Tupolev ANT-6 / TB-3


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Tupolev ANT-6 / TB-3

The Tupolev TB-3 all-metal cantilever monoplane was the most advanced four-engined heavy bomber in service in the world in the early 1930s. The prototype was flown first on 22 December 1930 and production began at the end of 1931, continuing through many modifications until early 1937 when a total of 818 had been built. For many years the TB-3 was the backbone of the VVS (Soviet air forces) heavy bomber units. A number retained the bureau designation ANT-6 and were used for transport, particularly in the Arctic. In 1938-39 TB-3s were used operationally against the Japanese, but by the time Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 most had been converted as paratroop or freight transports under the designation G-2. Other uses then consisted of night bombing and transport work of all kinds, including the carriage of vehicles or tanks between landing gear legs, and glider towing. Use in parasite fighter experiments led in 1941 to Black Sea Fleet TB-3s being used to launch two Polikarpov SPB dive-bomber versions of the I-16 fighter, for raids on pinpoint targets in the Ukraine and Romania.

Tupolev ANT-6 / TB-3

 ENGINE4 x M-17F,
  Take-off weight17047 kg37582 lb
  Wingspan39.5 m130 ft 7 in
  Length24.4 m80 ft 1 in
  Height8.5 m28 ft 11 in
  Wing area230.0 m22475.70 sq ft
  Max. speed182 km/h113 mph
  Ceiling3600 m11800 ft
  Range2200 km1367 miles
 ARMAMENT4 x 7.62 mm machine-guns, 3000kg of bombs

Tupolev ANT-6 / TB-3A three-view drawing (592 x 703)

Graham Clayton, e-mail, 12.02.2021 10:25

How tall was the undercarriage?


Henry Whittle, e-mail, 04.11.2009 01:46

Greetings from Florida, much longer then it is wide.

I note that the Soviets halted heavy bomber development in 1936. Though the Germans had already made the decision to cancel their heavy programs (Do-19;Ju-89) I'm wondering if Goering was playing suite in his April 29, 1937 edict to cancel the programs. If Russia was not playing the heavy card, why follow? It's one of the decisions that eventually cost Germany the war.


mike1204, e-mail, 30.06.2009 16:44

sorry mate, but Hitler's Wehrmacht was making a bloody niusance of itself in the Ukraine in 1941, and Romania fought with the Axis powers, mostly using Luftwaffe aircraft, so was also a legitimate target in 1941, and was to remain so until Soviet troops entered Berlin in 1945.


Max, 27.04.2009 01:40

There was no any targets in Ukraine. Ukraine was the one of the republics of the USSR from 1923 till 1992.


Roman Boiko, e-mail, 14.12.2008 12:25

Hi David,
I'm afraid that no TB-3s exist today. They were all scrapped in the 1950s. However at least one wreck remains somewhere in the arctic. It would certainly be a dream to fly one of these someday, and it's a pity that none still exist.


David Neale, e-mail, 20.07.2007 15:36

Greetings from England.

Is there a surviving TB-3 aircraft anywhere in the world? I would travel anywhere to see an example of this amazing, wonderful machine ....

Kind regards,

David Neale


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