The naval reconnaissance Be-4 was a significant step forward in the domestic seaplane engineering. At the time of its creation, this flying boat was in no way inferior, and in a number of parameters it surpassed the best foreign aircraft of a similar purpose. Confirmation of the successful design of this aircraft is the fact that the Be-4 was the only Soviet seaplane that was mass-produced during the war. However, designed for service on ships of the Great Ocean fleet", which they did not have time to build before the start of the war, the Be-4 was practically" without work. "And the naval battles of World War II, having become the pinnacle in the development of ejection reconnaissance aircraft, became at the same time their finale. But first things first.
At the end of 1938, an ambitious program to build a large sea and ocean fleet began to gain momentum. In the third five-year plan (1938-1940) in the USSR were to begin the construction of the largest ships - battleships and heavy cruisers. It was planned to build 15 battleships, 43 heavy and light cruisers and 2 aircraft carrier. And all this armada should have needed ship-based airplanes of various classes - from scouts to bombers. It was something to hold the breath designer aviators. In 1938, the battleships "Soviet Union" and "Soviet Ukraine" were laid on the stocks, heavy cruisers armed with 305-mm guns were being developed at full speed, and in the autumn of 1939, they began to build two lead ships of this type, the Kronstadt and Sevastopol. Also reconnaissance aircraft were to be based on Kirov light cruisers under construction and armored destroyer leaders being developed.
All these giants were supposed to have an 2-4 aircraft for reconnaissance and shooting adjustment; these aircraft were to be launched from a catapult. The ship reconnaissance-biplan KOR-31, developed by the Beriev Design Bureau and built at the Taganrog aircraft plant No. XXUMX, by the time the naval command was already considered unsatisfactory, therefore, it demanded a new car, designated the CV-1.
The use of aircraft based on ships has been practiced in the Russian Navy since its inception aviation. Back in World War I, successful experiments were undertaken using airplanes from hydrotransports, called aircraft skates. In 1930, the first catapults and aircraft starting from them appeared on the Black Sea. The K-3 catapult and the XD-55 (KR-1) scout, developed by the German designer Heinkel, were used on the battleship Paris Commune and the cruiser Red Caucasus. The ejection unit on the ships received the designation "Warhead-6" (warhead-6). In 1934, the development of a domestic naval reconnaissance began. Two years later, the first domestic aircraft of this purpose, KOR-1, was created.
Now, under the sunset of the 1938, a new car was required with significantly higher flight performance and free from the design flaws of its predecessor. A small hangar was designed to store ship scouts aboard battleships and cruisers, which imposed restrictions on the dimension of the new machine. The KOR-2 should have a length of no more than 9,5 m, a wingspan of no more than 10,4 m. The flight weight is within 2500 kg. The aircraft was planned to be used as a reconnaissance aircraft and light bomber, for which it was necessary to equip it with the necessary armament and equipment. If necessary, the KOR-2 was supposed to be used as a rescue plane, for which the car needed good seaworthiness. It was under such contradictory requirements that it was proposed to develop an aircraft.
The first to proceed to the development was the designer Igor Chetvirikov, who then headed the department of marine experimental aircraft construction (OMOS) of the aircraft plant No. XXUMX in Sevastopol. Of the two options proposed by him - boating and float - at the meeting of the Scientific Committee 45 of December 21, preference was given to the version of the flying boat. The project was a high-profile strut, equipped with an inline water-cooled engine M-1936 or M-103. According to the calculations, this version of the KOR-105 should have a maximum speed of up to 2 km / h.
A couple of weeks later, a draft of the experimental department of the Leningrad aircraft plant No. XXUMX was submitted for consideration. Its author was designer Vasily Nikitin, famous for a number of successful sport aircraft. His car was made according to the scheme of a single-float biplane equipped with an M-23 aircraft engine, and in general was a development of the HB-62 aircraft. The aircraft designer Vadim Shavrov, also a big fan of hydroplanes, developed his own version. In Shavrov's variant, the M-4 engine was located on the fuselage (boat), the elongated shaft was connected with a propeller mounted on the pylon through a bevel gear. This scheme had a number of advantages, although it involved certain difficulties in fine-tuning the propeller motor group.
Despite the above authors' initiatives, the fate of the project of the new ship aircraft was unexpectedly decided at the beginning of 1939. By a joint order of the People's Commissariats of the aviation industry and the Navy from 27 in February 1939, the development task for the COR-2 was transferred to the design team of George Beriev. The reason for this decision was primarily the fact that the Beriev Design Bureau had by that time considerable practical experience in creating such machines. It continued debugging the KOR-1 and was familiar enough with the catapults. In early spring, a technical task was sent to Taganrog, which soon became the object of heated debates between the representatives of the Navy and the designers. Beriev offered the Navy a flying boat project (there was also a float version, but it was quickly rejected) with a wingspan of 12 meters and a length of 11 meters. In the case of reducing the size Beriev did not guarantee the provision of satisfactory seaworthiness. Sailors, constrained by the lack of free space on the ship, demanded a more compact machine. Nevertheless, Beriev managed to defend his version, which subsequently had a very positive effect on the qualities of the aircraft.
