(b/w 65k) from TOTAVIA
collection, managed by
The only four-engined bomber the USSR used during WWII.
The TB-7 was developed from the ANT-42 prototypes, flown in
Radically differed from prototypes by new powerplants (allowing to eliminate odd fifth engine, driving centralized
supercharger in the fuselage).
Production started in 1939 and lasted until October
1940, 79 aircraft came out of assembly line. In service since May
1940, and remained there for almost all the War period. Apart of numerous raids
deep into Germany held territory (particularly Berlin), TB-7 got his fame for remarkably long flights. Those included Molotov
(then Soviet Foreign minister) flight to Washington from Moscow (17,700km) with landings in Scotland, Iceland and Canada
in May-June 1942.
With Pe-8 designation assigned in 1941, aircraft carried 4 tons of bombload
and sufficient defence armament. Two gunners had quite unusual positioning - in rear part of the inboard engine nacells.
Some with M-30B/ACh-30B diesel engines. This solution proved itself
unreliable. After production of the AM-35A engine was ceased,
Shvetsov M-82 and M-82FN radials were fitted to approximately 50 production series aircraft.
Despite series of aerodynamic improvements, aircraft never achieved an optimum configuration due to a lack
of interest on the part of military authorities. Approximately 30 aircraft survived the war and remained in service
until the late 1950s.
Military Parade magazine,
article in November/December issue;
Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi "Combat Aircraft Of World War II" Vol. IV, 1940-1941, ISBN 0-517-56843-8;
Pe-8 (TB-7) HEAVY LONG-RANGE BOMBER article;
Virtual Aircraft Museum