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Heavy Attack Aircraft
Tu-2Sh heavy attack aircraft. In 1944, on the basis of the Tu-2S high-speed dive bomber, an unusual weapon system, the Fiery Hedgehog, was tested as an experiment. The system consisted of 88 units of Shpagin submachine guns (PPSh) installed on the platform. In the Tupolev Design Bureau, a bomber equipped with a new system was assigned the Tu-2Sh index.
In the Tupolev Design Bureau, the head of the weapons department A. Nadashkevich, as well as the chief engineer S. Savelyev, it was proposed to create a weapon battery and install it on a dive bomber to attack infantry columns, as well as other enemy personnel. They decided to make a new battery by combining a large number of PCA on a single platform that would be located in the bomb bay of the bomber. The decision to install automatic platforms on two experimental Tu-2S was approved at a meeting with Air Marshal Novikov. 180 units of Shpagin submachine guns of the 1941 model were allocated, with disk magazines for them, as well as a full ammunition.
The system, as already mentioned, was named "Fiery Hedgehog", and consisted of 88 PPSh units, which were placed in 11 rows of 8 pieces. One submachine gun had 71 rounds of ammunition, caliber 7.62 × 25 mm. The system passed range and combat tests, the density of fire on targets was very effective. To fire, the bomber pilot opened the bomb bay, and using a special sight, fired at ground targets. For 1 second of the "Fiery Hedgehog" operation, about 8 kg of lead were sent to the target. However, the main disadvantages - too short a period of firing and long-term reloading (for reloading the machine gun platform was lowered with cables down) - outweighed all the positive characteristics. In addition, the rather significant weight of the system: the weight of the PPSh with full ammunition is 5.3 kg, the total weight of all PPShs is 466 kg, the total weight of the battery with the platform is about 600 kilograms, also did not contribute to the adoption of the system for service. So, for example, small-caliber cluster bombs, already widely used at that time, with a comparable weight, showed much greater efficiency, including against armored targets.
Ultimately, the aircraft with the "Fiery Hedgehog" did not go into mass production, but the Tu-2Sh - went down in history as an aircraft with the largest amount of firearms on board!
The idea of implementing a system of continuous ammunition supply is not new, the Americans created an experimental aircraft "JL 12" back in 1921.
Junkers-Larsen JL 12 - troop support aircraft. On this version, designated JL 12, a battery of thirty 11.43 mm Thompson submachine guns was installed in the passenger cabin. Of these, 28 were two batteries for firing ground targets.
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