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MDR-4 (MTB-1)

Marine Long-range Reconnaissance Aircraft



Marine long-range reconnaissance aircraft MDR-4 has its roots in MDR-3, designed at TsKB-39 by the Chetverikov naval brigade. In February 1933, it was decided to revise the MDR-3, which actually turned into the creation of a new aircraft that combined the features of the Tupolev projects and the MDR-3, from which only the general contours of the boat remained. The aircraft became three-engined (with two pulling screws and one pushing), with a cantilever wing and a single-fin tail.

The aircraft was designed as a long-range reconnaissance aircraft, a heavy bomber and a 14-seat passenger aircraft. On April 8, 1934, a new seaplane took off. On April 16, a disaster occurred with the first instance during takeoff, which claimed the lives of four people.

Further tests were carried out on the "backup", the second prototype, designated ANT-27bis. On October 29, the "understudy" made its first flight. Factory tests went on until March 8, 1935. From April 7 to June 1, in the same place, in Sevastopol, state tests were carried out. They were carried out according to two options for using the machine: the long-range reconnaissance aircraft DR-4 and the MTB-1 naval heavy bomber, distinguished by its large flight weight (due to bombs and equipment). In the second variant, the flight data, of course, decreased. On September 23, ANT-27bis suffered a catastrophe due to the tearing off of the linen covering, 3 people died in the crash.

Despite the disaster, a decision was made on serial production, and at the beginning of 1936 MDR-4 was officially adopted by the Red Army Air Force.

Mastering in the production of MDR-4 went with great difficulty and by the new 1937, only five cars were produced. Only 10 MDR-4 were included in the plan of 1937 by the decision of the STO. Such a small order was due to the fact that it was planned to acquire a license in the United States for the production in the USSR of the Consolidated 28 flying boat (better known as Catalina), with which the MDR-4, of course, could not compete.

Taganrog plant number 31 actually assembled 10 Tupolev aircraft in 1937. If almost all 1936 cars were equipped with M-34R engines, now they still switched to M-34RN. At least one aircraft received the even more powerful M-34FRN (forced). The passenger version of the ANT-27 never appeared.

All manufactured aircraft entered the Black Sea Fleet Air Force, but they were not widely used. In the documents of the Air Force, the naval heavy bomber was called the MTB-1. Only the 124th Naval Heavy Squadron, based in Sevastopol, flew them. In November 1937, a document appears that instructs to write off all MTB-1s within the next year as new equipment arrives (transition to the Ilyushin float torpedo bomber DB-ZPT). And although the DB-ZPT never went into the series, Tupolev's flying boats were apparently scrapped, for no mention of them could be found in subsequent years.

Crew 3
Lenght, m 21.9
Height, m 8.76
Wing span, m 39.15
Wing area, m² 177.5
Weight, kg
Empty 10,692
Loaded weight, kg 16,386
3 × PE M-34RN, hp 3 × 825
Maximum speed at altitude level, km/h 266
Cruising speed, km/h 196
Service ceiling, m 4300
Service range, km 2000

Armament. TUR-8 bow mount with 7.62-mm ShKAS machine guns with 1500 rounds of ammunition, aft and upper turrets with ShKAS machine guns.

The following bomb load options were possible: 2 × 1000 kg, 4 × 500 kg, 8 × 250 kg, 20 × 100 kg. The bombing was controlled by an ESBR-2 electric bomb release device or an emergency mechanical one.

Photo Description
Drawing MDR-4 (ANT-27)

Drawing MDR-4 (ANT-27)

MDR-4 (ANT-27) in two projections

MDR-4 (ANT-27) in two projections


  • The history of aircraft designs in the USSR, before 1938 / V.B. Shavrov /
  • Marine long-range reconnaissance aircraft MDR-4 / Aviation and Cosmonautics /