In June 1942, a new Toropov VUB-1 (a.k.a. B-270) upper turret mount began production. It began to be installed on all aircraft from series 110 onward. The VUB-1 was a shielded turret with a 200-round UBT machine gun and continuous belt feeding.
The new turret provided considerably more comfortable working conditions for the crew than the primitive FT turret, which had left the cockpit virtually half-open. It was found that even physically strong gunners had difficulty turning the gun barrel at wide angles during flights. The new turret had an aerodynamic trim in the shape of two petals over the screen. Due to the aerodynamic trims of the VUB-1, the radio antenna mast had to be moved from the port side of the navigator's cockpit to the aircraft's central axial line.
The VUB-1 turret was a significant improvement in the Pe-2's defensive capabilities. It is this variant that is quite often called the "Pe-2FT" by mistake, even though it has nothing to do with the FT turret.
Aluminum deficiencies forced the designers to search for replacements for the Pe-2's all-metal assemblies. Beginning with series 115, some aircraft were manufactured with a wooden fuselage tail section and stabilizer. Due to a shortage of organic glass, the area of the cockpit's glazing was significantly reduced. First to disappear was the transparent patch at the front, then the small rectangular blisters on the top of the tail section; then the glazing on the side of the nose section was gradually narrowed. As a result, only a smooth glazing panel was left in the lower nose section.
In early 1943, beginning with series 179, all production bombers obtained new high-powered 1,180 hp M-105PF engines with a lower critical altitude. Planes from earlier production series operating on the front lines were also equipped with M-105PF engines.
A total of 2,392 Pe-2 aircraft were produced in 1942, which is more than four factories had produced a year earlier. This was partially due to the simplification of certain assemblies and removal of some equipment. Since the autumn of 1941, an RPK-2 radio compass and target finding device was installed on one plane out of three; from July 1942 on, a radio transmitter was mounted on every third plane; the rest had only receivers.