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Pegas
The nose of the fourth prototype Pegas
Role Ground attack aircraft
National origin Soviet Union
Manufacturer Tomashyevich
First flight 1942
Status Prototypes only
Number built 4

The Pegasus (commonly known as "Pegas") was a World War II Soviet ground attack prototype aircraft built before the Battle of Kursk (1943), designed to destroy tanks and German vehicles. The second prototype (which had a sharp nose) destroyed a few German vehicles during the Battle of Kursk.

Development and design

Dmitri Lyudvigovich Tomashyevich was the chief designer on the Polikarpov I-180 fighter before the crash of the prototype, killing test pilot Valery Chkalov lead to Tomashyevich being arrested and sent to a NKVD run Special Prison in January 1939, where he assisted Andrei Tupolev in the design of the Tupolev Tu-2.[1]

In August 1941, Tomashyevich was evacuated to Omsk in Siberia where he was put in charge of his own design bureau. In 1942, inspired by the success of the simple Polikarpov Po-2 biplane as a night ground-attack aircraft, Tomashyevich was authorised to design and build a simple ground attack aircraft that would be much more capable than the Po-2 but could be built at the same price.[2]

The resulting design, named the Pegas (Pegasus), was a low winged monoplane with a fixed tailwheel undercarriage. It was of wooden construction, with pine frames and birch plywood skins. The pilot sat in an open cockpit which was protected by mild-steel armour plating designed to withstand 12.7 mm bullets. It was powered by two Shvetsov M-11F engines (the same powerplant used by the Po-2) and was armed with two 23 mm cannon and a heavy machine gun in the nose, with the option of replacing the cannon by up to 500 kg (1,100 lb) of bombs.[2][3]

The first prototype made its maiden flight in late 1942. It proved to be overweight and underpowered, although the aircraft's handling was acceptable. It was hoped to test one of the prototypes at the Kursk front, but the distance from Omsk to the frontline made that impractical, and development of the type was abandoned after four prototypes were built.[3][4]

Specifications

Data from Russian Aircraft since 1940[5]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 8.72 m (28 ft 7 in)
  • Wingspan: 16.63 m (54 ft 7 in)
  • Wing area: 26.6 m2 (286 sq ft)
  • Gross weight: 2,150 kg (4,740 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Shvetsov M-11F 5-cylinder air-cooled radial engine, 100 kW (140 hp) each

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 172 km/h (107 mph; 93 kn) at sea level
  • Range: 600 km (373 mi; 324 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 2,620 m (8,596 ft)
  • Time to altitude: 3.5 min to 1,000 m (3,300 ft)

Armament

  • 1 12.7 mm Berezin UBK machine gun and
  • 2 23 mm Volkov-Yartsev VYa-23 cannon or
  • 500 kg (1,100 lb) bombs
  • References

    1. Gunston 1995, pp. 373–374.
    2. 2.0 2.1 Gunston 1995, p. 374.
    3. 3.0 3.1 Alexander 1975, p. 544.
    4. Gunston 1995, p. 375.
    5. Alexander 1975, p. 545.
    • Alexander, Jean. Russian Aircraft since 1940. London: Purnell Book Services, 1975.
    • Gunston, Bill. The Osprey Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft 1875–1995. London: Osprey, 1995. ISBN 1-85532-405-9.

    External links

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