I am glad I could finish a new GOT topic before this year ends. The original text is from airwar.ru. As ist is not possible to read anything really interesting about this aicraft in media in English or German language, you need to reed this. The trouble is, the text is a bit lengthy. The translation was very straining. The old Babelfish translator does not exist any more. Automatic website translating by the Google translator looked good at the first sight, but was nearly unusable when you look closer. The senstence construction never is correct. The German PROMT translator delivered acceptable results. But there are still limits by rare words and abbreviations. Thank god Russian Wikipedia and other websites nowadays are good enough to close the gaps. Now I hope you like to read about
The Beriyev Be-4 rsp. KOR-2
In 1936-37, the Soviet Union developed first a ten-year, then a five-year construction program "Big Sea and ocean fleet." In his speech at the first session of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR in January 1938, the chairman of the SNK SSSR (People's Commissars of the USSR = Prime Minister) V. M. Molotov stated: "the mighty Soviet state should, appropriate to its interests, worthy of our great cause, have sea and ocean-going fleet."
The first variant of the shipbuilding program in the People's Commissariat of Defense of the USSR appeared in 1937, then became constantly reviewed and adjusted. The scale of the planned construction is amazing. According to the "Plan of military shipbuilding" to January 1, 1946 there should have been built 15 battleships, 16 heavy and 28 light cruisers, two aircraft carriers, 20 flotilla leaders, 144 destroyers, 96 patrol boats, 204 minesweepers, 28 minelayers and 14 net layers, 6 monitors and gunboats, 348 torpedo boats, 115 submarine hunters and 336 submarines.
Basis for the future "Big ocean fleet" had become battleships and heavy cruisers which needed catapult seaplanes as onboard intelligence-spotters.
The main purpose of such an aircraft was reconnaissance and artillery fire adjustment, in addition, they were to be used as anti-submarine aircraft, as well as for lighting-up targets and pickup points for ancillary purposes in the conduct of naval artillery fire at night. Flying from shore bases, they can perform anti-submarine and rescue tasks, as well as near-sea exploration.
The aircraft in use at this time, the KOR-1, did not satisfy the navy, so a new catapult scout-spotter had to be created parallel with the construction of ships. At the end of 1938, there came the task to develop a promising new catapult seaplane for heavy vessels under the designation KOR-2. Drafts of this project were not only provided by G. M. Beriyev, but also by such designers as I. V. Chetverikov, V. V. Nikitin and V. B. Shavrov.
However, already 27 February 1939, a joint decision of NKAP (= Ministery of Aviation Industry) and NK BMF (= Ministery of the Navy) decided to transfer the task of designing and building the KOR-2 to the Central Design Bureau for Marine aircraft (CDB MS) led by G. M. Beriyev. Arguments in favor of this was that CDB MS had experience in designing and debugging the KOR-1, and it was well familiar with catapults and the problems of the catapult launch. But not everyone was so rosy about that, noting that „Construction Bureau (KB) #31“ (Beriyev's, RT) sophisticatedly only worked on naval aircraft KOR-2 and for to release its substitute MBR-7. It had no further jobs, because during the period from 1934 to 1939 the bureau released several unsuccessful seaplanes and was rated as poor. In fact it was about to continue in the future or the KB would disbanded, so the KOR-2 was simply "must" to be successfull. Georgy Michailovich himself did not talk a long speech about it, saying simply: "None of the" childhood diseases in the KOR-1 should afflict the KOR-2."
According to the tactical and technical requirements, the KOR-2 was to have a full length not more than 9.5 meters, wingspan of no more than 11.0 m (folded width - 4.5 m). Flight weight should not exceed 2,600 kg. Range - 1,200 km. The draft project was developed in two versions - a flying boat and a floatplane. As basic version the flying boat was offered, with what the customer agreed, but the aircraft's external dimensions caused objections (length 10.4 m, wingspan of 12.0 m, width with folded wings 4.7m). Representatives of the fleet insisted on the sizes specified in the technical sheet, but Beriyev managed to defend his version, saying it that would otherwise not be sufficient to ensure the seaworthiness of the KOR-2.
On May 20, 1939 at a meeting of the Supreme Military Council of the navy the seaplane plan of 1939-1940 was considered. KOR-2 was seen as a promising type of seaplane "capable of working closely with the navy and to ensure the continuity of actions". It was decided to further develop into the advanced machine KOR-3.
Approved terms of reference for the KOR-2 arrived in Taganrog July 31, 1939. Next design and construction of the aircraft, which had received the internal designation TsKB MS-9, went at a good pace. On August 7 the conceptual design was presented, January 21, 1940 the construction layout. Contours of the boat were worked out on a dynamically similar model in the hydraulic canals of TsAGI institute from January to March 1940.
