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Tupolev R-6 multi-role aircraft
Role Experimental aircraft
Manufacturer Tupolev
Designer TsAGI
First flight 20 October 1923[1]
Introduction 1930s
Retired 1941
Status Retired
Primary users VVS[1] (Voyenno-Vozdushnyye Sily – Soviet air force)
Avia Arktika[1]
Produced 1931–1934[1]
Number built 411[1]
Developed from Tupolev TB-1[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.

Design and development[]

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.[1] 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 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.

Operational history[]

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[1]

The OKB designation of the project and prototype, powered by two 544.4 kW (730 hp) BMW VI V-12 engines.
(R – Razvyedchik – reconnaissnace) reconnaissance version, powered by two 544.4 kW (730 hp) Mikulin M-17F V-12 engines. first flight 1929, trials 1930.
(KR – Kreiser Razvyedchik – cruiser reconnaissnace) escort fighter version 1934, powered by two 507.1 kW (680 hp) Mikulin M-17 V-12 engines, fitted with two PV-2 machine guns and a second gunner.
Alternative designation of the MR-6 floatplane version.
(Morskoj Paassazhirskii – maritime reconnaissance)Civil floatplane version, powered by two 507.1 kW (680 hp) Mikulin M-17 V-12 engines..
(Morskoj razvyedchik – maritime reconnaissance) R-6, torpedo bomber version, 1932.
(Paassazhirskii – passenger transport) Civil transport version PS-7 2M-17, cargo and passenger transport, first versions open cockpit, one version enclosed.
(Paassazhirskii – passenger transport) Civil cargo and passenger transport version.
R-6 Limuzin
Nine seat civil transport version with a closed cockpit and a seven-seat cabin with glass windows and also a luggage compartment. Powered by two 544.4 kW (730 hp) BMW VI V-12 engines. First flown in July 1933 the sole R-6L crashed on 5 September 1933 as a result of a maintenance error.


Military Operators
 Soviet Union
Civil Operators
 Soviet Union
  • Aeroflot
  • Avia Arktika

Specifications (R-6)[]

Data from The Osprey Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft 1875 – 1995[1]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 4
  • Length: 15.06 m (49 ft 5 in)
  • Wingspan: 23.2 m (76 ft 1 in)
  • Wing area: 80 m2 (860 sq ft)
  • Empty weight: 3,856 kg (8,501 lb)
  • Gross weight: 6,472 kg (14,268 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Mikulin M-17F V-12 water-cooled piston engines, 540 kW (720 hp) each


  • Maximum speed: 230 km/h (143 mph; 124 kn) at sea level 216 km/h (134 mph) at 3,000 m (9,843 ft)
  • Range: 800 km (497 mi; 432 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 5,620 m (18,438 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 2.7 m/s (530 ft/min)
  • Wing loading: 81 kg/m2 (17 lb/sq ft)
  • Power/mass: 0.170 kW/kg (0.10 hp/lb)
  • Take-off distance: – 160 m (525 ft) / 11 seconds
  • Landing distance: – 250 m (820 ft) at 110 km/h (68 mph)


  • 1x 7.7 mm (0.303 in) calibre PV-2 machine gun
  • See also[]


    1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Gunston, Bill (1995). The Osprey Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft 1875 – 1995. London: Osprey Publishing. pp. 324–325. ISBN 1 85532 405 9. 
    • Duffy, Paul and Andrei Kandalov. (1996) Tupolev The Man and His aircraft. Warrendale, PA: Society of Automotive Engineers.
    • The initial version of this article was based on material from It has been released under the GFDL by the copyright holder.

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