Aviation of WWII
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Glossary USSR Ilyushin Il-2 1941 Il-2 1942 Il-2 1943 DB-3 TsKB-54 DB-3T Il-4 Il-10 Photos & Drawings

DB-3T (DB-3TP)

Torpedo Bomber


The DB-3T from 1-st MTAP of AF Baltic Fleet © Alexander Boulah

The DB-3T from 1-st MTAP of AF Baltic Fleet

The llyushin Design Bureau constantly extended the applications of the DB-3, and the DB-3T variant of 1937 was used as a naval torpedo bomber. By virtue of special external attachment points it could carry a 45-36 type torpedo (the first number denoted the torpedo's calibre in centimetres, the second its year of introduction into the inventory) with a 440 lb (200kg) warhead and a total weight of 2,072 lb (940kg). The DB-3T (T - torpedonosyets, torpedo) was equipped to enable the missile to be dropped using either low or high torpedo bombing methods. In the first case the 45-36 AN low altitude aerial torpedo was dropped from 100ft (30m) at a speed of 198mph (320km/h). It was forbidden to drop the torpedo lower or higher because its casing could be cracked when it hit the water or it could sink too deep. Although low altitude torpedo bombing offered the highest probability of destroying the target, it demanded a high degree of piloting skill and good aircraft handling and manoeuvrability. In high altitude torpedo bombing the DB-3Tdropped the torpedo from 1,000ft (300m). The missile was parachuted down, and when it touched the water it began to travel in a circle on the target's course. In addition to its torpedo, the DB-3T could carry the usual bomb load, and could be used as a bomber or for dropping mines. It could also serve as a long range naval reconnaissance aircraft.

Introduced into the USSR Naval Aviation inventory, the DB-3T became the first mass produced Soviet torpedo-bomber, fully meeting the operational requirements. On its technical basis a new aspect ot Naval Aviation, Torpedo Aviation, was bom in 1939-1940 for the destruction of enemy vessels by torpedoes and bombs, and also for mining enemy seaways and exits from naval bases.

However, the DB-3T could take off only from land bases, and sometimes these were not readily available, especially in the areas covered by the Northern Fleet. In 1938, therefore, a new version, the DB-3TP (Torpedonosyets Poplavkovyi - torpedo floatplane) was designed. The floats, taken from the Tupolev ТВ-1P, naturally reduced the torpedo-bomber's performance. During tests in the summer of 1938 at a normal flying weight of 16,644 lb (7,550kg) and carrying a torpedo, the DB-3TP reached a speed of 213mph (343 km/h) at 13,100ft (4,000m), and its climb rate and service ceiling were also reduced. Even this performance met estimated requirements and was better than the Beriev MDR-5 and Chyetverikov MDR-6 flying-boats. The DB-3TP retained the type's good handling.

Test pilot Sukhomlin assessed the seaplane thus: "The aircraft is well-produced as a torpedo-bomber and naval high speed bomber. It is fully suited to these roles". Nevertheless, the DB-3TP was not put into series production owing to operational complications. It was very difficult to load bombs, attach torpedoes and service the engines while the aircraft was on the water.

Long-range bombers
DB-3 DB-3 DB-3F IL-4 Er-2 Er-2
Crew 3 3 4 4 4 4
Year of issue 1937 1939 1940 1941 1941 1943
Length, m 14.22 14.22 14.76 14.76 16.4 16.58
Wing span, m 21.44 21.44 21.44 21.44 23.0 23.0
Wing area, m² 65.6 65.6 66.7 66.7 72.0 79.06
Weight, kg:
Loaded weight 6500 7450 8030 9470 12520 14850
Maximum takeoff weight 8500 9450 10150 11570 14150 18580
Engine М-85 М-87 М-88 М-88B М-105 ACh-30B
Power, hp 2x750 2x950 2x1100 2x1100 2x1100 2x1500
Maximum speed, km/h at altitude 395 439 429 422 437 420
m 4000 4900 6600 6800 4000 6000
Service ceiling, m 8800 9600 9700 8900 7700 7200
Service range with normal bomb load, km 4000 3800 3300 3800 4000 5000
Bomb load, kg Normal 1000
Maximum 2500 2500 2500 2500 4000 6000
Defensive Armament Machine guns 3 3 3 3 3 2
Cannon - - - - - 1


  • "The history of designs of planes in USSR 1938-1950" /Vadim Shavrov/
  • "Planes of Stalin falcons" /Konstantin Kosminkov and Dmitriy Grinyuk/
  • "Planes of Ilyushin`s design bureau" /Genrih Novojilov/
  • "The Soviet planes" /Alexander Yakovlev/