Aviation of World War II
Su-2 (BB-1, ANT-51)
At the end of 1940, the attitude of the management towards the Sukhoi aircraft changed greatly in a negative direction. The opinion began to be expressed that the BB-1 as a type would not find wide application in a future war. The military was well aware of the defenselessness of the Polish Karas light single-engine bombers against attacks by German fighters. Later it became known that the British "Battles" (the closest to the BB-1 in scheme and purpose), which were considered quite modern on the eve of the war, suffered extremely heavy losses in the May 1940 battles in France. Soviet intelligence reported that the largest Austin factories in Coventry switched to the production of four-engine bombers, stopping the construction of the Battles.
Experts understood that the successes of the Ju87 dive bomber cannot be attributed only to German propaganda. However, they bought in Germany and studied in detail at the Air Force Research Institute not him, but another, the Ju88 twin-engine dive bomber, which had a great influence on the Soviet aviation industry and even on military doctrine. The country's leadership was not convinced that in the upcoming war it would be possible to immediately gain air supremacy, and without it, the single-engine two-seater bomber was very vulnerable. According to the opinion of the leadership of the Air Force Directorate and the NKAP, our country needed not a single-engine "horizontal" bomber in mass production, but a twin-engine dive bomber. As a result, the BB-1 aircraft was actually no longer considered as a new type of serial bomber. And before the country's leadership did not favor Sukhoi and his creation with their attention. One can cite the following fact: before the war, his machines did not participate in any parade or major display of new aircraft. Now, after Pavel Osipovich's refusal to convert the plane into a dive bomber, interest in the BB-1 seemed to have completely disappeared.
In addition, in the fall of 1940, the aircraft industry did not manage to overcome the crisis in improving engines, especially those developed at the SK Tumansky Design Bureau. On M-88 engines, piston burnouts, shaking of the VMG, and increased oil consumption, which led to smoke, were constantly noted. If an excessive depletion of the mixture was observed at the first speed of the supercharger, then at the second - over-enrichment. They had to temporarily suspend their serial production. It was difficult to fine-tune the promising M-90 engine, on which the NKAP had high hopes. As a result, EV Urmin replaced Tumansky to the post of chief designer of plant No. 29. Director S.A. Gromov was almost arrested - he was saved from a quick reprisal only by Shakhurin's intercession.
On December 9, 1940, at a joint meeting of the Council of People's Commissars and the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks), the program for the production of aircraft and engines for 1941 was considered. This extremely important document of the aviation industry ordered to stop the production of obsolete aircraft. For the short-range bomber BB-1, renamed after the name of the chief designer in the Su-2, an annual plan was set for all three factories in 1150 machines (out of a total of 6070 bombers). 600 Su-2 were to be built in 1941 in Kharkov.
After receiving satisfactory test results for the M-88, their serial construction was resumed under the designation M-88B. And in Kharkov, shortly before the new 1941, these engines were installed not only on the newly built Su-2, but also replaced substandard engines on already produced machines. In the last days of December 1940, not only was it possible for the first time to fulfill the plan and to hand over 40 aircraft to military representatives, but also to provide the groundwork for the implementation of the next year's program.
The Su-2 was also tested as a reconnaissance and artillery spotter. According to the leadership of the Air Force Directorate, in the first role the most suitable aircraft were the Pe-2 and Pe-3, but in the second the Su-2 was simply irreplaceable. "Possessing a speed range from 220 to 450 km / h, sufficient armament, the aircraft can carry out artillery missions," - the report noted. Comparative tests of the Su-2 and the two-seat training Yak-7 carried out in August 1941 at the direction of the Deputy Commander of the Air Force, General IF Petrov, showed the indisputable advantage of the Su-2.
On the Yak-7, it was impossible to increase the payload due to additional special equipment without a significant deterioration in flight data. The dimensions of the second cabin of the Yakovlev aircraft turned out to be insufficient, and the view from it did not meet the requirements for the artillery aircraft. In addition, the Yak-7 had a large takeoff and mileage and needed good approaches to the airfield, and also did not have defensive weapons. The Su-2 was deprived of all these shortcomings. According to the leading testing engineer of the 2nd rank military engineer V. Ya Magon, the vehicle satisfied "the main and main TTT presented to the spotter without significant structural alterations" . The Air Force Research Institute recommended that the Sukhoi aircraft be adopted as soon as possible for the artillery spotterl units and squadrons.