The final version of the KOR-2 was designed as a full metal two-step flying boat with a parasol wing type. The wing consisted of the airfoil and two consoles,... (the continuation goes „and the consoles evolved“, sorry, I didn't get it, RT). As power plant the air-cooled engine M-63 delivering 1,100 hp was selected, a single row radial with two-speed supercharger. To reduce the landing speed, the plane had air brakes type „Schrenk“. The crew consisted of two people - a pilot and navigator. The plane had dual controls located in the cockpit, with the right stick and pedals were removable.
Armament consisted of a fixed installation ShKAS gun (7.62 mm) in the bow of the boat and a ShKAS gun in a station of type MV-5, located in the middle of the boat. The plane could carry bombs weighing up to 200 kg.
The main purpose of the KOR-2 was near maritime reconnaissance, fire adjustment for naval and coastal artillery, protection of heavy warships from enemy submarines, antisubmarine search, as well as the fight against small warships and boats. At the request of the military in the first production aircraft it was necessary to establish a non-retractable wheel landing gear and keep in this version for the probation on a land aerodrome. Then after the Kirov plant had manufactured the catapult with corresponding trolley, launching trials were foreseen.
In the autumn of 1940 the first prototype of the KOR-2 was brought to the factory test. October 2, in the waters of KB #31's hydrobasin, taxiing and jogging began. On October 21 test pilot N. P. Kotyakov performed the first flight of the KOR-2, which lasted 11 minutes. On November 28 the plane was flown by test pilot I. M. Sukhomlin, and the next day he spent taxiing and jogging with the KOR-2's second sample. November 30 the second prototype flew, and eighth in December both machines flew in Sevastopol, where the factory tests continued. By the end of January 21, 1941 the conclusions were favorable. There was trouble-free operation of the engine and its systems (fuel, oil, cooling, management).
At least the flight handling characteristics of the aircraft were highly appreciated. N. P. Kotyakov noted: "The plane in the air is stable in all flight modes, all the elements of piloting the airplane are not complicated and can be quickly and easily mastered by pilots of secondary qualification. Transitional plane can be the MBR-2. A pilot flying well in the airplane MBR-2 can easyily manage the KOR-2 aircraft. "
He was supported by I. M. Sukhomlin: "All elements in the piloting of the aircraft are not complicated and can be easily assimilated by pilots of average skill. Combat pilots from units of naval aviation, who mastered the MBR-2 aircraft will be able to easily master the KOR-2 with minimal effort." But, at the same time he pointed out that "landing without flaps is complicated and requires special attention by the pilot".
In the period from 2 to 18 February 1941, both KOR-2s passed the state tests by the LII (= flight and research institute) of the Naval Air Force based in Sevastopol. They were carried out by LII fliers S. B. Reydel and P. Y. Yakovlev.
Conducted sea trials have shown that flying boat KOR-2 at a normal gross weight of 2750 kg can fly without the use of flaps at a speed of 145 km / h and it takes 250-300 m runway. Seaworthiness of the aircraft meets the requirements and is within the wave height of 0.5-0.6 meters.
When landing on both steps to without flaps, the seaplane jumped out of the water to a height of 1-1.5 meters, but the handling is not lost. When issued flaps landing occurred normally, the machine does not porpoise. However, the mechanically controlled air brakes did not work reliably. The brakes often jammed at full output, which prevented a go-around (??, RT). Therefore, the mechanical control system was replaced by a hydraulic one.
Additionally, Reydel and Yakovlev noted that KOR-2 had a steep glide path, what they estimated as a drawback. They believed, not without reason, that when flying in calm weather, especially at night, landing of the aircraft will be difficult.
Military test pilots concluded that according to the project, the specific maximum flight weight of the flying boat is clearly undervalued. They recommended it to be increased by another 200 - 250 kg. To use the KOR-2 as a base-near maritime reconnaissance-bomber was it proposed to increase the capacity of fuel tanks and bomb load from 200 to 400 kg. In general, it was recognized that the KOR-2 complies with the navy's requirements, and withstood the tests, so it can be recommended for the adoption.
However, the fact how the plane turned out was clear already at the stage of production tests. Naval aviation commander Lt. Gen. S. F. Zhavoronkov (Google translates „The Lark“, , RT) in 1940 in the report "On the design and construction of naval aviation," said: "Advanced scout KOR-2 is now tested at the factory. Airplane flies. Factory tests run favorably. There is reason to think that this aircraft will go." About the prospects of serial construction Zhavoronkov said: "Presumably, it must be put into production in the second half of 1941 and, thus, will be put into service by the end of 1941. We were going to order the 100-150 aircraft in 1941. It is difficult to say if industry will cope with this."
Along with testing the new catapult scouts, the ships of the "Big ocean fleet" were built, on which they were to be based in the future.
