70th anniversary of the first flight of the Il-10 attack aircraftOn April 18, 1944 V.K. Kokkinaki made the maiden flight of the aircraft Il-10 from Frunze Central Aerodrome on Khodynka Field in Moscow.
The aircraft was built at the factory №18 in Kuybyshev and the final assembly was carried out at the factory № 240 in Moscow. The attack aircraft was fitted with AM-42 engine and powerful artillery armament — four wing-mounted cannons NS-23 with a combined 600 cartridges of ammunition, and one UB-20 turret gun. Maximum speed of the Il-10 was 551 km/h — almost 150 km/h more than the speed of the Il-2.
From the variety of the tasks that were completed by the Il-2 during the Second World War one of the most unusual was their usage as fighter aircraft. Of course, the Il-2 could not combat with enemy’s more maneuvering and speedy frontline fighters on equal terms, but in head-to-head encounters with some of the common bombers and airlifters, the Il-2 usually shot them down.
On May 17, 1943 the State Defense Committee, using the combat experience of the Il-2, made the decision to create a single-seated armored fighter Il-1. Sergey Vladimirovich Ilyushin did not support the concept of a heavy-armored fighter, and the design of the Il-1 progressed with the intention to use this aircraft later as a high-speed and maneuvering two-seated armored ground attack plane.
Military pilots praised the Il-10 as a simple in flying technique aircraft that did not require special transition from the Il-2. Military test-pilots described the Il-10 as “a classic example of a ground attack aircraft.”
After the tests the Il-10 was put into mass production and from April 15, 1945 participated in combat operations.
Shortly before that, on March 28, 1945 in the course of aircraft tests, above Szprotawa aerodrome in Silesia there was organized an exhibition air fight between the ground attack aircraft Il-10, controlled by captain A. Sirotkin from the 108th guard assault air regiment, and the fighter La-5FN, piloted by Hero of the Soviet Union V. Popkov from the 5th guard fighter air regiment. By that time V. Popkov was considered an ace with approximately 100 fights and 39 enemy’s aircraft shot down.
The fight ended in a draw, but the film of the gun camera showed that both the pilot and the gunner of the Il-10 caught the fighter in their aiming crosses more than once.
It led to the main conclusion: if there is an experienced and active pilot and a sharpshooting air gunner in the cockpit of the ground attack aircraft, they have good chances of winning a fight against a fighter plane. Furthermore, at the height of 2000m the Il-2 was not slower that the German fighters Me-109G2 and FW-109A-4.
By the end of the Great Patriotic War high combat qualities of the Il-10 were successfully used by several assault wings. Many Il-10 participated in the war with Japan.
After the Great Patriotic War the Il-10 were supplied to all assault air units of the Red Army. Besides the Soviet Air Forces, this aircraft was in service with the Air Forces of Czechoslovakia, China and North Korea.