The Pe-2 was designed by Vladimir Petlyakov, during his time in prison, he had been arrested because allegedly deliberately delaying design work on the Tupolev ANT-42 bomber. The aircraft was designed to be a heavy, double seat, long range- and high altitude fighter aircraft, designated as “Samolyot 100” (Aircraft-100).
Just at the beginning of production it was decided to redesign the aircraft to a three seated high altitude bomber, with dive bombing capabilities.
On 22nd December 1939 the first flight took place, the aircraft was flown by Pyotr Stefanovski. Production started in January 1941 in the aircraft factory 125 in Kazan (Russian: Казанское авиационное производственное объединение имени С. П. Горбунова). In September of the same year the Soviet Air Force operated already 462 Pe-2, at the end of the War 1405 additional aircraft entered service. All in all 11,426 aircraft were built.