At the end of August 1939 "Chapaev" was laid down - the lead ship of a series of light cruisers of project 68. In accordance with the "Five years program on military shipbuilding III" in 1939-1942 it was planned to construct 17 cruisers. The vessels of this project had an aircraft equipment consisting of two KOR-2 catapult aircraft.
On November 30, 1939, on the stocks of the plant #194 in Leningrad, the official laying of the heavy cruiser "Kronstadt" from project 69 took place. Somewhat earlier, November 5, at the plant #200 in Nikolayev "Sevastopol" was laid down. Totally, it was envisaged to commission 16 heavy cruisers. Aircraft armament for the cruisers consisted of two KOR-2 aircraft, destined for exploration and artillery fire adjustment of the main batteries. Launching of the aircraft was possible by the angle of the catapult of 60-120 degrees from the center line of the ship. The aircraft were placed at sites below near the catapult deck, not to interfere with its turns. Between the aircraft location sites there was the repair shop. To lift the aircraft a derrick was used, attached to the mainmast.
On battleships of project 23 (such as "Soviet Union"), four aircraft of type KOR-2 were based , two of them in the aft hangar. There was also a catapult installed. The first two vessels ("Soviet Union" in Leningrad, plant #189 and "Soviet Ukraine" in Nikolayev at plant #198) were officially laid down in 1938. Another two battleships, "Sovetskaya Belorussia" and "Soviet Russia", were laid later at the factory #402 in Molotovsk (today Severodvinsk). Finally, as anticipated in the 1938-1942 years, six battleships of project 23 were to be built.
At the design stage of the KOR-2 to agree on some issues regarding the placement of aircraft on the battleships, G. M. Beriyev went to Leningrad, where he discussed all these points of contention with the chief engineer of the KB Baltic plant and chief designer of the project 23, B. G. Chilikin.
To direct the battleships' and cruisers' guns of main caliber outside the line of sight, the KOR-2 was planned to equip the instrument system Krylov, structurally composed of two aviation optical bombsights of system Hertz (only some alteration mechanisms were outlined). The instrument was designed to determine the location of the own ship and the target ship relative to the aircraft in polar coordinates - slant range and bearing.
The difficulty of this method is that KOR-2 had only one observer, who could not at the same time keep two ships in view. The solution of this trouble came easily - one sight was installed in the center line in front of the cockpit. Second crew member could continuously view his ship by the other sight, take data and send them on the radio aboard to the central artillery post.
The production start of KOR-2 (however, with the release of NKAP order #704 in December 1940 "On combat aircraft renaming", KOR-2 was designated Be-4) coincided with the regular organizational changes in the Soviet aviation industry. Marine aircraftwas decided to concentrate in the north of Moscow, in the area of artificial reservoirs („Moscow Sea“, i.e. the Ivankovo Reservoir, an impoundment of the Volga) and the Moscow-Volga Canal. Therefore, in March 1941 CDB MS was transferred to the Savelovskiy engineering plant #288 (Kimry, Kalinin region.). Prior to this, the company had released a training airframe and cockpit for the Sukhoi Su-2, and was a branch of aviation plant #30. Now the plant became independent and got the number 288.
The initial number of Be-4 which the factory #288 had to release were 20 samples, but as "new" aircraft factory with no experience in serial production, G. M. Beriyev, together with the plant director N. I. Cheblukov, had quickly come to grips with the new organization of the production of a flying boat. However, moving to a new place gave one, but significant, advantage. First, the construction bureau became fully independent and ceased to be on the "sidelines" as it was at the Taganrog plant #31. Especially the efforts made to overcome the problems were not in vain. Very soon, the work at the plant went at a good pace, "as on a conveyor belt." By June 1941, a large backlog of units and aggregates for the Be-4 was already created.
Meanwhile, testing of the first two prototypes continued. By joint order of the People's Commissars of the navy N. G. Kuznetsov and aircraft industry A. I. Shakhurin on May 17, 1941, for state tests of the Be-4 and the EK-1 catapult a commission was appointed, which included the chief designer of aircraft G. M. Beriyev, designer catapult P. I. Bukhvostov and experienced scientist at ZNII-45 (the 45th central institute for science and research) N. Ya. Maltsev. Military test pilot S. B. Reydel was foreseen to start the Be-4 from the catapult. This had been installed on a barge - a floating stand just tested using a 3-ton weight („dummy“).
The tests themselves took place after the war began, in the period from July 23 to August 6, 1941. The first flight from the catapult happened on July 31, the material part of preparing was in Leningrad, in the rowing-boat harbor („Grebnoy Port“, a loction in Leningrad, with tradition of operating seaplanes) and the plane was run near Oranienbaum. In the most important moment of testing Beriyev noticeably worried. Test pilot S. B. Reydel on the contrary showed complete peace of mind and confidence, assuring the chief designer that all will go well.
