Grigorovich TB-5 - The Soviet Barnhouse

Would you like to see this in-game?
  • Yes
  • No
0 voters

Grigorovich TB-5

Heavy bomber, Soviet barn bomber, slow.

A contemporary of Tupolev’s TB-3, the TB-5 was a product of the TsKB-39 Design Bureau/Prison. Allegedly its design was inspired after an engineer saw an advertisement featuring the French Farman bomber, and suggested that they should design a similar bomber. As a new heavy bomber design was requested in 1930, Dimitriy Grigorovich took up the task with a Farman-inspired design, originally just called “TsKB No.8”, and for his work would be freed soon after and transferred to TsAGI.

Compared to Tupolev’s TB-3, the TB-5 was of mixed construction rather than all-metal, with wooden wings and a steel fuselage, thus being easier and cheaper to build in case of metal shortages. It had a high-wing and boxy fuselage like the Farman bomber, and a twin tail like later Farman designs. It was supposed to offer similar performance to the TB-3 with a similar 2500kg bomb load though in an internal bomb bay rather than suspended under the fuselage. In order to achieve this Grigorovich betted on A. Bessonov who was developing the FED 24 inline X-24 engine that were projected to have 1000 horsepower for the TB-5. Unfortunately, when the TB-5 prototype was being built the engines were not ready, so instead they fitted 2 Bristol Jupiter engines in a tandem configuration under each wing, where the pusher engines had their propellers shortened to fit under the wing and an engine cowling installed over them. As a heavy bomber, the TB-5 was very spacious, with the crew able to traverse the whole fuselage, and featured crew amenities including beds and a toilet. It was protected by 4 turrets, 2 at the front and 2 on the roof midsection and tail, and like the TB-3 they only featured light machine guns.

In May 1931 the TB-5 was ready and underwent test flights. Unfortunately the Jupiter engines provided poor power, with the pusher engines being especially inefficient. Some structural issues were also encountered with the tail structure being weak. However, the aircraft was shown to have decent flight characteristics, and had a better layout than the TB-3 while being cheaper to make. So 6 TB-5s were to be ordered, which were to be equipped with the FED 24 engines that were still under development. Some structural improvements were made to the prototype too as they continued testing. However, the FED 24 engines would never come to fruition, and in 1932 during a test flight one of the Jupiter engines fell off its mounting and ignited the fuel. The test pilot M. Gromov successfully landed the aircraft, but further work on the TB-5 would end soon after. Grigorovich was busy designing experimental fighters, and TsKB-39 (now merged with TsAGI) didn’t have the capacity to build new TB-5s or repair the damaged prototype. Finally in late 1932 its design was re-examined and modernizations proposed, but ultimately was considered obsolete and the prototype scrapped. Elements of the TB-5 design was also used for the MDR-3 flying boat, but that too went nowhere.


Empty: 7463kg
Take-off: 12 535kg

Length: 22.1m
Wing Span: 31m
Wing Area: 150m²
Height: 5.02m

4x Bristol Jupiter VI radial 9-cylinder engines
480 hp
Max Fuel: ~3000L
Air cooled

Max Speed:
180km/h at ground level
162km/h at 3000m
200km/h at unknown altitude
Ceiling: 3500m
Range: 2100km
Rate of Climb: unknown

Crew: 7

3x2 7.62mm DA in TUR-5 turrets
1x2 7.62mm PV-1 in forward turret

1000kg of bombs (designed 2500kg with FED 24 engines)




Nemecek, V. (1986). The History of Soviet Aircraft from 1918 (pp. 131-132, 418). Collins Willow.