Sukhoi Su-12 & Focke-Wulf Fw 189

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chris ballance

Airman 1st Class
Jul 21, 2022
I was reading that the Sukhoi Su-12 was inspired by Focke-Wulf Fw 189 Uhu. But Sukhoi started in 1943 with a design with double the horsepower and 2.5 times the weight of the Fw 189. Before the Su-12's first flight the prototype was given ASh-82FN engines with 3x the power of the German aircraft. Was Sukhoi really thinking about the same mission as the Focke-Wulf Fw 189 Uhu? Was the VVS going to be spotting for the artillery and be the constant eye in the skies at +300 mph (500 km/h) at 20,000 ft (6,000 m)? Just looking at the performance specifications the Su-12 looks like a Tu-2 or Ju-188 with more glass? Am I getting the mission of the Fw 189 or planned mission of the Su-12 wrong?


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Actually the Su-12 isn't the WW2 kite but the post-war one although the project was started in 1943. Also it wasn't inspired by the German Uhu plane but it based on it. During the WW2 the soviet VVS didn't have a such special recce plane and artillery spotter aircraft. Initially the kind of missions was done by Po-2, Su-2 planes, and from 1943 by Il-2 planes. Therefore Sukhoi started the design.

The Fw 189 Uhu during trials in GK NII VVS ...

Fw 189.jpg

the source: the net.
Ok, my impression of the Fw 189 is a tough, maneuverable, medium-low speed aircraft with a lot glass and the ability to loiter for decent periods over the frontlines. I think the Fw 189 or something like the Fw 189 could have easily served in Korea and in all the cold war conflicts afterwards not really being replaced until the rise of the drones.

Going out on the a limb, but is it fair to say that a Fw 189 was as good or better than late 60s aircraft like the Cessna O-2 Skymaster? Anyway might get taken to task for that, but both the O-2 and Fw 189 had the same mission. Other than the twin tail boom and greenhouse fuselage, I don't see the Su-12 as functionally different than a Tu-2 with more glass. Imagine taking the Fw 189 Argus engines, replacing them with BMW 801s, scaling up the twin-booms and wings, streamlining the Fw 189 forward fuselage to look like a Ju-188 or Ju-388 and you have the German version of the Su-12. Cool plane, but don't think it could perform the same role as a Fw 189.
IMHO comparing the Fw 189 to O-2 Skymaster is not too accurate. Both might do the same missions but the area/landscape was different. In so far as the Cessna could operate low flying just between hills and woods with its maneuverability , the Uhu needed more space though.
Anyway the Su-12 was , let's say, a triumph of form over substance. And that's the reason it remained a prototype only. However it was going to be a design for a special usage and shouldn't be mixed with the Tu-2 diving /horizontal bomber. In the same way , the Fw 189 and Ju-188 or Ju-388 . The different planes designed for the different roles. Just my opinion ...
Actually the difference in the wingspan was almost 10 m (9.94m).
Wiki has the O-2 wingspan at 11.58 m and the Fw 189 A-1 @ 18.4 m, is this another one of those cases not to trust Wiki? I know was wrong on my first post because I confused the length of the O-2 for the wingspan.
That's correct. The difference 10m is between the O-2 and the Su-12. Certainly the Uhu had the smaller wingspan. So my fault. I didn't grasp you correctly.

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