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Ilyushin Il-40 - BRAWNY

The Ilyushin Il-40 (NATO reporting name: Brawny) was a two-seat Soviet jet-engined armored ground-attack aircraft. The Il-40 was the first Soviet jet attack aircraft, equipped with two relatively small, economical, lightweight and powerful enough AM-5F turbojet engines designed by Alexander Mikulin. They developed a thrust of 2150 kgf without afterburner and 2700 kgf with afterburner. In the history of Soviet aviation there are many experimental aircraft of unusual appearance, which did not go into mass production, and therefore did not enter the service in the ranks of the Soviet Air Force. One of these aircraft is the IL-40 attack aircraft with an unusual nose resembling a double-barreled shotgun.

In Soviet attack aircraft, piston engines have been used for a relatively long time. Until the mid-1950s, the armed forces of the Soviet Air Force consisted of the Il-2 and Il-10 attack aircraft, created during the Great Patriotic War. In them from model to model improved armor protection and weapons. Speed was considered a less important characteristic for aircraft that have to deal with ground targets.

A piston engine was used in the first post-war development of the Ilyushin Design Bureau - the Il-20 attack aircraft. This car was distinguished by an unusual design: the cockpit was directly above the engine, which provided the pilot with excellent visibility and the ability for targeted shooting and bombing (from a dive). The IL-20 was built and tested at the end of 1948. However, this machine did not enter mass production due to excessive engine vibration, insufficient firepower (weaker than that of the IL-10), and also because the piston aircraft was considered obsolete in the age of jet aircraft.

This unusual aircraft began to be developed at the Ilyushin Design Bureau in the early 1950s. Then, in 1951, a technical proposal was developed, the purpose of which was to create a double armored attack aircraft with two jet engines, and on February 1, 1952, the USSR Council of Ministers issued a decree on the design and construction of a new attack aircraft. The country needed a new modern aircraft. The terms of reference included the creation of an aircraft that could fly at a speed of 850 km / h at an altitude of one kilometer and attack the enemy with bomb, artillery and missile weapons. At the same time, everything had to be done very quickly, so it took only 20 days to protect the design project of Ilyushin Design Bureau, and a year later the designers rolled out the first plane with an unusual appearance.

The IL-40 armored hull, assembled from thick steel sheets, provided the crew of the aircraft, consisting of a pilot and a gunner-radio operator, with reliable protection. In front, the pilot was covered by a 10-mm bulletproof gun and a 124-mm windshield. The side windows of the cab were 68 mm thick. Above and behind were an 8-mm armor plate on the movable part of the lamp and a 16-mm armored seat. The cabin also carried powerful armor protection from steel sheets 4-10 mm thick. Cabins of crew members were equipped with ejection seats. AM-5F engines were also protected by 4 mm thick armor. The total weight of the metal and transparent armor on the plane, together with the mounts, was 1918 kg.

IL-40 with a block of turbojet shellsInitially, the main armament of the IL-40 consisted of six 23-mm NR-23 guns mounted in the nose of the aircraft, three on each side. Their rate of fire was 800 rounds per minute, and the ammunition consisted of 900 shells - 150 per barrel. Another NR-23 cannon with 200 rounds of ammunition was located in the Il-K10 stern, remotely controlled from the shooter's cabin. It was intended not only to protect the rear hemisphere of the attack aircraft from enemy fighters, but also to fire at ground targets when the aircraft leaves the attack.

Four small bomb compartments were located in the thick wings of the IL-40, each containing one bomb weighing up to 100 kg. In addition, on an external sling, the aircraft could carry two bombs weighing up to 500 kg, eight unguided shells TRS-132 or twelve TRS-82 or outboard fuel tanks with a total volume of 1,100 liters. The normal bomb load of the IL-40 was 400 kg, and in the reload version, the aircraft could carry 1000 kg of bombs. It was possible to install eight TRS-132 or twelve TRS-82 at the expense of overload.

A wide range of special devices, including air-thermal de-icers, electric heaters for the windshields of the pilot's cabin, as well as a set of flight-navigation and radio communication equipment, turned the IL-40 into a round-the-clock all-weather aircraft.

