Il-2M3 Stormovik

Russian close support and ground attack aircraft Ilyushin Il-2M3 Stormovik.
History, development, service, specifications, pictures and 3D model.

Manoevrable, incredibly tough and with devastating forward-firing armament, the Il-2 was no easy prey even for Luftwaffe fighters. These are rear-gunned models in 1944.
Maneuverable, incredibly tough and with devastating forward-firing armament, the Il-2 was no easy prey even for Luftwaffe fighters. These are rear-gunned models in 1944.

Ilyushin Il-2 Stormovik.
Type: Close support and ground attack aircraft.


‘It is at least as essential to the Red Army as oxygen and bread.’ These were the words that Joseph Stalin used in 1941 to describe one of the most effective aircraft to emerge from Russian factories during the war. He was talking about the Ilyushin Il-2, a veritable ‘flying tank’ which turned out to be the best ground-attack type of the war.

More than 36,000 Il-2s came off the produc­tion line in several versions. The career of the ‘Stormovik’ (as the Il-2 and its direct successors were known) con­tinued after WW2, with the Il-10 going to Soviet satellite countries (Hungary, Romania, China, North Korea, Albania, Czechoslo­vakia, Bulgaria and East Germany) and serving in the Korean War.

Design of the Stormovik was begun in 1938 by Sergei Ilyushin and his team in answer to a specification calling for a single-engined monoplane for ground attack and tactical bombing. The same request was issued to Pavel Sukhoi, who came up with the undistinguished Su-2.
The first Stormovik appeared in the spring of 1939 under the designa­tion TsKB-55. Flight-test results were not outstanding, however: the engine was not powerful enough, and there was also some longitudinal instability. It was not until the development of the third prototype, which took to the air in October of the following year, that the Il-2 was regarded as accept­able. The Il-2 then went into immediate production.

The most original aspect of the Il-2 design was the fact that the entire forward part of the aircraft (from the engine compartment to the cockpit) was a single-armored shell that also had structural functions. This solution provided maximum protection for the engine, its main accessories and the crew. It was also substantially lighter than traditional armor plating. The steel armor of the Il-2 varied in thick­ness from an average 4-8 mm to 13 mm on the rear fuselage. There was also duralumin armor 5 mm thick on the upper surfaces, and the cockpit canopy had bullet-proof transparencies and a 65 mm-thick windscreen. The fuselage was conventional in structure, being made originally of wood and later of metal.

The first Stormoviks went into service in the summer of 1941 and proved to be extremely effective against enemy tanks. As better German types entered the field, it became necessary to im­prove the Il-2’s offensive and defensive armament.

July 1942 saw the appear­ance of the II-2M3 with a more power­ful engine, better armament consisting of two 23 mm cannon plus three machine guns, and a second crew member.
This was the most numerous variant. The Il-2M3 took part in every major operation on the Eastern Front, winning particular distinction in the Battle of Kursk in the summer of 1943, when Stormoviks attacked massive formations of German tanks.

Users: Soviet Union (Russia).

Animated 3D model Ilyushin Il-2M3 Stormovik

Specifications Ilyushin Il-2M3 Stormovik


Ilyushin Il-2M3 Stormovik Specification
Typeclose support and ground attack aircraft
Power plant one 1,750hp SM-38F vee-12 liquid-cooled engine
Wing span 47 ft 11 in
Length overall 39 ft 4.5 in
Height overall 11 ft 1.75 in
Wing area414.4 sq.ft
Weight empty 7,165 lb (Il-2), 9,976 lb (late models Il-2M3)
Weight loaded 12,947 lb (maximum take-off late models: 14,021 lb)
Max wing loading?
Max power loading?
Max level speed (clean)281 mph
Max level speed (loaded)251 mph
Max level speed (with 1,323 lb bomb load)231 mph
at height 2,500 - 4,290 ft
Cruising speed?
at height?
initial climb (Il-2) 490 ft/min
to height?
Service ceiling 28,870 ft
Range375 miles
Range with maximum bomb load373 miles
Range maximum475 miles
Combat radius?


Ilyushin Il-2M3 Stormovik Specification
to front Two 20-mm VYa (later 23-mm or 37-mm) guns and two 7,62-mm MGs in wings
to rear One manually aimed 12,7-mm-BS MG in rear cockpit
external load bomb load 1,323 lb or 200 x 5.5-lb-PTAB hollow-charge anti-tank bombs or 8 x RS-82 or RS-132 air-ground rockets

Service statistics:

Ilyushin Stormovik figures
First flight (BSh-2)30 December 1939
First flight (TsKB-57)12 October 1940
First production (Il-2)March 1941
First production (Il-2M3)September 1942
Final production (Il-2M3)June 1944
First production (Il-10)early 1944
Final delivery?
Unit costs?
Total production figure (all versions) over 36,000 Il-2 and Il-2M3 + 6,330 Il-10 (average production per month 1,200)

References and literature

Luftkrieg (Piekalkiewicz)
Operation Barbarossa: the Complete Organisational and Statistical Analysis, and Military Simulation, Volume I – IIIB (Nigel Askey)
The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II (Chris Bishop)
Combat Aircraft of World War II (Bill Gunston)
Technik und Einsatz der Kampfflugzeuge vom 1. Weltkrieg bis heute (Ian Parsons)
Das große Buch der Luftkämpfe (Ian Parsons)
Luftkrieg (Piekalkiewicz)
Flugzeuge des 2. Weltkrieges (Andrew Kershaw)
World Aircraft World War II (Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi)

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