The world's first cantilever wing four-engine heavy bomber.
About this creation
Бомбардировщик Туполев ТБ-3
It was the world's first cantilever wing four-engine heavy bomber and 1930, it became the most advanced piece of machinery ever to grace the skies. Because it carried more payload than anything flying at the time, the TB-3’s fuselage was designed with reinforced steel bars in all sections.
The airframe structure was very similar to the ones utilized by the German aircraft manufacture Junkers, using corrugated sheet and very thick wings. As advanced as the TB-3 was, it still employed several “old fashion” structures like the open cockpit and the fixed landing gear.
3 open defensive positions were carried, each armed with two ShKas 7,62mm machine guns. Bombs could be carried under 100kgs were carried inside the fuselage and larger bombs were carried under the wings.
The pilot and co-pilot sat in a side-by-side configuration separated only by a rudimentary windscreen. In all, almost 500 TB-3s, in various versions, were produced, including transport, paratroop carrier and torpedo-bomber.
During the 30s, the TB-3 bomber was a real strategic menace to Europe and Japan in the Far East. A few of these bombers could, for example, destroy Tokyo with incendiary bombs and return to Soviet Union after that.
The TB-3 was also used in several special projects as a fighter mothership in the Zveno Project carrying two I-16 fighter-bombers armed with two 250kg bombs each. On 1 August 1941, a pair of TB-3s in Zveno configuration, destroyed an oil depot with no losses. On 11 August and 13 August 1941, Zveno-SPB successfully damaged the King Carol I Bridge over Danube in Romania.
Outdated and outclassed by the time of the German Invasion of URSS, the TB-3 did carry out a number of interdiction sorties, with heavy losses. Soon, the bomber was removed from front line service.
Although outclassed as a bomber, the TB-3 did made a useful contribution to the Red Army war effort as a troop transporter.