The final approval of the ship reconnaissance project took place on 9 on June 1939 of the year, however, there were quite a few different casuistic hooks, and therefore, in the final form, the technical task was transferred to Taganrog on July 31 of 1939 of the year. Preliminary design completed on August 7. In this final form, the KOR-2 (also called MS-9) was a strut-top, high-profile boat with an air-cooled air-cooled engine M-63. In the autumn of 1940, the first copy of the KOR-2 was completed and sent for flight tests. October 8 plane made its first flight. A few months went fine-tuning the machine and preparing for state tests. This final test of the qualities of the new ship reconnaissance was carried out in Sevastopol by the forces of the Institute of Military Investigation of the Navy during the period from February 2 to February 18 1941. During the testing period, a second flight vehicle was manufactured, which also took part in them.
The overall rating of KOR-2 was positive. It was acknowledged that the prototype aircraft complied with the requirements of the Naval Aviation Administration, it passed the tests and was recommended for use. According to the piloting technique, the new machine was recognized as simple and could easily have been mastered by pilots who had flown earlier on the MBR-2. In addition to serving as a ship reconnaissance aircraft, the KOR-2 was planned to be used as an aircraft for the protection of water areas, for which it was proposed to increase the capacity of gas tanks and, accordingly, the range. For more effective use as a diving bomber, the total bomb load was proposed to increase from 200 kg to 400 kg.
No serious remarks were found during the tests, however, the testers, captains Reidel and Yakovlev, were alerted by the presence of a steep planning glide path at the KOR-2, which they considered a disadvantage. It was not without reason that the pilots assumed that when flying in calm weather and especially at night, landing on the KOR-2 would be difficult. In calm on stagnant water, “mirrors” are formed, when it is difficult for the pilot, in the absence of reference points, to determine the true altitude. This phenomenon is well known to the pilots of seaplanes, it has caused many accidents and disasters. Further testing of the KOR-2 was supposed to be made from a catapult, the manufacture of which was finished by that time at the Kirov Leningrad plant. Launching the ship reconnaissance and preparation for serial production was transferred to the plant number XXUMX, located in the north of the Moscow region.
The fact that the series was supposed to be in a new place was associated with another perturbation of the Soviet aircraft industry. Already at the end of 1939, the marine aircraft decided to move closer to Moscow, for this purpose, in the town of Savelova on the Volga, an aircraft plant No. XXUMX was organized. 30 March 4 was followed by the next decision of the government to establish a new enterprise on the basis of the Savelovsky plant - plant No. XXUMX. In February, the 1940 of the year was transferred there to the Beriev Design Bureau, and also a reserve was delivered on the KOR-288 aircraft, to deploy mass production. As for the Taganrog Aviation Plant No. XXUMX, this enterprise was reoriented to manufacture the BB-1941 aircraft of the P.O. Sukhoi - later these cars became known as Su-2.
Originally, it was planned to build 20 copies of the COR-2 copies at a new location. Already in the course of this work, the new name of the Be-4 aircraft was applied. Under such designation the car passed under many official documents. Nevertheless, the sailors habitually continued to use the old designation.
The first production car was completed on 11 August 1941 of the year. From the experienced serial device differed installed engine M-62. Although less powerful than the M-63, this engine had a more substantial working life and, consequently, greater reliability. The aircraft was equipped with an emergency dumping mechanism for the flashlight and the pilot's armored boot, borrowed from the GTS flying boat. There was already a war, the factory was in a hurry to hand over the military machine to the military and in every way forced the tests. 9 September, during the sixth flight, an accident occurred. The plane was piloted by Major Kotikov that day, except for him were the engineer of the OKB Morozov and the 1 technician of the rank Sukachev. During the approach, a steep glide slope KOR-2 affected. In conditions of calm and stagnant water, the pilot fell under the deception of the “mirror” and the flying boat at high speed crashed into the water. Managed to save two crew members, a military technician Sukachev was killed along with the machine. September 20 held the first flight of the second production machine.
