Ikarus 452M: Featherweight Champion

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Ikarus 452M, Yugoslav Air Force, 1953
Part of the Yugoslav Air Tree suggestion

452M 1


The Ikarus 452M was Yugoslavia’s second ever domestically-produced jet, an experimental interceptor of the early 1950s. Besides looking very unusual with its twin tail and stacked engines, it was extremely lightweight (at 1.1 tons) and small (at a wingspan of 5.25 meters that would make it the smallest plane added to War Thunder).


The only variant relevant for War Thunder is the one built, the Ikarus 452M or 452-2, with two Palas 056A engines and two .50cals.

Plans were made for the B-452-3, that was to house three of the Palas jet engines with an armament of one 20mm HS.404 and one .50cal. However, it was never built.

Similarly, the B-452-4 was a version of the 452M enlarged by 8%, but housing two stronger Marboré II engines, two HS.404 cannons, and possibly HVAR rocket containers in the role of ground support. It, too, remained unbuilt.

Crew: 1

Length: 5.97 m
Wingspan: 5.25 m
Height: 1.77 m
Wing area: 11.20 m²

Empty: ?? kg
Loaded: 1100 kg

Engine: 2 x Turbomeca Palas 056A
Thrust: 2 x 1.50 kN

Maximum speed: 750 km/h
Stall speed: 190 km/h
Range: 540 km
Flight endurance: 75 min
Flight ceiling: 9,800 m
Climb rate: ?? m/min

Provision for 2 x 12.7mm M3 Browning machine guns

After World War II, the Yugoslav aircraft manufacturer Ikarus resumed its operations. Besides their construction of the piston-powered S-49 fighters, they also built a number of unique jet aircraft prototypes. Though the Ikarus 452M, also known as the Ikarus 452-2, does not hold the distinction of being the country’s first domestically built jet-powered plane, it is certainly a contender for the most unique one.

The 9th Construction Group of the GDVI (General Directorate of the Aviation Industry), led by experienced designer Dragoljub Bešlin, conceived the project for a light interceptor which Ikarus was tasked with building the first model of. Its key characteristics were swept wings at a 36° angle, a twin-boom configuration, and two Turbomeca Palas 056A jet engines housed at the rear of the fuselage, one above the other. The thrust produced by the engines was very low, and for that reason it was considered an experimental aircraft with plans for more engines, larger size and heavier armament. Even though it was only meant as an experimental plane, the prototype 452M had provisions to carry two 12.7mm Browning machine guns.

The sole copy of the Ikarus 452M was completed by April 30, 1953, when Yugoslavia publicly announced it possessed the first jet interceptor of its own design. Marshal Josip Tito, the country’s President, inspected the prototype during an air show on May 21, and it made its first test flight on July 24 with test pilot Tugomir Prebeg in the cockpit. However, that flight would also prove to be its last, as an engine failure occured that was later revealed to be caused by a fault in the fuel supply system.

In the ensuing crash landing, test pilot Prebeg survived despite a fractured skull, and the plane was severely damaged, especially in the front fuselage section. After the crash, work on the project ceased as attention turned to other designs like Bešlin’s transonic B-12 light fighter. Experience with the Ikarus 452M would later contribute to the development of the first mass-produced Yugoslav jets like the G-2 Galeb.

There is an extremely rare video of the 452M prototype on the ground and in flight, which also shows Bešlin and the test pilot Prebeg. @YugoSlav has generously saved it and uploaded it to Youtube:



452M 9
452M 2

452M 3
The prototype after the crash landing, front fuselage is heavily damaged.

Yugoslav President Tito inspecting the 452M prototype.

452M 6




The Myth of Ikarus

Ikarus 452

Flight of the Yugoslav Ikarus – Part II – Aces Flying High

Glasnik RV i PVO magazine (unknown issue, 452M page is shown above)

X-Planes of Europe II, pages 177-179


+1 for Yugoslavia
Very fun title!

1 Like

What a goofy little jet! +1