The first prototype IL-40 was built in February 1953, and already on March 7, test pilot Vladimir Kokkinaki tested the new machine in flight. A few weeks later, Kokkinaki flew to the training ground to test the front cannon mount in action.

At the end of March 1953, Kokkinaki flew to the Faustovo training ground to test the front cannon mount by firing at a ground target. An experienced pilot approached the training ground at an altitude of 5000 meters, entered the plane into a shallow dive, pressed the cannons of the cannons and ... The effect of the shooting was unexpected:the flame escaping from the cannons blinded him. At the same time spontaneously sharply slowed down, and then the engines turned off. Kokkinaki stopped shooting, managed to start the engines again (thanks to the reserve of height) and returned to base. The incident was immediately reported to Ilyushin, who ordered an urgent development of a program for investigating unstable engine operating conditions when firing from the front cannon mount of an IL-40 aircraft. Then, technical documentation was issued on the installation of two types of muzzle covers on gun barrels, as well as eight types of various nozzles that diverted powder gases away from the air intakes.

Engineers proposed a series of special muzzle covers and nozzles that diverted powder gases away from the air intakes, which, however, were ineffective. It was decided to replace six NR-23 guns with four more powerful and quick-firing cannons TKB-495A (AM-23). With the same caliber as the NR-23, the caliber (23 mm) and a slight difference in weight, the new guns had an increased rate of fire - 1300 rounds per minute. Thus, a salvo of four TKB-495A (AM-23) was equivalent to a salvo of six NR-23. In this case, the ammunition TKB-495A (AM-23), mounted on the IL-40, amounted to 225 shells. The fifth gun of this type was installed in the aft installation of the aircraft.

The bow of the attack aircraft was designed as a gas chamber for TKB-495A guns. When firing, it diverted powder gases away from the air intakes. True, at the same time, there was an additional purge of the compartment for collecting cartridges and installing special muzzle mufflers on the guns. These measures made it possible to eliminate the effect of blinding pilots and to ensure the normal operation of engines even when firing in long bursts.

State tests of the IL-40 began on January 21, 1954, and ended on March 15. In their course, it turned out that the IL-40 significantly surpasses the IL-10M in maximum horizontal flight speed, rate of climb, bomb load and the density and accuracy of artillery fire. The IL-40 with a normal flight weight of 16,200 kg, which included a full cannon ammunition and 400 kg of bombs, developed a speed of 910 km / h on the ground, and 950 km / h at an altitude of 1000 meters. With overhead tanks and an overload of up to 17,275 kg, the combat radius of the Il-40 was 270 km, which met the requirements for supporting ground forces. In addition, the attack aircraft could be used for photo reconnaissance.

The tactical features of the IL-40 were evaluated in comparison with the IL-10M piston attack aircraft, which was then in service with the Air Force. A comparative analysis showed that the IL-40 significantly surpasses the IL-10M in maximum horizontal flight speed, speed range, rate of climb, altitude of practical use, bomb load and power of artillery weapons. It was noted that the tactical range and equipment of the aircraft allow using it without relocation for direct support of ground forces at a depth of up to 250 km. The IL-40 could also conduct tactical visual and photo reconnaissance in the interests of the aviation and combined arms command. At state tests, an air battle of Il-40 with fighter MiG-15bis and MiG-17 was carried out.

When carrying out attacks on ground targets, the IL-40 turned out to be more stable in command than the IL-10M. He created a greater density of fire, having a higher accuracy of fire. The simultaneous use of all four guns did not affect the piloting of the aircraft; the recoil during firing was small. The aircraft was tested during bombing from a dive at an angle of 30 to 50 degrees, as well as from horizontal flight at an altitude of 300 meters at a speed of 700 km / h. The striking effect of IL-40 weapons was very strong.

In the summer of 1956, the IL-40 was demonstrated to the military delegation of the US Air Force at the airfield in Kubinka. In the opinion expressed by the Americans, no other country in the world had such a machine at that time. Cases of stalled IL-40 aircraft engines when firing from front guns forced designers to look for new solutions.

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Page last modified: 17-10-2019 19:09:04 ZULU