In parallel with the work on the aircraft and engaged in catapults. The question was solved with them as follows. Along with the task of creating such launch systems in domestic factories, K-12-type catapults were purchased from Ernst Heinkel. In the spring of 1939, the first of the acquired K-12 was tested with the KOR-1 aircraft. Somewhat later, tests of the ZK-1 catapult, made according to the design of the designer Bukhvostov, began at the Leningrad plant of lifting and transport equipment. A year later, the catapult of the Nikolaev plant, designated H-1, was built and tested. All these mechanisms were oriented initially under the KOR-1 scout. For the KOR-2, which has a large take-off weight, improvements were required. The next Leningrad catapult, ZK-2B (it was lighter and slightly shorter than ZK-1) was specially adapted for the KOR-2. We installed a booster with falling posts, increased the diameter of the starting and brake ropes from 33 to 36 millimeters. It was increased pressure in the working cylinder, which allows to bring the starting acceleration to 4,6g. After two dozen throws of a three-ton blank, the experiments continued with the plane. The KOR-2 test from the ZK-2B catapult mounted on a barge was conducted in the Oranienbaum area, from July 23 to August 6 1941. There was a war, German planes were snooping nearby, and therefore it was quite possible to equate work with combat. Total completed 12 starts. With a flight weight of 2440 kg and flaps rejected on 30 °, the COR-2 normally went into the air even at reduced speed - on the order of 115 km / h.
Soon the first meeting with the Germans took place. Plant No.288 was evacuated, equipment and unfinished KOR-2 were sent to the east. On the way, an echelon attacked fascist planes. No particular damage was caused, however, a few bullet holes in the unfinished cars were still in memory. Initially, the factory farm was sent to the Gorky region, but there was no place for production there, and the trains continued to move east. The next stop was Omsk, here, on the basis of Aviation Plant No. 166, work continued on improving the KOR-2. During this period, the design bureau developed a land modification of the ship reconnaissance aircraft. Some of the cars under construction received enhanced offensive weapons. Instead of the course SHKAS, they were mounted on two large-caliber Berezin (BK) machine guns. Although five planes were to be assembled from the existing groundwork, a total of 9 КОР-2 was built in Omsk. They tested the finished cars on the Irtysh.
In May, 1943, the design office of Georgy Beriev, moved to the city of Krasnoyarsk, to the base of Aviation Plant No. XXUMX. Beriyev was appointed Chief Designer of Aviation Plant No. 477 by order of the People's Commissar of the aircraft industry Shahurin from 3 May 1943. The enterprise itself was a small enterprise, most recently it was the repair shops of the Glavsevmorput aviation. The plant was located next to the Yenisei River, on the bank of the Abakanskaya channel. The land area, separated from the river by the river, was known as Molokov Island, there was the board and buildings of the above-mentioned organization that was in charge of the flights of aircraft with the words "AviaArktika". Obviously, precisely such a neighborhood led to the fact that two KOR-477 were transferred to the Glavsevmorut route aviation. The polar pilot Malkov carried out the acceptance tests of several serial machines, and he selected two, the most liked ones, for his department. The aircraft overtook along the Yenisei to the north, where they were supposed to be used to protect the polar bases. The facts of the combat use of the KOR-2 in the area, however, are not known.
In Krasnoyarsk, work was continued to improve the COR-2. Like many domestic combat aircraft, they received the RS-82 missiles for service. There were experiments with the installation of eight PC-82, four under each plane of the wing. The first such aircraft was the KOR-2 №28807. Subsequently, only two missiles were placed under each wing. Bomb armaments were also increased - in the version of the KOR-2 dive-bomber, now they took four FAB-100 planes, and in the version of the anti-submarine aircraft - four PLUB-100. The ship reconnaissance aircraft was clearly turning into a strike aircraft, but the flight range, so important for flights over the sea, was not enough. Therefore, from the middle of the 1943, the KOR-2 was equipped with additional fuel tanks with a total capacity of 300 liters. Two such tanks were placed inside the boat, along the sides, in the center of gravity area. The range increased, the plane could now act on a radius of 575 km. Weight and the unit itself, take-off weight exceeded three tons. When it was necessary to fulfill the next requirement of combat pilots, to increase the firepower of the tail-mounted installation, the designers were forced to compromise. A large-caliber UBT was installed on the VUB-3 turret at the tail gunner instead of ShKAS, but in exchange, one exchange gun had to be removed. In this version, KOR-2 was supplied by the factory in 1944 and in 1945, up to the end of production. Perhaps, one more trouble connected with the phenomenon of the “mirror” should be attributed to the Krasnoyarsk events. 27 June 1944, at nine in the evening, the Be-4 crash occurred near the Abakanskaya channel. In Krasnoyarsk during this period of the year there are practically “white nights”, there was enough light, but the sun was already quite low and blinded by the pilot. Completing the transfer flight, the pilot LII of the Air Force of the Navy Anosov V.N. made a mistake in alignment, and the plane crashed into the water. The pilot was thrown out of the cockpit, but remained in the sunken plane and was unable to escape the navigator of the naval aviation N. D. Shevchenko.
