- Yes, as a tech tree vehicle
- Yes, as an event/premium vehicle
Hello, and welcome to my suggestion post for the TB-1P!
Brief Description: A Soviet twin-engine floatplane bomber from the early 30s, with a number of naval-based payload options. Branching off from the Tupolev TB-1 heavy bomber, it had a reasonably good maximum takeoff weight, and a moderate defensive armament.
The TB-1P can trace its origins back to 1924, when the task of producing a heavy bomber was given to a Tupolev-led division within TsAGI. Work was quickly started and led to a first prototype - the ANT-4 - in early 1925 (the final assembly of which required the knocking down of a factory wall). Despite many setbacks, mainly dealing with the acquisition of foreign-made parts, the ANT-4 completed its first factory test flight on the 26th of November 1925, exceeding expectations. Of course, minor issues came up and were subsequently fixed. Electric self-starters were added to the engines, and skis were added for the winter weather during test flights. A second factory test flight occurred in early 1926, in which a pilot stated “…I felt as if I had been flying in this machine for several years”. Soon after, the acceptance tests and state tests began, in which the plane was scrutinized more extensively than in previous tests, but was overall approved of.
The TB-1P diverges a bit from here, however. In December 1925, the UVVS (Directorate of the Air Force) asked TsAGI to take over work on a “sea bomber” - a first for the USSR. Lacking the materials and experience to work on a flying boat, TsAGI decided to take the much easier and efficient route, via the adding of floats to the by then newly accepted TB-1. Delays caused the project to quickly fall behind schedule. By 1928, the UVVS had waited long enough, and ordered calculations for such a design “as soon as possible”. New engines were also intended to be implemented, in order to compensate for the addition of the floats (specifically, license copy BMW VI V-12 engines, known as the Mikulin M-17 - the standard TB-1 also switched to this engine later on, but as a cost saving measure). Shown by tests performed until late 1931, the performance was limited compared to the original TB-1, but it was capable of a rather large payload, which set the aircraft into production via conversions of standard TB-1s.
As the first Soviet torpedo-bomber, it served a rather relaxed and stale service life. The floats were removable and, during the winter, were often replaced with skis or wheels temporarily. Despite their role as torpedo bombers and mine layers, a lack of available torpedoes limited most of their operations to scouting and bombing practices. In 1934, when the submarine “Stalinets” suffered an explosion, TB-1Ps were used to search for her, and subsequently recovered the wounded captain from the submarine. By 1938 newer serviceable aircraft had been introduced, and the few remaining TB-1Ps were handed over to auxiliary units.
Wing area: 120.00m²
Empty weight: 5016kg
Gross weight: 7500kg
Powerplant: 2x Mikulin M-17, 680hp each
Maximum speed: 186km/h
Service range: 950km
Service altitude: 3620m
Armament: 6 7.62mm PV-1 machine guns in 3 dual mountings, and up to 2000kg of bombs. Loadout options include:
- Up to 1000kg of payload in 250kg conventional bombs
- Up to 1000kg of payload in 50kg incendiary bombs
- 1 naval mine - MAV-1 (100kg TNT) or other aircraft-laid mines
- 1 torpedo - TAN-12 (100kg TNT warhead) or TAV-15 high altitude torpedo
Overall, while the TB-1P was not the pinnacle of warplane design, it was a pioneer. It was a variation of one of the first all-metal aircraft in the Soviet Union, the first standardized heavy bomber of the Soviet Union, and the first successful domestically-soviet torpedo bomber. It would also have a very interesting ranking as the largest floatplane in game, beating the He-115 by over 6 meters of wingspan. I feel that in game this vehicle could be a great addition to the limited amount of soviet naval aircraft, as well as fall among the ranks of the Po-2s and TB-3 - maybe not the best plane in combat, but definitely enjoyable to see and play.