A twin-engine, all-metal monoplane with a twin-fin tail and a retractable landing gear system with tail wheel.
The idea to create the Pe-2 front line dive bomber was born quite suddenly. The experiences of World War II, which had just recently started, showed that the concept of heavy twin-engine fighters was defective. The planes either failed miserably or had to play a different role in the conflict. The Petlyakov VI-100 high-altitude fighter created in OKB-29 of the NKVD's Special Technical Bureau was no exception. Despite its impressive test results, with characteristics significantly exceeding those of its European counterparts, and despite the fact that industrial facilities were prepared for mass production, it was decided that the aircraft should not begin production, for it was clear that such planes were simply not needed. At the same time, the Air Forces of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army clearly required that the fleet of front line bomber aircraft be upgraded and replenished. Dive bombers in particular had made a good showing in the first years of World War II, but planes of this type were absent in the USSR's forces. It was decided to make up this deficiency by converting the VI-100 fighter. In principle, this design was quite promising, and the industry was ready for mass production. In addition, there was no time to develop a completely new design. As a result, Petlyakov was ordered to prepare in the shortest possible time a PB-100 dive bomber based on the existing fighter prototype.
Only one month and a half were given to perform the redesign, but the designers pulled it off brilliantly. In the autumn of 1940, the PB-100 successfully passed all tests and was immediately launched into full-scale production. In 1940, the aircraft was re-designated the Pe-2, after the last name of designer V. M. Petlyakov. The first series were few in number: usually 5 to 10 planes, and 20 at most. This was done specifically to allow for improvements during production.
The first production planes were equipped with 1,100 hp Klimov M-105R twelve-cylinder V-type geared water-cooled engines.
The plane's defensive armament consisted of four 7.62mm ShKAS machine guns. Two ShKAS machine guns with 500 rounds each were fixed in the forward fuselage, and the navigator could fire from the TSS-1 turret (with a magazine capacity of 750 rounds) mounted behind the pilot. The LU-MV-2 hatch mount with 750 rounds was located in the lower fuselage.
The standard payload of the Pe-2 was 600 kg, and the maximum was 1,000 kg. Four bombs with a maximum weight of 100 kg were housed in the fuselage bomb bay, and one more bomb was placed in each of the two bomb bays located in the nacelle rear section. Bombs of larger weights, such as 250 kg and 500 kg, could be accommodated only on external bomb racks under the center wing section.