Before the start of the aircraft G. M. Beriyev and P. I. Bukhvostov moved from the barge to a boat from which it was easier to observe the aircraft to be catapulted off the barge, to see for themselves the absence of a possible tendency of "subsidence" during ejection.
Reydel took his seat in the cabin, started the engine, brought it to the maximum speed and signaled readiness to start to the catapult sergeant. Within seconds, the plane left the catapult's trolley and soared into the air. Having done a few laps, the pilot went down on the water in front of the barge. Thorough post-flight inspection revealed no damage, not even scratches. In total S. B. Reydel started the Be-4 twelve times from the catapult. All launches were successful, however, the function of the ship equipment caused criticism.
At the same time, despite the outbreak of war plant #288 unfolded the serial construction of the ship scouts. The first production aircraft, with serial number #28801 was ready on August 11, 1941. Unlike the experimental machines it had the less powerful engine M-62 (1,000 hp) installed, but this had great reserves. In addition, the construction and equipment of the aircraft received some improvements. In particular, there was a mechanism of accidentally discharge the cockpit lamp (??, such a dangerous thing?, RT), an armor plate was installed, radio RSRM-3 was replaced by RSBM-bis and camera AFA-27 by AFA-27T.
But the service of this machine was short-lived. On September 9, on the sixth flight this Be-4 crashed. Plane pilot N. P. Kotyakov told cause of the crash to be "mirror surface water" (no wind , light spots on the water), which led to the fact that the plane crashed at high speed into the water. Kotyakov and engineer K. B. Morozov were saved, but military technician 1st rank Sukachyov drowned along with the aircraft. However, in an emergency act the general opinion was emphasized that "the plane is good."
On September 14, 1941, S. B. Reydel flew the second serial Be-4 (factory #28802). Total time for the tests, which continued until October 10, was 10 hours and 3 minutes. 49 flights were performed. The in-flight aerobatic evaluation noted that "Be-4 is easy to be piloted, it is calculated on average pilot qualifications and the aircraft's taxiing is perfectly manageable through an efficient water rudder."
Of identified deficiencies were mentioned:
1. Need for mandatory use of flaps during landing.
2. Steep glide angle.
3. Not quite stable operation of the airscrew (meaning pitch changing mechanism – approx., the aiwar.ru author). Sometimes manifested in the increasing speed of 80-100 turns against nominal which required constant monitoring by the pilot.
4.The existence of a pitch trimmer wheel, when the pitch should be regulated automatically to the power setting.
But already in fall of 1941 the experimental design bureau and plant collective was not to continue the systematic construction and tests of flying boats. Kimry became a front strip, and evacuation became inevitable. On October 13, 1941 plant managers called Beriyev in the people's comissariate, acquainted with the decision of the State committee of defense and suggested to evacuate plant within three days. Echelons were loaded on October 15 and 16, 1941 already under bombardments as on October 14 Germans occupied Kalinin, which was in only 90 kilometers from the station of Savelovo. In the beginning it was planned to transfer plant #288 together with the experimental design bureau to Chkalovsk, but the situation changed so promptly that the destination was changed and echelons went further to the east. At the beginning of December the first echelon (with people) arrived at Omsk. On December 25 - the second (with the equipment and a reserve of planes).
The main production base for the whole CB arrived at Omsk, more exact at it's suburb Kulomzino (and besides Beriyev's group, V. M. Myasishchev's and D. L. Tomashevich's experimental design bureaus worked there too), also there was GVF #166, a small repair plant. Exactly there were collected from the brought reserve, and some Be-4 are handed over to military acceptance. For this purpose, in the spring of 1942 on the left coast of the river Irtysh a primitive hydrodescent was built where acceptance flights were made. Production flight tests were carried out by test pilot N. P. Kotyakov. The armament of the planes assembled in Omsk was strengthened - the bow machine gun of type ShKAS was replaced by two machine guns of type UBK of caliber of 12,7 mm. The quantity of underwing transportable bombs increased to four. Now the plane could lift a bomb load of 400 kg (4 demolition bombs type FAB-100 or 4 anti-submarine bombs type PLAB-100). To the Be-4s gathered in Omsk, the design of the boat and the number of device systems of the plane was also partially changed.
By this time it was obvious that the use of the Be-4 for the intended purpose, as ship scout, was out of question (meaning the Red Navy temporarily operated no big units any more..., RT). Therefore the flying boat had to master new military "professions". In particular, in June 1942, on request of military, the task of bombing from a dive was concerned. Tests were carried out at first by factory test pilot F. S. Leshchenko, but because of an illness, he was replaced by S. B. Reydel.
