Soviet Union (1944)
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The Ilyushin IL-1 ground attack fighter arrived at a time in World War 2 where its services were no longer in dire need.
Detailing the development and operational history of the Ilyushin IL-1 Ground Attack Fighter Prototype. Entry last updated on 5/2/2016. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
One of Ilyushin's lesser known contributions to the war effort was an aircraft designed to a new Soviet Air Force requirement calling for a well-armored and armed Close-Air Support (CAS) platform with fighter-like qualities. Its intended over-battlefield roles included decimation of armored ground forces and columns as well as holding inherent performance and agility to counter the best low-altitude fighters that the German Luftwaffe could muster - mainly the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and Focke-Wulf Fw 190 types.
Development work by Ilyushin began in 1943 and the design approach involved two similar, though distinct, designs - a single-seat model and a two-seat variant ultimately designated IL-1 and IL-10 respectively. Beyond the two-seat capability of the latter, both featured largely the same form and function - wings were low-mounted cantilever types and the fuselage well-streamlined from nose to tail. The empennage used a small-area vertical tail fin with low-set horizontal planes. The armored cockpit was near midships and aft of a long nose assembly housing a Mikulin AM-42 12-cylinder inline piston engine of 1,973 horsepower output. Proposed armament became 2 x 23mm VYa-23 series cannons, one fitted to each wing, as well as support for up to 440 pounds of carried ordnance - conventional drops and rockets. Ten AG-2 "aerial grenades" could be dropped behind the aircraft in the event of an attempted interception.
The IL-1 prototype went airborne for the first time on May 19th, 1944. Testing showcased a maximum speed of 360 miles per hour and ranges out to 620 miles. Its service ceiling was in the 28,215 foot range. The specifications were decent though they did not overtake those already being exhibited by in-service Soviet fighters from suppliers such as Mikoyan-Gurevich and Yakovlev. The IL-1 also carried limited standard armament and its bomb load was rather meager.
Momentum along the East Front was decidedly pro-Soviet by the end of 1944 and dominance in the air followed. The IL-2 was consistently providing excellent service in the ground attack role and there proved little need for the compact IL-1. The prototype was only ever evaluated by the company and never sent in for approval by governing bodies, leaving the sole airframe as the only product of the venture. It was ultimately abandoned when it became clear that there would be little interest in perusing the IL-1 design. The two-seat IL-10 fared better and was eventually adopted as a successor to the IL-2, managing for itself a healthy post-war career with production reaching into the thousands.
Any available statistics for the Ilyushin IL-1 Ground Attack Fighter Prototype are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).
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.
Relative Maximum Speed Rating
This entry's maximum listed speed (360mph).
Graph average of 300 miles-per-hour.
Graph showcases the Ilyushin IL-1's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.