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Soviet Polikarpov U-2 bomber, trainer; Polikarpov Po-2 bomber, trainer


Polikarpov Po-2 bomber:
USSR's Polikarpov Po-2 bomber


The Polikarpov U-2 was to be a replacement for the U-1 trainer.1 Nikolai Polikarpov designed the plane in 1927.3

Russian troops called the U-2 the Kukuruzhnik (corn cutter).1,2

In 1944 the U-2 was renamed the Po-2 to recognize Polikarpov's role in its creation.1 He had died and this was to honor him.2


The Po-2 had a composite skeleton and a fabric cover.3


The engine did not have a cowling in most variants.1


The pilot and the rear passenger each had a windscreen.1 A few models had enclosed cabins.1


The wings each had ailerons that were connected by cables.1 The tips of the lower wings had skids that protected the wings if the undercarriage failed.1

The wings were in a staggered layout.1 There was a single set of struts bracing the wings.1


There were cables that went along the fuselage that connected to the elevators.1 One aircraft had the controls connected to the control column.1


The rudder was tall with a broad chord.1 This was linked to the cockpit by control cables.1


The U-2PK prototype first flew in 1927.2 It had poor flight characteristics and the redesigned prototype flew on January 7, 1928.2


After World War II production was resumed.1

  • Total: >20,0003, ~33,0002
    • Manufacturer: State Industries3
    • Production: 1928 - 19441, 1928 - 19523

Invasion by Germany

By June 1941 there had been 13,000 U-2s produced.1,2


A total of 80 variants were produced.1 Some of these were training, observation, light attack, night bombers, psychological warfare, crop dusting, float plane, and ambulances.1

  • Polikarpov U-2PK: Prototype.2
  • Polikarpov U-2 / Polikarpov Po-2:
  • Polikarpov U-2GN: Loudspeaker equipped.2
  • Polikarpov U-2LSh: A light Shturmovik.2
  • Polikarpov U-2LNB: Light bomber.2 Engine was silenced for night raids.2
  • Polikarpov U-2NAK: Air observation and night artillery direction.2
  • Polikarpov U-2P: Seaplane.2
  • Polikarpov U-2S: Ambulance.2
  • Polikarpov U-2SP: Three seats.2
  • Polikarpov U-2SPL: Passenger carrier.2 Rear cabin was enclosed for two passengers.2
  • Polikarpov U-2VS / Polikarpov Po-2VS:
  • Polikarpov U-2UT: Trainer.2
  • Polikarpov Po-2ShS: Had an enclosed cabin and could cary the pilot and three passengers.1
  • Polikarpov Po-2SKF: Could carry two stretcher patients under the wings in pods.1
  • ???: Had floats installed with a Wright Cyclone 720 HP engine.1 Set altitude records for seaplanes in 1937.1


Finland, Germany, Romania, and the Soviet Union used the Polikarpov U-2 during World War II.2

Approximately 100 air regiments were equipped with the U-2.2

Eastern Front

Some U-2s flew nighttime nuisance raids against the Axis forces in Russia.1

After World War II

Production was resumed and NATO designated it "Mule" in 1954.1,2

Poland and the Soviet Union produced the Po-2s from 1948 to 1953.1

Korean War

Po-2s were used in the nighttime nuisance raids against UN forces in the Korean War.1


  Polikarpov U-2 / Po-22,3
Type Trainer2,3, Multi purpose utility2
Crew 23, 2 or 32
Engine (Type) M.113, Shvetsov M-112
Cylinders Radial 52,3
Cooling Air3
HP 100 - 1252, 1103
Propeller blades 22
Span 37' 5"3
Upper wing span 37' 5"2
11.4 m2
Lower wing span 34' 11.5"2
10.65 m2
Length 26' 9"2,3
8.15 m2
Height 9' 7"2, 9' 11"3
2.92 m2
Wing area  
Empty 1,350 - 1,400 lb2
612 - 635 kg2
Loaded 1,962 - 2,167 lb2, 2,167 lb3
890 - 983 kg2
Speed @ sea level  
Speed 91 mph3
Minimum speed 40 mph2
64 kph2
Maximum speed 93 mph2
150 kph2
Landing speed  
Service ceiling 13,120'3, 13,125'2
4,000 m2
Range 248 - 329 miles2, 267 miles3
400 - 530 km2
Armament 1: MG3
Rear cockpit 1: 7.62 mm MG2
Bombs 550 lb3
Under wings 550 lb ordnance2
250 kg ordnance2
  Polikarpov U-2VS1
Type Trainer1, Bomber1
Crew 21
Engine (Type) M-111
Cylinders Radial 51
Cooling Air1
HP 1001
Propeller blades 21
Span 37' 5"1
11.4 m1
Upper wing span  
Lower wing span  
Length 26' 9"1
8.17 m1
Height 10' 2"1
3.1 m1
Wing area 357 ft2 1
33.15 m2 1
Empty 1,397 lb1
635 kg1
Loaded 1,958 lb1
890 kg1
Speed @ sea level 97 mph1
156 kph1
Minimum speed  
Maximum speed  
Landing speed 43 mph1
69 kph1
Service ceiling 13,000'1
4,000 m1
Range 250 miles1
400 km1
Rear cockpit 1: 7.7 mm ShKAS MG1
Under wings 260 lb bombs1
120 kg bombs1
AND 4: RS-82 Rockets1


  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  3. World War II Airplanes Volume 2, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site