Ilyushin Il 10

One of the most formidable military aircraft of World War II, the lIyushin Il-2 was produced in vast numbers, with Soviet sources giving the total figure as 36,163 aircraft. To provide a replacement for the Il-2 shturmovik (ground-attack aircraft), the Ilyushin design bureau developed two different prototypes in 1943. The Il-8 bore a close resemblance to the Il-2, but was powered by a more powerful 2,000 hp (1492 kW) Mikulin AM-42 12-cylinder engine, and had new wings, horizontal tail surfaces and landing gear married to a late-production Il-2 fuselage. Test flown in April 1944, the Il-8 was rejected in favour of the contemporary lIyushin Il-10, which began its test flight programme in that month.

An Ilyushin Il-10 of the Polish Air Force Assault Regiment - 1951

The Il-10 was a completely new design of all-metal construction and improved aerodynamic form. It provided better crew accommodation, the gunner seated with his back to the pilot in an enlarged cockpit, and both crew members were located within the protective armoured shell. A new undercarriage with a new retracting system (with wheels laid flat in the wings after retracting) eliminating the large landing gear fairings of the Il-2 and requiring only small fairings over the pivoting mechanism and new cooling air intakes in the wing roots. Early favourable reports of the prototype test programme led to a batch of pre-series machines, quantity production being initiated in August 1944, with evaluation in operational regiments starting two months later. The type was used first in operations in February 1945 and by that spring output reached a peak. Many regiments re-equipped with the Il-10 before the German surrender, and a considerable number took part in the brief but large-scale operations against the Japanese in Manchuria and Korea during August 1945.

Production of the Il-10 continued into the post-war period, with Soviet factories building 4,966 machines, the last leaving the production lines in 1955. Additionally, Il-10s were also built at the Czech Avia factory, under the designations B-33 and CB-33, the latter being the equivalent of the Il-10U trainer variant. Czech production finished in 1954 when over 1,200 examples had been completed. From 1951 onwards Soviet production had concentrated on the Il-10M, which featured an entirely new wing of revised planform and deeper aerofoil section, a slightly lengthened fuselage, modified landing gear with increased track, and increased fuel capacity.

Ihe Il-10 formed the sole equipment of Soviet assault units for a number of years and was also used widely by warsaw Pact countries. Other Communist countries to employ the type included North Korea in the opening stages of the Korean War in 1950. Losses were heavy and the type was clearly obsolete but, nevertheless, Il-10s remained in service with the Soviet VVS until 1956 and with various satellite air arms for several years longer, For some time after that they were flown as gunnery trainers but most had been scrapped by the mid-1960s.

The Il-10 had been tested with a ZhRD-l auxiliary rocket engine in the rear fuselage to provide short-term performance boost, but this modification was not adopted, The Ilyushin bureau strove to develop later shturmovik designs, including the Il-20 single-seater and the Il-40 with twin turbojets, but official encouragement was minimal, the Soviet authorities having accepted the Western concept of the tactical strike fighter.


Avia B-33/CB-33 - Built in Czechoslovakia (under licence) by the Avia factory, and designated B-33 in Czechoslovak service. The B-33/IL-10 aircraft was all-metal, two seat, low-wing monoplane, with two spar wing of an inverted gull configuration. The fuselage was constructed in three sections. The forward fuselage being the most interesting, built as an armour shell with panels varying between 4 mm and 8 mm in thickness. The B-33 was powered by a 2,000 hp (1492 kW) Mikulin AM-42 12-cylinder liquid-cooled, inline engine (Czechoslovak designation M-42) with cruise power of 1,750 hp (1306 kW) at 2,350 rpm. The armament of the first series was similar to the armament of the Il-2, with two 23 mm VYa-23 cannons, two 7.62 mm (0.30 in) ShKAKS machine-guns and one 12.7 mm (0.50 in) UBT machine-gun in the rear cockpit. The later series and all Avia-built B-33s were armed with four wing-mounted 23 mm NS-23 cannons and single 20 mm UB-20 cannon in the rear cockpit. The bomb load on external racks and in bomb bays was usually 1,102 lbs (500 kg), and maximally 1,544 lbs (700 kg), and eight RS-82 or RS-132 rockets carried under the wings. The CB-33 was the Czech eqivalent of the Il-10U trainer. Due to the characteristic sound of the AM-42 engine and a sturdy and simple construction, the B-33s were nicknamed "Kombajn" (combine harvester) by their pilots and ground crews.

Ilyushin Il-10U - Aircraft used as two seat trainers with duplicate controls in the rear. All examples were converted from existing aircraft.

Ilyushin Il-10M - Built from 1951 onwards, the Il-10M featured an entirely new wing of revised planform and deeper aerofoil section, a slightly lengthened fuselage, modified landing gear with increased track, and increased fuel capacity.

Ilyushin Il-20 - The Ilyushin Design Bureau and planned to improve and streamline the Shturmovik series, starting with the proposed single seat Il-20, but it failed to ever get off the drawing board.

Ilyushin Il-40 - In order to "modernize" the design in keeping with the new jet age, Ilyushin had invisioned a twin turbojet version, but official support for this aircraft was minimal, with the Soviet Authorities favouring the Western concept of a tactical strike fighter and work was abandoned in favour of an all new aircraft type.  

Specifications (Ilyushin Il-10)

Type: Two Seat Ground Attack

Design: Ilyushin Design Bureau led by Sergei Vladimorovic Ilyushin

Manufacturer: State Industries

Powerplant: One 2,000 (1492 kW) Mikulin AM-42 12-cylinder inline piston engine.

Performance: Maximum speed 329 mph (530 km/h) at 7,875 ft (2400 m); service ceiling 23,785 ft (7250 m).

Range: 497 miles (800 km) on internal fuel.

Weight: Empty equipped 10,317 lbs (4680 kg) with a maximum take-off weight of 14,407 lbs (6535 kg).

Dimensions: Span 43 ft 11 1/2 in (13.40 m); length 36 ft 3 1/2 in (11.06 m); height 13 ft 8 1/2 in (4.18 m); wing area 322.9 sq ft
(30.00 sq m).

Armament: Two 7.62 mm (0.30 in) ShKAS machine-guns and either two 23 mm VYa or two 23 mm NS-23 cannon mounted in the wings and one 20 mm UB-20 cannon or 12.7 mm (0.50 in) UBT machine-gun in the dorsal position plus up to 1,102 lbs (500 kg) of bombs and four RS-82 or RS-132 rockets under the wings.

Variants: Il-10, B-33 (Czech built), CB-33 (Czech built), Il-10U (trainer), Il-10M, Il-20 (projected single seat), Il-40 (projected twin turbojet).

Avionics: None.

History: First flight (Il-10) April 1944; production started August 1944; operational evaluation October 1944; operational service February 1945; end prodution 1955; initial production (Il-10M) from 1951 onwards; withdrawn from service (VVS) 1956 but remaining in service with satellite countries until the mid 1960s.

Operators: Soviet Union (VVS), Czechoslovakia, North Korea (People's Democratic Republic). Czech built aircraft were supplied to Polish, Bulgarian, Rumanian, and Hungarian Air Forces.