining only in the projects:

  • PS-7 2M-17 and MP-6 2M-17, land and float variants were transferred, starting in 1936, from the Air Force to the Civil Air Fleet, and were used for cargo and passenger traffic;
  • R-6 gun; at the end of 1930, the option of installing a 37 mm gun on an airplane was considered;
  • R-6 2M-34, in 1931, in the design bureau, calculations were made of an aircraft modification for two M-34 engines, the project was not implemented;
  • R-6 with additional fuel tanks, in 1932, work was carried out on the installation of additional fuel tanks in the wing of the aircraft, it was not introduced into the series;
  • R-6 with radiators in the wing; in 1935, factory tests of the serial R-6 with wing radiators were carried out; they were not introduced into the series;
  • MP-6T, an experimental torpedo bomber, was tested in 1934, it was tested the method of torpedoing;
  • ANT-7 passenger - the first prototype converted into a seven-seater passenger plane with an increased level of comfort;
  • R-6 paravan, serial R-6 retrofitted with a system of breaking through aerostatic barriers, was tested in 1937 -1939.

After some refinements and changes in the design of the tail, the aircraft was lightened by 80 kg. The empty weight was 3,700 kg, the take-off remained the same - 5,400. During the tests, the maximum speed was reached - 240 km / h. For that time it was quite satisfactory data, and the aircraft was taken for mass production. In addition to the wheeled, they also built float version of the aircraft, called the KR-6a. And although its weight was 700 kg more, the flight and technical data changed little. Depending on the nature of combat use, the crew consisted of 3 or 4 people. Armament - 3 pairs of machine guns and 500 kg of bombs on the external sling.

The R-6 aircraft and its modifications were in the first line of the Red Army Air Force until the second half of the 30s. During the Great Patriotic War, the P-6 was widely used for reconnaissance, communication between headquarters, supply of partisan bases and units of the regular army operating in the rear of the enemy, ammunition, spare parts, fuel. The car towed the gliders, landed on the partisan "airfields", taking out the wounded and the glider pilots (gliders were destroyed).

Aircraft of the ANT-7 type were actively used in almost all expeditions conducted in the 30s in the northern and arctic regions:

  • participation of the ANT-7 (N-166) aircraft in the expedition to build the first drifting station SP-1;
  • rescue of people from ships drifting in the Laptev Sea in early 1938;
  • in 1939, the PS-7 plane carried out an ultra-long flight Moscow - Nagayeva Bay, in just 9 days, 9222 km were traveled.

Dual control allowed the use of the ANT-7 as a training machine when moving to higher-speed SB aircraft . Aircraft placed on the floats (designation R-6P, MR-6) used in naval aviation. Since 1936, the ANT-7 was removed from service, transferred (under the designations PS-7 and MP-6) to the civil air fleet and Glavsevmorput. Due to the large radius of action, they were used for cartographic surveys in Siberia. The passenger version could accommodate seven people with two crew members. ANT-7 was the first Soviet aircraft, flying May 5, 1937 over the North Pole.

Basic data serial aircraft R-6 2M-17
aircraft length15.06 m
wingspan23.2 m
aircraft height5.45 m
wing area80.0 square meters
normal take-off weight5240 kg
normal bomb load192 kg
ground speed240 km / h
practical ceiling6050 m
range of flight1680 km
machine guns5 x YES
crew4 people




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Page last modified: 05-10-2018 18:42:34 ZULU