TB-1, ANT-4 prototype by A.N.Tupolev

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20k b/w ANT-4 prototype with mockup torpedo, "History of aircraft construction in the USSR" by V.B.Shavrov, Vol.1 p.371

The first in the World all-metal cantilever twin-engine bomber. Layout of the ANT-4 was reproduced all over the World since 1930, after the first international appearance. All following multi-engine bombers added no radical layout changes to this aircraft of 1925, exept airdynamic and structural refinement, number of engines and guns, different levels of equipment sophystication.
It is interesting that this (mostly) land-based aircraft has a naval pre-history. In 1923-1929 the Special Technical of military inventions (Ostekhburo at Leningrad, headed by V.I.Bekauri) badly needed a heavy bomber aircraft for their research (naval torpedos). Plans to buy some in the Great Britain did not materialize. As a result, A.N.Tupolev at the TsAGI started to work on this project (November 11, 1924). Timeline was only 9 months. Aircraft was assembled on the second floor in non-industrial building! In addition to this A.N.Tupolev had not enough skilled workers.
Despite all odds, ANT-4 was ready in time. It was 'extracted' from the second floor, through removed building wall on August 11, 1925. In October 1925 assembly was finished on the Moscow Central Airfield. On 26 November, 1925 first flight was performed by pilot A.I.Tomashevskij. It took 7min to carry out preliminary evaluation.
Following the flight, some changes were introduced into design. Next flight (35min, 15 February, 1926) was a complete success, and on March 26 ANT-4 fulfilled factory trials. Special representatives from Ostekhburo, TsAGI and NOA were present. Pilots A.I.Tomashevskij and N.N.Morozov suggested some minor modifications, and on June 11 State Acceptance Trials started. On July 2 unanimous conclusion: 'First Class Aircraft' lited green light to production of ANT-4/TB-1.
But it took some time before series manufacturing started. Prototype had single set of controls, carried no defensive veapons, no radio, no navigation (and photo) equipment. Original Lorraine-Dietrich engines were replaced by BMW-VI. Following replacement by license built copy M-17 was scheduled.
Predecessors Modifications
None. First aircraft of the class in the World. TB-1 'Dubler'

References Links
  • "History of aircraft construction in the USSR" by V.B.Shavrov, Vol.1 p.370-372;
  • ANT-4, Tupolev
  • TB-1, Tupolev
  • Technical data
    Type ANT-4, TB-1
    Function Bomber prototype
    Year 1925
    Crew 3-4?
    Engines 2*450hp Napier-Lion
    Length 17.30m
    Wingspan 29.6m
    Wing area 121.5m2
    Empty weight 4014kg
    Loaded weight 6200kg
    Wing load 51.0kg/m2
    Power load 6.9kg/hp
    Speed at 0m 196km/h
    Speed at 3000m 140km/h
    Landing Speed 85km/h
    Landing Roll 350m
    Takeoff Run 260m
    Turn time 47sec
    Range 1900km
    Ceiling 4163m
    3000m 23.2min
    Flown as an unarmed prototype
    Created April 07, 1998 by Alexandre Savine