The first in the summer of 1942, the ship reconnaissance ships received the Black Sea Fleet. However, it was not even possible to dream about serving on warships, and especially about ship launches. The difficult situation of the first two years of the war led to the unequivocal conclusion that the catapults and the planes on them are just overweight and hamper the maneuver of the ships. By order of the leadership of the fleet all the property of the warhead-6 was removed until better times. Aircraft KOR-1 were lost in the defense of the Crimea, only one scout managed to ship to the rear, in the school of sea pilots.
KOR-2 arrived at the Black Sea Fleet in August 1942. At first, four cars, consolidated into a separate adjustment link, were based in Tuapse. In the autumn, after the crews finally mastered their new cars, the four entered the 60 squadron and relocated to Poti. Together with a dozen of the MBR-2, the aircraft were used here as base reconnaissance aircraft. The main task of the squadron was the reconnaissance and protection of the coast, the search for enemy submarines and floating mines. There were meetings with German aircraft. Seaplanes Do-24 and BV-138 were based in the bays occupied by the Germans of Sevastopol, acted in the interests of their fleet, guarded the ships and conducted long-range reconnaissance. After seeing the KOR-2 for the first time, the Germans were quite intrigued by an unfamiliar Soviet machine and tried to attack them. According to the memories of the Kor-2 A. Efremov nilot, there were at least a dozen air battles with fascist flying boats.
There is information about the detection of the KOR-2 submarines. 30 June two Be-4, patrolling the Poti naval base area, found at the coordinates: latitude 42 ° 15 ', longitude 47 ° 7', a suspicious object on which they dropped four anti-submarine bombs. There were similar cases in the following months.
In 1944, the core 2 was used as part of the 82 th squadron. The tasks were the same, however, the main task was to patrol the coast and search for mines. 1 July 1944, the Navy Commissariat issued an order to form the 24 squadron of naval aviation on the Black Sea. From this point on, the service for which they were created began for the KOR-2. For several years, the aircraft were on board the cruisers "Molotov" and "Voroshilov", which worked out the ejection launches. It is known that the Spitfire fighter also participated in these experiments. At the final stage of the war, the KOR-2 aircraft appeared in the Baltic. Their use here was quite episodic, mostly it was a coast survey or rescue mission.
22 July 1944 of the year, after attacking the fascist ships, the Il-2 attack aircraft from the 8 Guards ground attack regiment made an emergency landing in the Gulf of Finland. Armored attack aircraft quickly sank. Kuznetsov pilot and air gunner Strizhak moved to the rescue inflatable boat. They were looking for their own and others. A pair of Fw-190 tried to attack a small boat, but was driven away by the four La-5. A little later, our fighters brought the KOR-2 to the place that flew to the aid of the KOR-XNUMX. Major Aparin, who piloted the reconnaissance aircraft, found the people in distress and delivered them to the airfield of naval aviation located on Gora-Valdai lake.
Little is known about the use of ejection scouts after 1945. The Soviet Union in the postwar period had 6-th quite modern cruisers, which were designed for the installation of catapults and aircraft. Two cruisers, the Kirov and Maxim Gorky, had the Red Banner Baltic Fleet. The Molotov and Voroshilov cruisers were exploited in the Black Sea, and the Kaganovich and Kalinin cruisers in the Pacific. In the second half of the forties, interest in ejection aircraft throughout the world began to fade. Helicopters began to be used to provide ships for near reconnaissance. In the Soviet Navy for the first time the helicopter landed on the deck of the cruiser "Maxim Gorky" 7 December 1950 of the year. It was a small Ka-8.
It should be said that even in 1940, the Central Design Bureau of the MSB was given the task of creating a new ship reconnaissance KOR-3. This machine was also developed in two versions - a float plane and a flying boat. It was planned to use the engine M-64Р, which had the power 1200 hp According to the task, the new machine should have the dimension KOR-2. Problems with getting the motor M-64, forced to rework the project under the serial M-87 with power 950 hp The appearance in the 1941 of the new catapult H-1, allowed to increase the take-off weight of the new machine, which the designers did not fail to take advantage of. Now, the M-89 engine with 1200 horsepower was considered as a power plant. There was a second option, which included the use of the M-107 motor (1500 hp) with coaxial screws. But all the work on the KOR-3 was stopped with the start of the war.
In 1945, they returned to the topic of the ejection scout. KB presented a draft aircraft CL-145. Externally, the new car was similar to the Be-4 and was equipped with an ASH-21 motor. Despite the fact that the KL-145 remained in the project, it became the prototype of the lightweight, cohesive Be-8 aircraft.
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