Monoplane flying boat, a shoulder-wing aircraft with a pusher engine on high struts. history of the
MBR-2 started when R.L.Bartini run into his first trouble with Party Burocracy.
All documentation of his all-metal project MBR-1 was transferred to young designer
G.M.Beriev. After numerous failures of
D.P.Grigorovich flying boats, Soviet Navy possessed only limited amount of light and
outdated airplanes. And success was a necessity.
G.M.Beriev was more realistically thinking specialist than romantic and impulsive
R.L.Bartini. He understood that all-metal design has little chances due to aluminum
alloy shortages in the USSR. All available metal resources were used for mass production of
A.N.Tupolev land-based bombers. 'Weight' and influence of
A.N.T. could block the project: G.M.Beriev
attempted to 'invade the turf' of naval aircraft, where A.N.T. also was trying to
establish his 'zone of interest'.
As a result, original project was radically revised: 'Aircraft 25' (or TsKB-25) was all
wooden design, retaining layout and size of the MBR-1. New project was in perfect
compliance with early 30's concept to built more and better, but cheaper. It gained support of
D.P.Grigorovich, N.N.Polikarpov and
even I.V.Chetverikov (who was a serious competitor of
G.M.Beriev in the field of Naval aviation).
Project received serious blow when originally planned M-27 engine failed to pass acceptance trials. Even factory administration
pressed for project cancellation. Situation was saved by aircraft layout (allowing easy change of powerplant) and designer's calls to
high rank Aviatrest officers. Less powerful, but well-tested and reliable 500hp
M-17 (BMW-VI) was quickly adopted. In December
1931 aircraft was ready, and in Spring
1932 transported to Sevastopol for trials.
First flight on early morning May 3 1932 was performed by test-pilot
B.L.Bukhgolts and flight mechanic V.A.Dneprov. Pilot's conclusion was clear: "Perfect machine, it will live". Trial program
was fulfilled in three weeks, complying with all technical criteria.
56k b/w MBR-2 prototype prior to the first takeoff,
"Illustrated Encyclopedia of the TANTK G.M.Beriev aircraft"
Year later production of new aircraft started on two factories (N045 at Sevastopol and N031 at Taganrog),
but... as a passenger transport! It looks like a result of A.N.Tupolev's efforts, who
was working on his own flying boats (ANT-8/MDR-2,
ANT-27/MDR-4) and was not interested in having strong competitor. Designers of the MBR-2
had to use a small trick - passenger aircraft could be easily converted back into military reconnaissater...