Military Factory logo
Icon of a dollar sign
Icon of military officer saluting
Icon of F-15 Eagle military combat fighter aircraft
Icon of Abrams Main Battle Tank
Icon of AK-47 assault rifle
Icon of navy warships

Ilyushin IL-2 Sturmovik

Ground Attack / Close Air Support Aircraft

Ilyushin IL-2 Sturmovik

Ground Attack / Close Air Support Aircraft

OVERVIEW
SPECIFICATIONS
ARMAMENT
VARIANTS
HISTORY
MEDIA
OVERVIEW



The Ilyushin IL-2 series became a critical component of the Soviet response to the German invasion of 1941.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: Soviet Union
YEAR: 1941
MANUFACTURER(S): Ilyushin - Soviet Union
PRODUCTION: 36,183
OPERATORS: Bulgaria; Czechoslovakia; Poland; Yugoslavia; Soviet Union
SPECIFICATIONS



Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Ilyushin IL-2 Sturmovik model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
CREW: 2
LENGTH: 38.06 feet (11.6 meters)
WIDTH: 47.90 feet (14.6 meters)
HEIGHT: 11.15 feet (3.4 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 9,976 pounds (4,525 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 14,021 pounds (6,360 kilograms)
ENGINE: 1 x Mikulin Am-38F liquid-cooled inline piston engine developing 1,770 horsepower.
SPEED (MAX): 251 miles-per-hour (404 kilometers-per-hour; 218 knots)
RANGE: 373 miles (600 kilometers; 324 nautical miles)
CEILING: 19,505 feet (5,945 meters; 3.69 miles)




ARMAMENT



EARLY:
2 x 20mm cannons in wings
2 x 7.62mm machine guns

Mission-specific armament included:
8 x 82mm rockets
2 x bombs

Later IL-2:
2 x 23mm cannons in wings
2 x 7.62mm machine guns
1 x 12.7mm rear-facing machine gun

Mission-specific armament included:
4 x 132mm rockets
32 x 82mm rockets
2 x bombs
200 x PTAB hollow-charge anti-tank bomblets
VARIANTS



Series Model Variants
• TsKB-55 - Two Seat Prototype Model (sometimes designated as the BSh-2 or DBsh); fitted with Mikulin Am-35 inline generating 1,350hp.
• TsKB-57 - Single Seat Prototype Model fitted with a Mikulin AM-38 inline engine generating 1,700hp.
• BSh-2 - Single Seat Production Model Designation; redesignated as the IL-2 in April of 1941.
• IL-2M - (or IL-2m3) Rear-gunner position with corresponding .50 caliber machine gun reinstituted with an extended cockpit area; 2 x 20mm cannon replaced with 2 x 23mm cannon; provisions for 8 x 82mm rockets converted to accept 4 x 132mm rockets.
• IL-2 Type 3 - Aerodynamic refinements to airframe; 1,770hp powerplant; implementation of faster-acting bomb cell doors for bomblet dispensing.
• IL-2 Type 3M - 2 x 37mm cannon with up to 32 x 82mm rockets; aerodynamic adjustments to airframe.
• IL-2T - Torpedo Bomber Variant
• IL-2U - Two-Seat Trainer Model


HISTORY



Detailing the development and operational history of the Ilyushin IL-2 Sturmovik Ground Attack / Close Air Support Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 2/21/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The Il-2 Sturmovik (or "Shturmovik") was designed as a low-level close-support aircraft capable of defeating enemy armor and other ground targets. Hardly the fighter, the system was exclusively engineered to take an enormous amount of damage and still keep pilot and critical mechanical components safe. In the end, the IL-2 would become the most important aircraft available to the Soviet Union in their defense of the homeland against the advancing Panzer brigades.

Interestingly enough, the IL-2 began as a two-seat aircraft project, but was then modified to only accommodate one crewman. Apparently the armored 'bath' that the pilot and rear gunner sat in proved to make the aircraft much to heavy in this role - one can imagine that a slow moving low altitude aircraft became a sitting duck to both ground and air fire. Thusly the rear gunner position was removed entirely for the first production models. This single-seat IL-2 model was the IL-2 that became available to Soviet air crews at the start of the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1942.

With the invasion in full swing, production of the IL-2 hit a peak of 300 aircraft per month. In the first few months of operation, the aircraft was found to be extremely susceptible to rear attack from enemy fighters and the rear gunner position (with applicable 12.7mm machine gun) was reinstituted in the IL-2M. The rear gunner position was added in an extended cockpit area behind the pilot with a fuel tank separating the two positions.

As mentioned, the rear-firing gunner area featured a .50 caliber (12.7mm) positional machine gun with a somewhat limited arc of fire. Aircrews were known to completely remove the rear-ward part of the canopy to allow the rear-gunner and increased field of vision. The implementation of the originally designed rear-ward firing position afforded the IL-2 an increased loitering time over the battlefield as the system could now offer up a defense against oncoming enemy fighter escorts.

Several aerodynamic refinements were instituted in further models and the 20mm wing mounted cannons replaced by 23mm types. Improvements to the bomb-dispensing cell doors in the wing-underside were also implemented, allowing for a quicker response times of the 200 dispensing anti-tank bomblets. Provisions for 4 x 132mm rockets replaced the 8 x 82mm rocket armament arrangement from before. A torpedo bomber and a two-seat trainer version followed.

The IL-2 became an highly respected and highly feared adversary. Soviet air crews dubbed the machine the "Flying Tank" for its incredible ability to withstand a tremendous amount of damage and still release its payload only to return home intact. Naturally, one would think this would be related more to the structural core of the armored bath cockpit but the overall structural design contributed greatly to the systems resilience. Likewise, the German infantry referred to the Sturmovik as the "schwarzer tod", or "Black Death" for its very capable payload arrangement.

As improvements were made to the airframe and tactics, so too did the armament improve. More powerful cannons were integrated as were more potent rockets and bombs. The system proved so effective, in fact, that most of the Soviet aircrews piloting IL-2's were recipients of the "Gold Star of Hero of the Soviet Union" award.

At war's end, it was reported that upwards of 36,000 IL-2's were produced for the Red Air Force (1943-1944 alone reported up to 12,000 IL-2's in operational service). The aircraft more than returned the value of initial investment and went on to become the symbol of the oft-forgotten East Front in World War Two. The much improved IL-10 would go on to supplant the successful IL-2 by 1944, but the IL-2 would still remain in service in one capacity or another through the end of the war.




MEDIA









Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 300mph
Lo: 150mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (251mph).

    Graph average of 225 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LDN
LDN
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MSK
MSK
 
  TKY
TKY
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Ilyushin IL-2m3 Sturmovik's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
36183
36183

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
A2A
Interception
UAV
Ground Attack
CAS
Training
ASW
Anti-Ship
AEW
MEDEVAC
EW
Maritime/Navy
SAR
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
VIP
Passenger
Business
Recon
SPECOPS
X-Plane/Development
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue