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Ilyushin IL-10 (Beast)

Twin-Seat Single-Engine Ground Attack Aircraft

Soviet Union | 1944

"The Ilyushin IL-10 Beast was successor to the extremely successful IL-2 Shturmovik series in Soviet Air Force service during World War 2."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 09/15/2021 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The Ilyushin IL-10 was a follow-up design to the classic IL-2 "Shturmovik", an armored ground attack aircraft that won the air war for the Soviets in the East Front of World War 2. Visually similar to its predecessor, the newer IL-10 was developed in the closing years of the war and only saw limited action in a handful of delivered models. The type went on to see more service in the Korean War, fighting for the North Koreans against NATO forces on the peninsula.

Following the successes of its IL-2 platform, work had already begun on a new an improved version by 1943. The Ilyushin firm began work on what was intended to be a very heavily armed and armored fighter (designated by this time as the IL-1) intended as an interceptor for bombers. When this need fell by the wayside with the Soviet Air Force, the design was translated into the more conventional ground attack platform, a platform where low level flight, speed and armor are all benefits to the design. This new conversion of the IL-1 became the more identifiable designation of IL-10.

By this time, the IL-10 had beaten out a Sukhoi design and the prototype passed the required trials. With that, the IL-10 was accepted into production and was slated to become the new standard ground attack aircraft of the Soviet air force. In essence, the IL-10 was an improved IL-2 to be sure, sharing many outward similarities to the design and thusly maintained a developmental advantage having been designed from an existing and highly successful airframe. The first production aircraft was in flight by September of 1944 and - by production end - would see over 6,000 produced.

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The IL-10 design followed suit with the IL-2, with a to man crew. The pilot sat in the forward cockpit area mounted in the design over the wing system. The rear gunner sat in a rear-facing seat just over and behind the wing. Wings were of the same low-monoplane mounting and the IL-10 featured the same distinct three-bladed propeller. Power was derived from a single Mikulin liquid-cooled engine. Initial armament of early production models consisted of 2 x 23mm cannons and 2 x 12.7mm machine guns in the wings along with a single 12.7mm machine gun in the rear gunner position. From 1947 onwards, this would be supplanted by a more powerful array of 4 x 23mm cannons and a single 20mm cannon in the rear gunner position. The ability to carry 4 x air-to-surface rockets was also added by this time, increasing the potential lethality of the system, especially in its close-support role. As expected, bombs would also be carried as needed and this total could reach some 1,320 pounds of ordnance.

The IL-10 did not appear in many varied forms. The IL-10U was designed as a modified trainer in which the rear gunner position acted as the instructors area. Controls were duplicated in this position and armament varied little. It formed a very good basic training platform for the real combat version of the IL-10. The IL-10M represented the improved IL-10 with the 4 x 23mm and 1 x 20mm cannon layout explained above. Handling and navigation were also improved in this version ad control surfaces and wingspan were increased. Early production IL-10 had shown some growing pains, particularly in the powerplant, but these were effectively ironed out before the IL-10M version. The IL-10 also appeared under license production with the Czech Air Force as the B33. This particular model would also see use with Yemeni forces in a later delivery.

The IL-10 appeared in quantity by 1944, though these were supplied to various training units at first and combat models were not made available until 1945, the last year of the war. By this time, the war was beginning to wind down and only a few handful of IL-10s managed to see any combat against German foes in the conflict, having to wait instead for the upcoming Korean War to follow shortly afterwards. Several IL-10s did see some action against Japanese forces in the Pacific. In North Korean hands, the IL-10 found some early successes against South Korea but were wholly outmatched with the arrival of US and NATO forces shortly thereafter.

In all, the IL-10 was not designed without faults but it quickly established itself as a successful runner up to the IL-2. The platform proved viable in the continued ground attack role and was made more lethal with the changing requirements. Even in the early stages of the jet age, the low-flying low-speed ground attack propeller-driven systems still found a home on the modern battlefield. IL-10 were examples of that in much the same way that Douglas Skyraiders of the Americans would still be in service during the Vietnam War, fighting alongside jets in the close-support role.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Ilyushin IL-10 (Beast) Twin-Seat Single-Engine Ground Attack Aircraft.
1 x Mikulin AM-42 liquid-cooled V-12 engine developing 1,770 horsepower.
342 mph
550 kph | 297 kts
Max Speed
13,123 ft
4,000 m | 2 miles
Service Ceiling
497 miles
800 km | 432 nm
Operational Range
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Ilyushin IL-10 (Beast) Twin-Seat Single-Engine Ground Attack Aircraft.
36.5 ft
11.12 m
O/A Length
44.0 ft
(13.40 m)
O/A Width
13.5 ft
(4.10 m)
O/A Height
10,307 lb
(4,675 kg)
Empty Weight
14,412 lb
(6,537 kg)
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Ilyushin IL-10 (Beast) Twin-Seat Single-Engine Ground Attack Aircraft .
2 x 23mm NS-23 cannons in wings
1 x 12.7mm UBST machine gun in rear cockpit on trainable mount.

4 x Unguided Air-to-Surface Rockets
Up to 1,320lbs of external ordnance.
Notable series variants as part of the Ilyushin IL-10 (Beast) family line.
IL-1 - Initial Designation to followup successful IL-2 design; later changed to IL-10 designation.
IL-10 - Base Series Designation; Early production models armed with 2 x 23mm cannons and 2 x 12.7mm machine guns in wings with 1 x 12.7mm machine gun in rear gunner station; later production models from 1947 on fielded with 4 x 23mm cannons in wings and 20mm cannon in rear gun station.
IL-10M - "Improved" IL-10; 4 x 23mm cannons in wings with 1 x 20mm cannon in rear gunner station; longer fuselage; increased wingspan and control surfaces; fin installed under tail assembly; improved handling characteristics and navigation system.
IL-10 (UII-2) - Trainer Variant Designation
B33 - Czech license-produced variant designation; 4 x 23mm cannons in wings and 1 x 20mm cannon in rear gunner station.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Ilyushin IL-10 (Beast). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 6,166 Units

Contractor(s): Ilyushin - Soviet Union / Avia Motors - Czechoslovakia
National flag of Afghanistan National flag of Bulgaria National flag of China National flag of Czechia National flag of Hungary National flag of Indonesia National flag of North Korea National flag of Poland National flag of Romania National flag of the Soviet Union National flag of Yemen

[ Afghanistan; Bulgaria; China; Czechoslovakia; Hungary; Indonesia; North Korea; Poland; Romania; Soviet Union; Yemen (B33) ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (342mph).

Graph Average of 300 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
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Image of the Ilyushin IL-10 (Beast)
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Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Ilyushin IL-10 (Beast) Twin-Seat Single-Engine Ground Attack Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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