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Ilyushin IL-40 (Brawny) Ground-Attack Aircraft Prototype (1953)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 7/27/2015

The Ilyushin IL-40 Brawny ground attack platform existed in only seven prototypes before the idea was dropped from contention.

Following World War 2 (1939-1945) the ground attack role was still very much a consideration for world air forces. It was envisioned that the next war in Europe would take place between the Soviet Empire and European powers as well as the United States. With this would come a major ground war involving many tanks and, to counter this threat, dedicated ground attack aircraft were still in need.

The early 1950s saw the first frontline combat use of jet-powered fighters (through the Korean War) and bombers were soon surpassed by jet-powered designs. Additional work on turbojets meant that they were made more efficient, compact, reliable and powerful. Single engine jets were becoming commonplace and proven in such stellar designs as the Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 and the North American F-86 "Sabre" lines.

Work on a new ground attack platform for the Soviet Air Force began in 1950 by the Ilyushin concern with jet powerplants being the focus. Up to know, the company was well-known for its World War 2-era contribution of the two-seat, prop-driven IL-2 "Sturmovik" which was more or less an armored flying tank of sorts. For the new design, the engine installations became a pair of Mikulin AM-5 turbojets developing 4,740 pounds thrust and set in nacelles alongside a largely tubular metal airframe. The cockpit was set aft of a long nose cone assembly and a conventional, single-finned rudder approach was given to the tail with mid-set horizontal planes featured. The wing mainplanes were swept back 35-degees and given large boundary layer fences for the needed control at high speeds. A tricycle undercarriage, wholly wheeled and completely retractable into the design, added a most modern element. Three dive brakes allowed for improved control when coming into an attack action. The crew was two and they seated in tandem with full cockpit armoring planned due to the low altitude levels the aircraft was expected to attack in. Each crew position was also to feature an ejection seat.

Proposed armament was 6 x 23mm Nudelman-Rikhter NR-23 series cannons fitted to the nose section. An additional NR-23 system would be fitted to a tail barbette to protect the aircraft's more vulnerable "six" from interception. Beyond this fixed, standard armament set the aircraft was also being designed with a bomb-carrying capability in mind, this through in-wing bomb bays and underwing rack support. Underwing bombs could be supplanted by either air-to-surface rockets or fuel tanks (the latter improving operational ranges). Much of this armament suite was based on Ilyushin's experience in delivering its classic IL-2: this cannon-and-machine-gun-armed beast was produced in over 36,000 examples from 1941 to 1945 and supported air-to-surface rockets. Its rear was defensed by a machine gun. The IL -2 proved the ultimate "tank-buster" and ground-attack aircraft for the Soviet Air Force of the Second World War.


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Specifications for the
Ilyushin IL-40 (Brawny)
Ground-Attack Aircraft Prototype


Focus Model: Ilyushin IL-40 (Brawny)
Country of Origin: Soviet Union
Manufacturer: Ilyushin - Soviet Union
Initial Year of Service: 1953
Production: 7


Crew: 2


Length: 56.46 ft (17.21 m)
Width: 55.77 ft (17.00 m)
Height: 18.90ft (5.76 m)
Weight (Empty): 18,739 lb (8,500 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 38,801 lb (17,600 kg)


Powerplant: 2 x Tumansky RD-9V turbojet engines developing 7,170 pounds of thrust each with afterburner.


Maximum Speed: 617 mph (993 kmh; 536 kts)
Maximum Range: 820 miles (1,320 km)
Service Ceiling: 38,058 ft (11,600 m; 7.2 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 0 feet-per-minute (0 m/min)


Hardpoints: 12
Armament Suite:
ORIGINAL (Standard):
6 x 23mm Nudelman-Rikhter NR-23 cannons in upper nose section.
1 x 23mm Nudelman-Rikhter NR-23 cannon in remote-controlled tail barbette.

REVISED (Standard):
4 x 23mm AM-23 cannons in lower nose section
1 x 23mm Nudelman-Rikhter NR-23 cannon in remote-controlled tail barbette.

OPTIONAL:
Up to 3,100 lb of internal and external stores to include conventional drop bombs and air-to-surface rockets (in-wing bomb bays as well as underwing hardpoints).


Variants:
IL-40 - Base Product Designation; initial prototype.


IL-40P - Revised prototype with extended jet intakes and underfuselage cannon armament; one prototype with five production-quality airframes completed.

IL-40K - Proposed artillery spotting aircraft

IL-40T - Proposed torpedo bomber aircraft

IL-42 - Revised IL-40 for new ground attack requirement.

IL-102 - Revised IL-42 for ground attack requirement; model of 1982.


Operators:
Soviet Union (cancelled)