Ilyushin Il-10

Type: Ground Attack
Origin: Ilyushin
Crew: Two
First Flight: April 1944
Service Delivery: October 1944
Final Delivery: 1955
Production: 4,655 (Soviet production only)

Model: Mikulin AM-42
Type: Liquid cooled piston engine
Number: One      Horsepower: 2,000 hp

Wing Span: 43 ft. 11½ in. (13.40m)
Length: 36 ft. 3½ in. (11.65m)
Height: 1313 ft. 8½ in. (4.18m)
Wing Area: 322.9 sq. ft. (30.00m²)

Empty: 10,317 lb (4680 kg)
Loaded: 14,407 lb (6535 kg)
Max. Speed: 329 mph (530 kph) at 7,875 ft.
Service Ceiling: 23,785 ft. (7250m)
Range: 497 miles (800 km)

Two 7.62mm ShKAS machine guns mounted in wings.
Two 23mm VYa-23 or NS-23 cannon mounted in wings.
One 12.7mm UBT machine gun or 20mm UB-20 cannon in rear cockpit.

Up to 1,102 lb. (500 kg) of bombs plus four RS-82 rockets or RS-132 rockets under outer wing panels.

Development: - Source: Wikipedia
From the start of Eastern Front combat in World War II, the Soviet Air Force used the successful ground attack aircraft Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik, powered by the Mikulin AM-38 inline engine. As the war progressed, the Soviets started searching for its successor. The main goal was to increase speed and maneuverability at low altitudes, mainly to evade small caliber anti-aircraft artillery, which was the main danger for ground attack aircraft, and to remove some other Il-2 faults. The most promising project was a modern light and maneuverable close assault aircraft, Sukhoi Su-6, developed by Pavel Sukhoi's bureau from 1942. At the same time, Sergey Ilyushin developed a heavier aircraft VSh or Il-8 M-71, derived from the Il-2 design, and on which it partly based. Both projects were powered by the prototype M-71 radial engine, which was not produced.

In 1943, Ilyushin started work on a new aircraft, Il-1, which was to be a 1- or 2-seat heavy armoured fighter-attacker, meant mainly for fighting enemy bombers and transports. The Il-1 was similar to Il-2 design, but was more modern and compact, and powered with a new Mikulin engine, the AM-42. But, the air force gave up the idea of heavy armoured fighters, due to their low speed, which was not enough to intercept modern bombers. As a result, Ilyushin decided to turn the Il-1 into a 2-seat ground attack plane, with the designation changed to Il-10 in early 1944 (odd numbers were reserved for fighters). In the spring of 1944, the Il-10 flew, and underwent state trials in June, with success.

At that time, Ilyushin also finished a prototype of a heavier ground attack plane, the Il-8, with the same engine, derived from the Il-2 design. It carried more payload (1000 kg), but had worse performance, than the Il-10. The third competitor was a new variant of the Sukhoi Su-6, also with the AM-42 engine. After comparative tests, the Il-10 was considered the winner and chosen as new ground attack plane, despite some opinions that the Su-6 was a better aircraft, with inferior performance and payload, but better gun armament. Notably, the Su-6 prototype was tested with maximum payload, causing worse performance, while the Il-10 was tested with normal payload. Some advantages of the Il-10 were from its technical similarity to the Il-2.

Production - Source: Wikipedia
By decision of the State Defense Committee (GKO), on August 23, 1944, the Il-10 was put into serial production as a new ground attack plane. Its armament was similar to late model Il-2s, with two 23 mm WYa-23 cannons and two machine guns in the wings, a 12.7 mm machine gun for a rear gunner, and 400 kg, or a maximum 600 kg of bombs. Unlike the Il-2 and Su-6, initially it was meant to carry no rockets.

Production of the Il-10 started in factories No. 1 and No. 18 in Kuybyshev. The first serial plane flew on September 27, 1944 and 99 aircraft were produced by the end of 1944. Early series planes showed teething problems, most notably engine faults and fires. Most problems were eliminated in 1945. Aircraft produced from April 1945 could carry four unguided air-to ground rockets. Aircraft produced from 1947 were fitted with stronger armament, of four 23 mm NS-23 cannons in wings and a 20 mm cannon for a rear gunner. Il-10 production ended in 1949, after making 4,600 aircraft; in the last two years, they were produced in factory No. 64.

In 1945-47, also produced were 280 trainer aircraft variant UIl-2 or Il-10U. The rear gunner cab was replaced with a longer instructor cab, with dual controls. Its performance and construction were similar to the combat variant, apart from armament, which was reduced to two cannons, two rockets, and a standard load of bombs.

In 1951, the Czechoslovak works Avia secured a license to make Il-10's, with the designation B-33. The first one flew on December 26, 1951. Initially, their engines were Soviet-built. From 1952, the engines were also made in Czechoslovakia as the M-42. Besides the combat variant, a trainer variant was made, with designation CB-33. In total, 1200 B-33's were made by 1956.

In 1951, due to the Korean War experience, the Soviet Air Force decided that propeller ground attack aircraft might still be useful, and decided to renew Il-10 production in a modified variant Il-10M. It first flew on July 2, 1951. It was a bit longer, with a longer wingspan, and bigger steering surfaces, with a fin under the tail. Four newer cannons, NR-23, were mounted in the wings, the payload stayed the same, and newer navigation equipment was installed, giving some all-weather capability. Its speed decreased slightly, but handling improved. In 1953-54, 146 Il-10M were made, all but 10 in factory No. 168 in Rostov-on-Don.

In total, 6,166 of all Il-10 variants were made, including licensed ones.