In the first flight Reydel found out that at transfer of the Be-4 to a dive in the cabin of the plane there was a gasoline smell. Careful postflight survey by the motor-mechanic group didn't yield results, and tests were decided to continue. In two days in the next flight, at the time of entrance into dive in the cabin again Reydel began to sharply smell gasoline. Instantly, fuel got on exhaust branch pipes of the engine and ignited. There was a fire. Reydel coolly brought the plane out of a dive, dumped an emergency signal lamp and gave command to the navigator to leave the plane. However the navigator tarried and here the pilot noticed that the flame began to die away. Having quickly calculated the situation, he decided to rescue the plane. Only after having landed the flying boat, the test pilot noticed that he had suffered burn wounds.
A defect of a stopper of a gasoline tank became found as cause of the fire which nearly brought the plane's loss. The stopper design was right there improved, and by results of methodical tests recommendations about the fighting application of the Be-4 as a dive bomber were issued.
According to the order NKAP #267с of May 3, 1943, CB led by G. M. Beriyev was once again transferred, this time to Krasnoyarsk, plant #477, the former workshops to repair boats of Glavsevmorput (the Chief Directorate of the Northern Sea Route, RT). In July 1943, plant #477 started the serial production of the Be-4, and at the beginning of November the first serial bomber sample was completed.
In Krasnoyarsk, improvement of the Be-4 proceeded. Installation of RO-82 racks aboard the plane for RS-82 rockets considerably strengthened its fire power. The sample with factory #28807 had four rocket RO-82 racks under each wing console, by all the following their quantity was reduced to two.
The fuel system was improved. From 1943 and since plane #4770202, Be-4 additionaly received two tanks in the motor-gondola (#1 - 408 l and #2 - 120 l), coupled with boat gasoline tanks of a capacity of 300 l. Then, a new system of filling the gasoline tanks by neutral gas was introduced. For the oil system, one more oil radiator was added, placed on the bottom surface of the left wing. Once again the firing arms were amplified. Instead of the rear gun station with ShKAS machine gun, station VUB-3 with large-caliber (12,7 mm) UBT machine gun was installed. However thus take-off weight passed three tons, therefore one forward machine gun of type UBK should be removed.
Completely, all these improvements and changes were introduced on Be-4 #4770305, which was tested by test pilot N. P. Kotyakov from August 11 to October 7, 1944, then was accepted as standard for the series. In this configuration, Be-4 were built at plant #477 up to the end of production of the plane in 1945.
In total 44 Be-4 planes (not including two prototypes) were let out. From them, during the war, 12 samples arrived at the Black Sea fleet, 12 - to the Baltic, 4 – to the Pacific fleet. Other planes got to front parts after the end of operations.
The first who received Be-4 in summer of 1942 was the Air Force of the Black Sea fleet. As the situation on theater of operations developed at this time in a way that service from ships was not possible, all four seaplanes were put in a separate unit with basing near Tuapse. In the fall, after crews mastered the planes, these four were a part of the 60th separate aviation squadron. The new seaplanes also armed the 82nd separate squadron on Lake Paleostomi near Poti. On the Black Sea, Be-4s were used only as near-base sea scouts, systematically looking through a 40-mile coastal strip and carrying out problems of anti-submarine defense within the limits of naval bases. Several times Be-4s in air met German flying boats BV 138 and Do 24, however these encounters had no consequences.
Only with change of the general situation on frontiers in our (Soviet view, RT) advantage, the Be-4 appeared on board of fighting ships. On the cruiser "Molotov" according to the solution of state credit obligations #4093 of September 12, 1943 a modernized catapult ZK-1a was installed. In Batumi in August 1944 cargo models – "dummies" – were launched from it, and next month in Novorossiysk delivery tests began. On October 24, 1944 it is noted that "the catapult, checked by repeated starts of Be-4 and Spitfire planes, works perfectly and can be allowed to operate". There were no failures.
In June, 1944 in the Black Sea Fleet the 24th separate squadron of ship aircraft was created, which besides Be-4 also included Spitfire Mk. Vb fighters. In July, 1945 as a part of this squadron there were 8 Be-4.
On the Northern fleet, practically all war was waged by ships not larger than destroyers, Be-4 didn't serve. However, Beriyev's seaplanes nevertheless had to do some fighting in the Arctic. In 1943 the German submarines began active actions on our Arctic communications. The available forces of the Northern group of the White Sea military flotilla for to fight against German "U-boats" didn't suffice therefore. Among other measures, it was decided to send two Be-4 planes to Dikson Island. The choice fell on samples with serial numbers #28811 and #28812. These planes were registered for Polar aircraft and received civil registration, respectively - the USSR-N330 and USSR-N331. Be-4 N330 was piloted by V. V. Malkov piloted, N331 by M. V. Teyman.
