Advanced high-altitude interceptor in original configuration. To fulfill this role,
(imprisoned) design team equipped the '100' (spells in Russian as STO) with two
pressure cabins and TK-2 turbosuperchargers (two on each engine). Pilot occupied front cabin, gunner and navigator - the
rear one. Both pilot and navigator had set of controls.
Initial armament was pure fighter-style:
two ShKAS machineguns and two ShVAK
cannons in the nose;
single remotely-controlled ShKAS in the extreme tail;
Already on design stage pressure from Military resulted in a 'dive bomber bias' in the aircraft construction. In addition
to offensive and defensive barrel weapons, '100' got underwing hardpoints for two bombs (up to 500kg each). Unusual
armament was carried inside: two clips with 24 3inch AA-artillery shells with pre-set explosion altitude. Those shells
could be used against both ground and aerial targets.
Project was approved for blueprints in mid-1939, aircraft was ready in the
end of the same year. Flight tests started on December 22, 1939 (pilot
P.M.Stefanovsky). In Spring 1940 almost identical second '100' was delivered
for trials. On May 1, 1940 '100' performed over
Red Square at Moscow during The Worker's International Solidarity Day demonstration.
But after visit of Soviet delegation to Germany (and study of German military air doctrine) all changed for the '100'.
High altitude long range interceptor was not a priority anymore. In May 1940
V.M.Petlyakov received an order to redesign '100' into front line dive bomber in
1.5 months. Order was supported by about 300 of personal, transferred from
A.A.Arhangelsky and other teams. Confidence in the aircraft was so solid that
no prototypes were built, blueprints were sent directly to factories for mass-production.
Production started on June 23, 1940, and first flights of new aircraft took
place late Fall 1940. But this is a story of a different aircraft.