|Tupolev R-6 multi-role aircraft|
|First flight||20 October 1923|
|Primary users||VVS (Voyenno-Vozdushnyye Sily – Soviet air force)
|Developed from||Tupolev TB-1|
The Tupolev ANT-7, known by the VVS as the Tupolev R-6 ( R – razvedchik – reconnaissance), was a reconnaissance aircraft and escort fighter of the Soviet Union. The R-6 traces its roots back to early 1928 when the Soviet Air Force needed a long-range multirole aircraft. The requirements were that it could be used for long-range transport, defensive patrolling, reconnaissance, light bombing and torpedo attacks.
Under Ivan Pogosski and guided by Andrei Tupolev, TsAGI developed the ANT-7 from the Tupolev TB-1 by scaling it down by about one third. Power for the ANT-7 was intended to come from two 388 kW (520 hp) – 455 kW (610 hp) Hispano Suiza engines 313 kW (420 hp) Bristol Jupiter engines, but the protoype was powered by two or two 373 kW (500 hp) – 529 kW (709 hp) BMW VI engines.
The first flight of the ANT-7 took place on 11 September 1929, piloted by Mikhail Gromov. Flight tests started in March 1930 after TsAGi decided to postpone them until after the winter. That summer, the NII-VVS (Nauchno-Issledovatel'skiy Institut Voyenno-Vozdooshnykh Seel – air force scientific test institute) conducted state tests which revealed tailplane buffeting, which was alleviated by fitting enlarged elevators. The next flight encountered radiator damage and an engine failure, but in spite of this, the ANT-7 passed the state acceptance tests.
Production aircraft were designated R-6 by the Soviet Air Force, the first production aircraft was rolled off the GAZ-22, (GAZ – Gosudarstvenny Aviatsionnyy Zavod – state aviation plant/factory), assembly line in November 1931, a year after production started. Another 410 aircraft were made during the following three years: 385 at GAZ-22 in Moscow (one of these was the R-6 Limuzin), five at GAZ-31 in Taganrog ( floatplanes and designated KR-6P), and 20 more at GAZ-12 in Komsomolsk-on-Amur.
The standard aircraft crew consisted of pilot, gunner and observer and was able to carry 113.4 kg (250 lb) of bombs for up to 965.6 km (600 mi). Some were built with floats as the MP-6, (also known as KR-6P), for maritime patrol duties. Another variant was the KR-6 (KR – Kreiser Razveyedchik – cruiser reconnaissance), which had two PV-2 machine guns and a second gunner, later relegated to training duties.
By 1935, the R-6 was becoming obsolescent, so several were transferred to Aeroflot and Avia Arktika, which used them to carry passengers and cargo in Siberia before the Great Patriotic War, designated PS-7-2M17 (the "2M17" showed that the aircraft were powered by two Mikulin M-17s), or as MP-6-2M17 if floats were attached.
Data from:The Osprey Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft 1875 – 1995
Data from The Osprey Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft 1875 – 1995
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