The planes flew from Krasnoyarsk to Dikson and on August 2, 1943, began antisubmarine patrols. As a weapon anti-submarine bombs PLAB-100 were used. The only military clash took place on August 28 when the Be-4 bombed an area (20 miles from Sterligova m, ??, RT), where transport ship "Dikson" was sunk by a German submarine. Results of the attack were not observed by the pilots (U 302 and sank the „Dixon“ and U 354 damaged another freigher, the „Petrovskiy“. For this time, both submarines escaped, RT). In late September, it turned cold and began freezing. Therefore, on September 21, 1943 the crews ferried back the seaplanes to the river Yenisei in Krasnoyarsk. By this time in the Arctic N330 flew 35 hours 15 min., and N331 - 31 hours 20 minutes.
Be-4s in the Baltic appeared in 1944, when the first nine aircraft were included in the 29th separate reconnaissance squadron. In early 1945 there were 10 Be-4 registered: ╧ ╧ 4770205, 4770301, 4770302, 4770303, 4770305, 4770401, 4770402, 4770403, 4770404, 4770405. These seaplanes were conducting antisubmarine search and rescued crews from downed aircraft.
For example, July 22, 1944, after a strike against German ships an Il-2 from the 8th Guards Assault Regiment of the 11th Air Division made an emergency landing in the Gulf of Finland. The plane sank quickly, pilot Kuznetsov and gunner Strizhak got over into the lifeboat and a bit later by a Be-4 taken off from airfield Mount Valdai were taken out.
For January 1, 1945 as a part of the 115th Sea Short-range Reconnaissance Aviation Regiment of the Pacific Fleet's air force four seaplanes of type Be-4 were registered (#28808, 28809, 4770201 and 4770203). In fighting against Japan, they did not participate, but after the war finished their appointment as a naval reconnaissance catapult aircraft on Pacific cruisers "Kalinin" and "Kaganovich".
By catapult ZK-2b on the cruiser "Kaganovich" near Vladivostok in 1945 12 twelve take-offs of Be-4s were performed. In the summer the following of 1946 skilled tests of Be-4 passed in reloading option starts from a catapult on the cruiser "Kaganovich" and test of catapult ZK-2a on the cruiser "Kalinin". The trials involved serial #4770702 plane, piloted by test pilot Captain V. F. Sokolov. The plane was equipped with special nodes for catapult launch - pins and rear hooks. The cockpit was fitted with a device to ensure correct positioning of the pilot and navigator in the cockpit during the launch: armrests, headrests and footrests.
In total from cruiser "Kalinin's" catapult, during the period from July 3 to July 12, 32 starts with a dummy and 13 starts with a plane were executed with various wind forces and various flight weights. From the cruiser "Kaganovich", the ship under way from August 16 to August 28, five starts were made at an ejection speed of of 130 km/h and a maximum acceleration of 4,5 g. Among them was one start with a flight weight of the plane of 3200 kg and four starts in reloading option, with a flight weight of 3345 kg.
It was noted that all starts from a catapult took place normally, without "flash" and plane "inflation", and in reloading option a pilot of average qualification can master the Be-4.
It is curious that in May 1945 there was an order of the People's Commissar of the Navy on establishment of an extra fee in order with flights starting from a catapult. So, the pilot for the first flight by a serial plane when it came from plant or after overhaul, received 500 rubles. The first start of the pilot from a catapult was estimated at 150 rubles, and all the subsequent - on 75 rubles. The navigator got a remuneration of 75% from the pilot's one, and technicians - 50%.
However, the post-war service of the Be-4 was not long. With emergence of radar stations on the fighting ships ship scout planes quickly lost their former value. In October 1947, catapults were dismantled on all cruisers and their aircraft removed, and in December 1950, on the cruiser "Maxim Gorky" sea tests of an aircraft of a perfect other class were performed - the first shipborne helicopter Kamov Ka-10.
As it was already noted above, CDB MS set a task to create a more perfect scout, KOR-3. Its outline sketch was finished at the end of 1940. According to the KOR-3 project it was executed in two options - a flying boat and a float-operated seaplane. As the power plant in both options, the M-64P engine with a power of 1200 hp was provided. Overall dimensions of the new scout didn't exceed similar indicators for KOR-2.
The float-operated option, which was offered the customer as only slightly conceding to the flying boat in seaworthiness, could be accepted aboard the ship under way, it was possible to be equipped with a viewing hatch in a floor of the pilot's cabin (that increased bombing accuracy from a dive). Besides, it can be conceded that this role was played by military and technical cooperation with Germany in this period at a close acquaintance with Kriegsmarine's main ship scout, the two-float-operated Ar 196.
