Tairov OKO-6bis/Ta-1: Failed Brother of the IL-2

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  • Yes, as a premium/event vehicle
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In 1938, the Soviet Union was in need of a twin-engine long-range bomber escort that was fast, manoeuvrable and had a decent armament. Vsevolod Tairov, a student and right-hand man of the famous Nikolai Polikarpov, would draft up a design known as the OKO-6. During its first test flight on January 31, 1940, it was noted that its single-fin tail hampered its stability in turns, so it would be further refined in the summer of 1940 with a twin-tail configuration and alengthened fuselage to become the OKO-6bis, later renamed the Ta-1.

The armament of the Ta-1 was very impressive; it sported four 20mm ShVAK cannons mounted underneath the aircraft and two 7,62mm ShKAS machine guns just above the nose. It could also carry a pair of FAB-250 or FAB-500 bombs on each wing. Its armour was also decent, with the pilot being protected by a plate of 45mm bulletproof glass at the front of the cockpit, 12-13mm thick steel at the back and 12mm thick duralumin plates on the sides.

On October 31, 1940, it made its first test flight. The results were excellent; it was fast, being capable of reaching speed of around 470 km/h at ground level though it tended to stall at speeds below 300 km/h., had great manoeuvrability, was easy to control and thus required minimal training to operate, and was able to fly with one engine despite it being weak, producing just 1,000 horsepower. It had a climb rate of roughly 8 m/s. It was not perfect however, as it was noted that the pilot had poor visibility at the back and sides and it was somewhat difficult to land.

Of course, we should not forget the Ta-3 (but I will go into more detail on it in a future suggestion), which was the result of the Ta-1’s success. On January 25, 1941, Tairov was ordered to design a modernized version of the Ta-1, though he was complaining about it not being put into production. It was to have the same armament of its predecessor or four 12,7mm Taubin machine guns; it was eventually decided on a heavier armament of a single 37mm cannon with two ShVAK autocannons and two ShKAS machine guns.

Despite its positive reputation, with some even claiming had it reached serial production it would’ve been as effective as the IL-2, it was never approved for production as Tairov would eventually die in a plane crash in October 1941 and production for the improved M-89 engine for the Ta-3 would cease the following month, putting a halt to a very promising project.



  • Crew: one
  • Length: 9.827 m (32 ft 2.87 in)
  • Wingspan: 12.658 m (41 ft 6.37 in)
  • Weight: 5,250 kg (11,574.3 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Tumansky M-88R 14-cylinder radial engine , 745.7 kW (1,000 hp) each


  • Maximum speed: 595 km/h (369.7 mph, 321.3 kn)
  • Range: 406 km (660 mi, 570 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 7,550 m (24,770 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 8 m/s (1,093.6 ft/min)


  • 4 x 20mm ShVAK autocannons
  • 2 x 7,62mm ShKAS machine guns





  • Wikipedia
  • Tairov Ta-3 (specifications)
  • Combat aircraft. Failed brother of IL-2 (poorly translated but nonetheless informative)
    Further reading:
  • V.B. Shavrov, Istoriya Konstruktsiy Samoletov v SSSR, 1938-1950 (History of Soviet aircraft, 1938-1950), in Russian
  • V.I. Perov, O.V. Rastrenin, Shturmoviki Krasnoy Armii (Attackers of the Red Army), in Russian
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