Ilyushin Il-2 / BSh-2 / TsKB-57
Designed as an armoured ground-attack and anti-tank aircraft, the prototype (designated BSh-2 from Bronirovanni Shturmovik, armoured attacker) flew for the first time on 30 December 1939. It was powered by an AM-35 engine. Apart from the wooden rear fuselage it was all-metal, and the area round the engine and cockpit was constructed from 700kg of steel armour, offering protection against fire from the ground.
On 12 October 1940 the TsKB-57 took to the air with the more powerful 967kW M-38 engine. This improved machine led to the IL-2 which was just getting into service when the Germans invaded in June 1941.
Armament of the original IL-2 was two 20mm ShVAK and two 7.62mm ShKAS guns firing ahead, plus eight 82mm rockets and four 100kg bombs. The need for rear protection resulted in a second crew member being added to man a rear gun, usually a 12.7mm BS, and the forward guns were changed to the hard-hitting 20 or 37mm VYa, and sometimes two of each. Bomb load went up to 600kg, including PTAB armour-piercing bombs. The Shturmovik's weapons could pierce all German armoured vehicles, even the Tiger tank being vulnerable when attacked from the rear.
The IL-2 remained in operational service in the Soviet Union and with the Air Forces of Czechoslovakia and Poland into the 1950s.
Output averaged 1,200 per month during most of World War II, to give a total of approximately 36,000. When the IL-10 developed version is added the total is reported to amount to 42,330.
Ilyushin Il-2 Sturmovik Gallery
Engine: 1 x Mikulin AM-38F V-12, 1300kW / 1770 hp
Max take-off weight: 5360 kg / 11817 lb
Empty weight: 4200 kg / 9259 lb
Wingspan: 14.6 m / 47 ft 11 in
Length:11.6 m / 38 ft 1 in
Wing area: 38.5 sq.m / 414.41 sq ft
Max. speed: 430 km/h / 267 mph
Cruise speed: 320 km/h / 199 mph
Ceiling: 6000 m / 19700 ft
Range w/max.fuel: 800 km / 497 miles
Range w/max.payload: 600 km / 373 miles
Armament: 2 x 23mm machine-guns, 3 machine-guns, 400-600kg external