However, it quickly became clear that receiving prospects in 1941 of M-64 engines for the new ship scouts were almost zero. Therefore the KOR-3 project was quickly shifted to the serial M-87A engine (having a take-off power of 950 h.p.). As this motor had a considerable jet moment that excluded its use by the single-motor flying boat, the option of a two-float-operated seaplane was studied only.
By this time the experimental design bureau received materials for tests of the catapult N-1 (created as NII-45 at the Nikolaev shipbuilding plant #198). According to developers the maximum take-off mass of the plane starting from a catapult could reach 3500 kg. Respectively the take-off mass of KOR-3 increased from 2800 kg to 3100 kg.
But improvement of shaping the perspective of the ship scout didn't stop. In April, 1941 the updated KOR-3 project, which now has received now the new designation Be-6 (the first with this name) was submitted. Finally the scheme of the flying boat was set down, in three options.
The first - a flying single-motor boat with the high-located braced wing. The second - a flying boat with the high-located cantilever wing supported on a pole of the boat. In both options the M-89 engine (with take-off power of 1200 hp) was used. The third option was more "exotic" and provided use of the M-107 engine (with a take-off power of 1500 hp) placed in the case of the boat with mechanical transfer on coaxial air screws rotating in different directions. Such scheme allowed to reduce aerodynamic resistance, to achieve lack of the jet moment and as a little to raise the efficiency of the airscrews. However, all works on KOR-3 were stopped when the Great Patriotic War began.
The project of the catapult scout KL-145 developed in 1945 became a further development of KOR-2 and KOR-3. Externally resembling the Be-4, the new plane I had a little increased vertical and horizontal empennage and a wing of bigger scope. On KL-145 it was planned to install the ASh-21 engine and more perfect onboard equipment. This ship scout remained a project, but, in many respects, it served as a smaller prototype for creation of the similar Be-8.
As a whole, summing up, it is necessary to tell that in comparison with the predecessor of KOR-1, KOR-2 (Be-4) became a considerable step forward in the Soviet hydroaircraft construction. At the time of the creation G. M. Beriyev's flying boat was quite modern, seaworthy, comparable in flight technical characteristics with the foreign analogies of the ship scout. Recognition of it shows the fact that the Be-4 became the only domestic seaplane serially being under construction in the years of the war. But created for the ships of the "Big ocean fleet" which didn't manage to descend from building berths prior to war, Be-4 actually remained "without work". And sea battles of World War II became top and at the same time the ending in development of ship catapult scout planes. Therefore post-war career of Be-4 proceeded so not long.
Technical specification on a seaplane of Be-4 (production of plant #477, 1943)
The seaplane of Be-4 represents the flying boat with the high-located braced wing. Plane design – all-metal.
Intended for use as short-range sea scout, spotter of fire for ship and coastal artillery, the solution of problems of anti-submarine defense, investigation of mine obstacles, ensuring management and communication. Can be based both on ships and on coastal bases.
Crew two persons: pilot and navigator.
A two-step boat with keeled bottom. On the second step the water rudder is located. The main material - duralumin. The boat is divided by four waterproof partitions (on bulkheads ##3, 5, 10 and 19) into five compartments. In one partition (the frame #10) there is a waterproof door for pass from the pilot's cabin into the compartment of the navigator.
The longitudinal set of the boat consists of a keel beam and a stringer executed from pressed dural profiles. The cross set of the boat consists of frames executed of the pressed profiles. Rivets of the covering of the boat were made smooth.
The wing in the center section is strutted by two easily removable consoles. Consoles for ensuring ship basing were designed within the developing process. The wing is supplied with landing flaps and ailerons with axial aerodynamic compensation.
The wing is of a lacunar all-metal design. The leading edge and center part of the wing are sheathed by duralumin. The trailing edge is sheathed by a fabric.
On consoles of the wing two unretractable floats are fixed. Float - all metal design. Each float is broken by partitions into three waterproof compartments. Floats are suspended to the wing by two vertical racks.
Tail empennage - cantilever. The horizontal empennage consists of a not movable fixed stabilizer and non-protruding elevator, suspended to the stabilizer on five brackets. The vertical empennage consists of fin and rudder. Rudders have axial aerodynamic compensation and are supplied by the trimmer operated from the pilot's cabin. Stabilizer and fin are sheathed by duralumin. Elevators and rudders are sheathed by fabric.
For rolling on the ground and for descent and lifting from water the plane is completed with the special rolling chassis and the tail rolling cart.
Unretractable to the plane, a tail crutch for operation on the earth can be installed. Racks of the chassis are of pyramidal type with oil and pneumatic suspension and brake wheels. The unretractable crutch is of pyramidal type with oil and pneumatic suspension.
The power plant – an air-cooled piston engine of type M-62 with a tractor metal three-blade AB-2-4 screw of a diameter of 2.6 m with pitch automatically changed in flight. The motor-gondola is located over the boat ahead the center of the plane. The engine is put into a NACA-cowl with an adjustable output crack.
