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Il-2M3 Shturmovik Il-2 Shturmovik (AC003)
Il-2M3 Shturmovik

The Ilyushin-2 Shturmovik ground-attack aircraft was one of the most important Soviet combat aircraft of World War II, the Il-2 was a well-designed and effective aircraft, and was produced in great numbers.

Il-2M3 Shturmovik
In 1938, as the clouds of war gathered over Europe, a design request for an anti-tank aircraft was issued by the Soviet Government. A team under Sergei V. Ilyushin at the Soviet Central Design Bureau set about designing a two-seat aircraft designated the “TsKB-55”.
Il-2M3 Shturmovik
Il-2M3 Shturmovik

Two prototypes were produced and the first flew in October 1939. The prototypes proved the usefulness of Ilyushin’s design, and factories began to set up for production in early 1941.

The first production model was a single-seater, unlike the two-seater prototypes, in an attempt to save weight. It was a heavily armoured aircraft, the front fuselage around the engine and cockpit was built with 5 to 12mm thick armour plate to protect the Shturmovik from ground fire. The engine’s radiators were behind the engine in the armoured body and the air intakes were placed on top of the nose. Armour glass was used for the cockpit, ranging from 55 to 65mm thick. The first model Il-2 was armed with two ShKAS 7.62mm machine-guns and two ShVAK 20mm cannons. 

Il-2M3 Shturmovik
Rails for eight 82mm RS-82 rockets could also be mounted under the wings, making it one of the first attack aircraft to carry rockets. It could also carry a bombload of 400kg, these could be in the two small bomb bays in each wing inside of the landing gear or mounted on external racks under the wings.
Il-2M3 Shturmovik
Il-2M3 Shturmovik Combat experience demonstrated some deficiencies in the aircraft. The 20mm main cannon didn’t have enough punch and the aircraft was vulnerable to fighter attacks from above while engaged in low-altitude combat. The Ilyushin design team went about making a number of changes in the spring of 1942.
The first major change was the replacement of the two 20mm ShVAK cannons with twin high-velocity 23mm VYa cannon. A more powerful engine was also incorporated an (AM-38F rated at 1,750 HP). This model was the Il-2M.
Il-2M3 Shturmovik
Technical Data
Wingspan: 14.6m
Wing area: 38.5m2
Length: 11.65m
Height: 4.17m
Empty Weight: 3,400kg
MTO Weight: 5,870kg
Maximum Speed: 425km/h
Ceiling: 4,525m
Range: 600km

With a more powerful engine the designers were able to reincorporate the two seat cockpit allowing for the rear gunner position to protect the aircraft from fighters. This was the Il-2M3 in which the rear gunner was armed with a single 12.7mm UBT machine-gun. Armour was also increased.

In 1943 further improvements were made to the design with the two 23mm cannon were replaced by a pair of long-barrelled 37mm NS-37 cannons, this variant was known as the Il-2-37.

Painted by Jeremy Painter

Last Updated On Thursday, March 22, 2012 by Chris at Battlefront