Trials occurred of Il-10's with stronger AM-43 and AM-45 engines, but were unsuccessful. Ilyushin next designed a lighter close assault plane Il-16, with improved performance and similar armament. It first flew on June 10, 1945. Production of a small series began, but the works were canceled in 1946 due to AM-43 engine unreliability.

Design - Source: Wikipedia
The airframe featured one engine, two-seat, monoplane, metal frame, metal-covered. The plane was highly armoured. The front part of the fuselage, with crew cab, was a shell of armour plates 4-8 mm thick; the thickest, 8 mm, were under the engine, above the engine was no armour. The front windshield was made of armour glass 64 mm thick. Also armoured was: a roof above the pilot, side window frames in the pilot's cab, a wall between crew seats, and a rear wall behind the cab. Total armour weight was 994 kg, including its attachment. The wing consisted of a central section, with two bomb bays, and two detachable outer sections. The undercarriage was retractable, main gear folded rearwards, after turning at 86°.

The Guns were early Il-10 had two autocannons 23 mm WYa-23 (150 rounds each) and 2 machine guns 7.62mm ShKAS (750 rounds each) fixed in wings, and a 12.7 mm UBT machine gun in a rear gunner station BU-8, with 150 rounds. The horizontal angle of the rear machine gun fire was 100°. From 1947, the aircraft were armed with four 23 mm cannons NS-23 in wings (150 rounds each) and 20 mm B-20T cannon in a rear gunner station BU-9 (150 rounds). IL-10M had four 23 mm NR-23 cannons in wings (150 rounds each) and 20 mm B-20EN cannon in a rear gunner station BU-9M (150 rounds). Avia B-33 had four 23 mm NS-23RM cannons in wings and 20 mm B-20ET cannon in a rear gunner station BU-9M.

The bomb load was a normal load was 400 kg, maximum 600 kg. This could be small fragmentation or anti-tank bomblets, put in bomb bays, or four 50 - 100 kg bombs in bomb bays and externally under wings, or two 200 - 250 kg bombs attached under wings. Small bomblets were put directly on bomb bay floors, in piles. A typical example load was 182 (maximum 200) 2 kg AO-2,5-2 fragmentation bombs, or 144 PTAB-2,5-1,5 anti-tank HEAT bombs. Apart from bombs, four unguided rockets RS-82 or RS-132 could be carried on rail launchers under wings. Avia B-33's were also fitted to carry other rocket types. Late Soviet aircraft could carry ORO-82 and ORO-132 tube launchers. In the tail section was a DAG-10 launcher with 10 anti-aircraft or anti-personnel grenades AG-2 (after being thrown, they would fall with parachutes and then burst, but were not widely used in practice).

The Il-10 engine was a 12 cylinder inline V engine Mikulin AM-42, liquid cooled, power: 1,770 hp, start power: 2000 hp. Three blade propeller AV-5L-24 with a diameter of 3.6 m. Two fuel tanks in a fuselage: upper 440 l over engine, before crew cab, and lower 290 l below crew cab. The aircraft had a radio set and a camera AFA-1M in a rear section of the fuselage.

Operational history - Source: Wikipedia
In the Soviet Air Force, the Il-10 first entered training units in October 1944. In January 1945 the first Il-10 combat unit entered service with the 78th Guards assault aviation regiment, but it did not enter action due to unfinished training. However, three other Il-10 units managed to take part in the final combat actions of World War II in Europe. They were: the 571st assault aviation regiment (from April 15, 1945), the 108th Guards assault aviation regiment (from April 16, 1945) and the 118th Guards assault aviation regiment (on May 8, 1945). About a dozen aircraft were destroyed by Flak or engine breakdowns, but the Il-10 appeared a successful design. One was shot down by a Fw 190 fighter, but a crew of the 118th regiment shot down another Fw 190 and probably damaged the next one. On May 10, 1945, the day after the official Soviet end of the war, Victory Day, there were 120 serviceable Il-10 in Soviet Air Force combat units, and 26 disabled ones.

After the USSR reentered the war against Japan, with Operation August Storm, from August 9, 1945, one Il-10 unit, the 26th assault aviation regiment of the Pacific Navy Aviation, was used in combat in Korean Peninsula, attacking Japanese ships in Rasin and rail transports.

After the war, until the early 1950s, the Il-10 was a basic Soviet ground attack aircraft. They were withdrawn from service in 1956. At the same time, work on new jet armoured ground attack planes (like Il-40) were canceled, and the Soviets turned to fighter-bomber aviation. The Il-10 and its license variant B-33, became a basic ground attack plane of the Warsaw Pact countries. From 1949 to 1959, the Polish Air Force used 120 Il-10's (including 24 UIl-10), and 281 B-33's. In Poland the B-33 was modified to carry 400 l additional fuel tanks under wings. From 1950-60, Czechoslovakia used 86 Il-10's, including 6 UIl-10's, and about 600 B-33's. From 1949-56, the Hungarian Air Force used 159 Il-10 and B-33. From 1953-60, the Romanian Air Force used 30 Il-10 and 150 B-33. Also Bulgaria used these aircraft.

In the late 1940s, 93 Il-10 and UIl-10 were given to North Korea. They were then used in the 57th assault aviation regiment during the early phase of the Korean War. They were initially used with success against the weak anti-aircraft defense of South Korean forces, but then they suffered heavy losses in encounters against the US fighters and were bombed on the ground themselves. After several weeks, about 20 remained. In the summer of 1950, North Korea received more aircraft from the USSR. The North Koreans claimed to sink a warship on August 22, 1950 with Il-10, but it is unconfirmed.

From 1950, Il-10's were used by the People's Republic of China, in two regiments of an assault aviation division. They were used in combat during a conflict with the Republic of China, Taiwan, on border islands in January 1955. They remained in service as long as until 1972. From 1957, Yemen used 24 B-33's.