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Yak-2 (Yakovlev) BB-22 / R-12

During the Great Patriotic War, the design bureau headed by A.S.Yakovlev presented a series of single-engine fighters and twin-engine light bmbers and transport aircraft. Conveniently, the single-engine aircraft had odd numbers [eg, Yak-1, Yak-3, etc], while the twin- engine aircraft had even numbers [eg, Yak-2, Yak-4, etc]. Not surprisingly, this simplicity did not last long.

One of the ideas of the mid-1930s was the concept of a universal multi-purpose aircraft, for which in the future the possibility of “working” in different directions was considered. The fact that this aircraft would have to perform the functions as a fighter escort bomber, reconnaissance, light bomber or attack aircraft, led to a twin-engine scheme and a crew of 2-3 people. Quite a large number of such aircraft appeared in different countries. Potez 630 and Brege 691 in France, Messerschmitt Bf110 and Focke-Wulf FW189 in Germany, PZL P-38 Wilk in Poland, and Fokker G1 in Holland.

In the Yakovlev Design Bureau, the author of the idea to create a twin-engine multipurpose aircraft was Leon Shechter. Leon Mikhailovich approached the question in a very original way. He believed that the aircraft could achieve maximum efficiency while obtaining the highest flight speed, which the minimum dimensions of the aircraft and two powerful engines should have ensured. A factory test car that received the internal designation “plane 22”.

Over time, malfunctions were eliminated. And when, during the control flight, Yakovlev Yuliaev Yulian Piontkovsky, the chief pilot of the OKB, showed a staggering speed of 572 km / h, everyone understood that the car was a success. Even taking into account amendments and errors, the aircraft overtook the SB (high-speed bomber!) By more than a hundred kilometers per hour, and it would be hard for many single-engine fighters of that time to catch up with the "product 22".

This twin-engine reconnaissance demonstrated on tests a speed unprecedented even for fighters — higher than that of the Messerschmitt Bf.109. For this aircraft A. Yakovlev was awarded the Order of Lenin, the VMS car and the prize of 100 thousand rubles. Equally high was the adaptability evaluation of the machine. In the “Conclusions” of the state report said: “the Aircraft 22 is cheap, has a good industrial performance, its technology as the wooden simple, can easily be mastered … the culture of finishing the outer surface, the production performance of individual components and assemblies of the aircraft 22 can serve as a model for the domestic aircraft industry”.

When he became the head of the design bureau, Alexander Sergeevich called all his planes “AIR” in honor of the party and state leader Alexei Ivanovich Rykov. In the Soviet Union, it was then decided to praise political figures, and Yakovlev was no exception. Such designations remained until February 1937. Then all the planes created in the Yakovlev design bureau began to be called with the letter “I”, and then by numbers, and the first in this row was the plane “22” or BB-22. This was due to the exclusion of Rykov from the CPSU (b) and his subsequent arrest.

Since the summer of 1939, the aircraft "22" in the version of a passing bomber became officially called the BB-22, the reconnaissance aircraft - the R-12, and the fighter - the I-29. When four to six 100-pound bombs were placed between the wing spar in the bomb Bay, it became the medium bomber BB-22. A suspension under the fuselage two 20 mm cannons ShVAK with ammunition stowed in the bomb Bay, transformed the ircraft into a fighter - I-29. All of these options had the same flight characteristics. The conversion of one modification into the other was possible, even in terminal conditions. In fact, it turned out to be the first Soviet multirole combat aircraft.

Since the designer of the BB-22 was in favor with the leader, his aircraft was launched into a large series production at the end of state tests. In the prewar years, the leader, talking with the young designer of the BB-22, shared with him his thoughts on the state of domestic aviation. “Speak what you think, and do not be embarrassed,” Stalin said. “We believe you, although you are young. You are an expert in your field, not connected with the mistakes of the past, and therefore you can be more objective than the old specialists, whom we really believed and they brought us to the swamp with aviation."

In March 1940, the aircraft received the name BB-22 (short-range bomber) and went into series production. By the beginning of World War II, they had time to release about 600 BB-22. In serial construction, the flight data of the BB-22 ws not only not improved, but became worse and worse. The assembly of the aircraft was so disgusting that the maximum speed at an altitude of 5000 m dropped to 515 km / h. Numerous slots around the hatches, between the hoods, landing plates and the wing spoiled the aerodynamics of the aircraft. Fastening of plywood to the frame was carried out on screws with washers without subsequent finishing, while the test aircraft was putty, embroidered and polished after painting. The serial car had the color of natural plywood and duralumin, because before testing it was not painted at all.

After the participation of the BB-22 in the war with Finland, which discovered the impossibility of bringing the design to the tactical and technical requirements of the military, the KA Air Force refused to adopt the machine. Initially, it was planned to create three versions of the aircraft - a fighter, a reconnaissance aircraft and a bomber, but in the end only the bomber version was produced, which was also used as a reconnaissance aircraft. The plan for 1941 provided for the construction of 1,300 BB-22bis bombers. In December, airplanes with M-103 engines were renamed Yak-2, and with more powerful M-105 engines - Yak-4.

By a government decree of February 13, 1941, the construction of the Yak-4 aircraft was stopped. The total release of the Yak-2 was 111 aircraft (all built in 1940), the Yak-4 was released a little less - 90 (27 cars in 1940 and 63 - in 1941). In the front of the battle hit 198 aircraft, some of which were used for testing.

But, in the opinion of pilots who fought on the Yak-2 and Yak-4, “this plane could hardly be called a combat one. Small bomb load, unreliable operation of machine guns made him unsuitable for combat operations. Defects identified even before the war, have not been eliminated. True, he had a high speed, which allowed him to easily get away from the Messers, and burned rather badly in the event of enemy shells. By the end of 1941, these aicraft were almost all destroyed ... ".

Modification Yak-2
Wingspan, m 14.00
Aircraft length, m 9.34
Wing area, square m 29.40
Weight, kg:
empty aircraft 4,000
takeoff 5380
Engine type 2 x M- 103
power, hp 960
Maximum speed, km / h 515
Rate of climb, m / s 10.8
Rate of climb, m / min 650
Practical ceiling, m 8900
Flight range, km 800
Crew 2
Armament 2 x 7.62- mm SHKAS machine gun, up to 900 kg of bombs.

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Yak-2 (Yakovlev)

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Page last modified: 27-10-2018 18:30:05 ZULU