|ATTACK||Virtual Aircraft Museum / USSR / Russia / Ilyushin|
To provide a replacement for the II-2 Shturmovik (ground-attack aircraft), the llyushin design bureau developed two different prototypes in 1943. The Il-8 bore a close resemblance to the II-2, but was powered by a more powerful AM-42 engine, and had new wings, horizontal tail surfaces and landing gear married to a late-production Il-2 fuselage. Test-flown in April 1944, the II-8 was rejected in favour of the contemporary llyushin Il-10, which began its test flight programme in that month. The Il-10 was a completely new design of all-metal construction and improved aerodynamic form. It provided better crew accommodation , the gunner seated with his back to the pilot in an enlarged cockpit, and both crew members were located within the protective armoured shell. Revised main landing gear units retracted within the wing, eliminating the large landing gear fairings of the II-2 and requiring only small fairings over the pivoting mechanism.
Early favourable reports of the prototype test programme led to a batch of pre-series machines, quantity production being initiated in August 1944, with evaluation in operational regiments starting two months later. The type was used first in operations in February 1945 and by that spring output reached a peak. Many regiments re-equipped with the Il-10 before the German surrender, and a considerable number took part in the brief but large-scale operations against the Japanese in Manchuria and Korea during August 1945.
Production of the Il-10 continued into the post-war period with Soviet factories building 4,966 machines, the last leaving the production lines in 1955. Additionally, ll-10s were also built at the Czech Avia factory, under the designations B-33 and CB-33, the latter being the equivalent of the II-10U trainer variant. Czech production finished in 1954 when over 1,200 examples had been completed. From 1951 onwards Soviet production had concentrated on the II-10M which featured an entirely new wing of revised planform and deeper aerofoil section, a slightly lengthened fuselage, modified landing gear with increased track, and increased fuel capacity.
The Il-10 formed the sole equipment of Soviet assault units for a number of years and was also used widely by Warsaw Pact countries. Other Communist countries to employ the type included North Korea in the opening stages of the Korean War in 1950. Losses were heavy and the type was clearly obsolete but, nevertheless, Il-10s remained in service with the Soviet V-VS until 1956 and with various satellite air arms for several years longer. For some time after that they were flown as gunnery trainers but most had been scrapped by the mid-1960s.
The Il-10 had been tested with a ZhRD-1 auxiliary rocket engine in the rear fuselage to provide short-term performance boost, but this modification was not adopted. The llyushin bureau strove to develop later shturmovik designs, including the II-20 single-seater and the Il-40 with twin turbojets, but official encouragement was minimal, the Soviet authorities having accepted the Western concept of the tactical strike fighter.