Ilyushin Il-102: A Sturmovik for the Wrong Age

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Ilyushin Il-102, USSR, 1982

il102 1

Introduction:
The Ilyushin Il-102 was the historical design bureau’s last attempt at making a modern attack aircraft, though still heavily inspired by its older Sturmoviks. Combining an unusual appearance, advanced armament and an old-fashioned tail turret, this competitor to the Sukhoi Su-25 would make for a cool addition to Soviet top tier.

Specifications:
Crew: 2 (pilot, gunner)

Dimensions
Length: 17.75 m
Wingspan: 16.90 m
Height: 5.08 m
Wing area: 63.5 m²

Mass
Empty: 13,000 kg
Normal take-off: 18,000 kg
Max take-off: 22,000 kg
Internal fuel weight: 3,700 kg

Propulsion
Engines: 2× RD-33I non-afterburning turbofans
Thrust: 2× 52.17 kN (5,320 kgf)

Performance
Maximum speed: 950 km/h
Flight ceiling: 10,000 m
Turning radius: 400 m

Armament
Offensive: Twin 30mm 9A-4071K external cannon, can be controlled to fire down to a 15° angle (500 rounds)

Defensive: Twin GSh-23L cannon in a remotely controlled tail turret (600 rounds)

Suspended: 16 max hardpoints

  • 6 wing bomb bays (250 kg bombs on each)
  • 6 underwing pylons
  • 2 pylons under fuselage
  • 2 internal stores released by removing the 30mm cannons

Weapons on hardpoints:

  • R-60M or R-73 air-to-air missiles
  • Kh-23, Kh-25, Kh-29 air-to-ground missiles
  • Kh-58 anti-radiation missile
  • Unguided bombs, 100-500 kg yield
  • Rocket pods (57mm, 80mm or 130mm caliber) in 6 underwing pylons
  • UAK-23-250 or SPPU-1-23 gunpods

Equipment

  • Avtomat-F flare/chaff dispenser (unknown number)
  • K-36L ejection seats (pilot’s ejection automatically activates gunner’s seat too, but gunner can eject independently)

Armor

  • Cockpit fully armored
  • Canopies made of armored glass
  • Engines and fuel supply system partly armored

il102 3

History:
In the late 1960s, there was a resurgence in Soviet interest for an attack aircraft. The Ilyushin Design Bureau, based on experience in the wars of Vietnam and the Middle East, proposed a two-seat model called the Il-42 powered by two AM-5F turbojets. The Il-42 wasn’t entirely new, but a modernization of Ilyushin’s older Il-40 jet attacker from the early 1950s which saw a limited production run but never entered service.

In 1969, a design competition for attack aircraft was announced in the USSR, with the Sukhoi, Yakovlev, Mikoyan and Ilyushin bureaus all participating. They respectively presented the T8, Yak-25LSh, MiG-21LSh and Il-42, with the winner being Sukhoi’s T8: the prototype that would eventually become the famous Su-25. However, Ilyushin did not end development of its project under G.V. Novozhilov. The Il-42 received a reshaped nose for better visibility, stronger weapons and more powerful engines, as well as a new designation: the Il-102.

Construction of the prototype attack aircraft progressed slowly, in large part due to its unofficial nature. The Il-102 prototype was completed in early 1982, and though it received support from the Air Force Commander-in-Chief and the Air Industry Minister, it was staunchly opposed by Defense Minister Dmitry Ustinov, who preferred Sukhoi’s promising design. However, using the designation OES-1 for “experimental aircraft-1”, its first test flight took place on September 25, 1982 in Belarus, away from prying eyes.

The Il-102 was a highly unusual design for its era, as it was reminiscent of a World War II-era Il-2 Sturmovik. Its most distinctive characteristic was the presence of two cockpits, one for the pilot and one for the tail gunner to remotely control a GSh-23L. The idea was that the effectiveness of missiles would be reduced by jamming, countermeasures, high maneuverability and the presence of a second person to watch the rear half for incoming missiles. Therefore, the attacking planes would resort to guns and have to face fire from the tail cannon. The plane also received armor plating around the cockpits, engines and fuel supply.

For all its seemingly outdated characteristics, the Il-102 still utilized some state-of-the-art technologies. The two engines used, the RD-33I, were a simplified, non-afterburning version of the turbofans used on the MiG-29. This appears to have made the plane quite maneuverable with a tight 400m turn radius. At the same time, it could fire a variety of modern weapons, including the R-60M and R-73 infrared missiles as well as a variety of AGMs.

The Il-102 completed 250 test flights between 1982-1984, showing no serious defects. However, by that point the Su-25 was already in production and the Ilyushin had no serious advantages, other than the controversial tail gunner. An attempt was made to resume the project in 1986, but failed. The aircraft’s only public appearance was in the 1992 Moscow Air Show. Since then, it has been stored in the Gromov Flight Research Institute in Zhukovsky, where it was installed as a monument in 2005.

Gallery:

Gallery

il 102 4

il102 4

il 102 2

forward 30
Twin forward-firing 30mm cannon.

rear 23
Twin defensive 23mm cannon.

cockpit
Il-102 cockpit.


X-ray view showing all major components.

comparison
A comparison of Ilyushin’s jet powered Sturmoviks, as well as two other famous modern strike jets.

Sources:

Sources

http://www.airwar.ru/enc/attack/il102.html

Ил-102 | MilitaryRussia.Ru — отечественная военная техника (после 1945г.)

https://topwar.ru/87583-tyazhelyy-shturmovik-il-102.html

6 Likes

yep this would be cool but i want the Su-27

So much cooler in every way than the Su-25

I’ve wanted this plane for ages. Such a cool aircraft! +1

Don’t carry AAM and filed the cold war line will be better. USSR plane is too
specialized mig is good but not good at carry bomb., and IL28 is too heavy to bomb move target.

I edited IL-40(IL-40P) in few weeks ago. It’s more suitable in BR 8.X.

A good idea

cant agree more!! ussr needs an attacker between tu2(5.3) and su7(9.3). il28 is indeed not a proper attacker but more “fundamentalistically” a bomber.

2 Likes

Tbh when making this suggestion I didn’t imagine the IL-102 being implemented at such a low BR, because it would require gimping it out of any guided weapons. The IL-102 could rival the Su-25T/BM with all its historical loadouts, so why turn an 80s design into something that it was not?

The BR gap in effective Soviet ground attackers you talk about could actually be filled by a predecessor of this plane, the IL-40 from the 1950s. It’s still subsonic, but with only dumb bombs and a lot of cannons.

in fact im glad to see another attacker as good as su25 in war thunder, but you know, i dont want il102 just end up as an alternative to su25.we already have 5 su25(count su39 in)! maybe i will insist il102 be at no higher than 9.3 because american a4e early which can carry 2 tv guided agm62 and 2 more agm12 is at 8.7. no r73 even no r60m is ok, no kh25 or kh29 is ok, at least we have kh23. just take it as a faster a4e, thats what i thought about il102. i dont want one more not-so-modernized su25 either. thanks for your reply :)

1 Like

I really like this design. It almost looks like a ww2 aircraft

Suggestion passed to the developers for consideration.