Fuel is placed in two tanks a motor-gondola and two tanks in the boat. The general capacity of all gasoline tanks - 840 l. Gasoline are tanks welded from an aluminium alloy. They are supplied by system of filling by inert gas, using exhaust gases of the engine. The anks are protected.
The oil system consists of a tank with a capacity of 68 l, which is placed in the motor-gondola behind a fire-prevention partition and two oil coolers. These are placed on the bottom surface of the right and left center-wing trailing compartments.
Start of the engine is carried out by an electroinertial starter of type RI-24 or manually.
The fire-prevention equipment consists of the "Typhoon" #7 fire extinguisher established on a fire-prevention partition of the motor-gondola.
Electric power sources by plane are: the GS-1000 generator (power of 1000 W) being on the engine and one accumulator 12A-30. The accumulator is installed between bulkheads #18-19. Rated voltage in a network - 27 V. The network tension is regulated by a regulatory box of type PK-32-1000. The plane's electrical system is executed according to the two-wire scheme with a shielding.
The structure of electric equipment includes onboard and tail air navigation lights, internal illumination of the plane, system of an electrical heating of overalls of crew and devices, an electric petrol gauge of type SBE-40, the TVE-40 electrothermometer, a sight power supply system OPB-1M and bomb-release gear ESBR-3p, a power supply system of means of communication, an electroinertial starter of RI-24, the electromechanism of management of landing flaps.
The oxygen equipment includes KPA-3 oxygen devices for both crew members.
The plane was completed with navigatonal equipment, signal gun and rockets (three colors: yellow, green and red), two parachute rockets PAR-13, vessel for fresh water capacity of 5 liters. Two first-aid kits, boxes for measurement tables, tool bag, backpack for in-flight meals, signal flags and removable shutters for performing a "blind" flight. For pumping water out of the boat the plane was equipped with a hand pump.
Life-saving appliances included parachutes and life-belts for crew members, as well as three onboard inflatable boats with two collapsible oars.
Marine Equipment consisted of a ground anchor, floating anchor, casting weights, heaving and mooring ropes, and a gaff.
The airplane has dual controls. The copilot's helm and pedals are removable . Control wiring is mixed - rope and rigid. Electromechanically controlled flaps. Control wiring trimmers are made from ropes and chains „Gallia“ (??, RT). Water rudder is synchronized with the air rudder.
The aircraft has a for its time standard set of air navigation equipment and appliances. Dashboards were installed in pilot's and the gunner's cockpit. A pitot tube for speed measuring was installed in the tip of the left wing.
For internal communication of crew members the plane was equipped with an intercom of type SPU-2FB and a the three-colored light alarm system.
In the plane the RSBM-bis radio station is installed. The antenna was trailing and rigid. The radio station's energy supply was taken from the all-plane electric network.
For conducting photo reconnaissance and fixing results of bombing the plane was equipped with a camera for perspective taking of pictures of type AFA-27T.
The firing arms consisted of two machine guns of type UBK of caliber of 12,7 mm not movably established in the nasal part of the boat with an ammunition stock of 150 cartridges on everyone and a machine gun of type ShKAS of caliber of 7,62 mm with an ammunition stock of 500 cartridges on a type MV-5 gun station (PROMT tanslates „tourist's fir-tree“, , RT) in the center part of the boat.
On the outer suspension, on beam bomb racks with locks D2-40, the aircraft can carry four bombs weighing up to 100 kg. The basic variant of the combat load are four bombs FAB-100, but suspension brackets for bombs of smaller caliber (FAB-50, SAB-25, SAB-15) or anti-submarine PLAB-100 are possible. Bomb release gears are the main electric ESBR-3p, in case of emergency the mechanical ASI-140. The aiming when bombing is carried out by means of the sight OPB-1M for the navigator and sight PBP-1 for the pilot (the latter is applied only on dive-bombing).
Be-4 can be equipped with eight rocket racks RO-82 for firing 82-mm rocket fragmentation shells of type ROS-82 (armor-piercing rocket RBS-82) or four RO-132 for rocket shells of type ROS-132 and RBS-132.
For educational purposes a gun camera is installed in the pilot's and the navigator's cockpit.
End of the airwar.ru text.
Unfortunately, there are no really good photographs of the Be-4 available. Airwar.ru has someones which are better than nothing. What I found let me show you here:
#1 (on cruiser "Molotov"):
#6 (just catapulted from cruiser "Kaganovich"):
Picture sources (here and there impoved using XnView):
#3: airpages.ru (also available on airwar.ru)
#4: kot-or-osl.livejournal.com (also available on airwar.ru)
Hope you are not fallen asleep, and regards, RT