Aviation of World War II

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Ilushin IL-2КР from 151 OKRAP
  • Reconnaissance Aircraft
  • First flight: 1943
  • Ilyushin

On January 8, 1943, the "Regulations on Correctional Aviation" were issued, on February 7, 1943, the State Defense Committee issued its Resolution No. 2841 ordered Ilyushin "... to adapt the existing two-seater Il-2 aircraft with the AM-38f before the final development of the spotter aircraft, installing an RSB radio station and a photographic installation" .

In March 1943, the Il-2 - spotter-reconnaissance aircraft was built. The new Il-2KR has fully preserved the design and armament of the serial two-seater "Ila" with the AM-38F. Changes were made only to the composition of the equipment, to the fuel system and to the booking scheme. The RSI-4 radio station was replaced with a more powerful RSB-3bis with a longer range, which was placed in the middle part of the cockpit canopy directly behind the pilot's armored back above the rear gas tank reduced in height. To record the results of reconnaissance, an AFA-I camera was installed in the aft fuselage (AFA-IM was allowed). Externally, the Il-2KR aircraft differed from the serial Il-2 only by the presence of a loop antenna mast mounted on the forward, fixed visor of the cockpit canopy.

Drawing Il-2KR with M-38 engine

Flight tests of the Il-2KR (serial No. 301896) at the Research Institute of the Air Force of the Spacecraft were successfully completed in the period from March 27 to April 7, 1943. The test report indicated that the volume of special equipment did not fully meet the requirements for aircraft of this designation, however, by GKO Resolution No. 3144 of April 10, 1943, the Il-2KR aircraft was put into serial production. In April 1943, the 30th aircraft plant managed to produce 65 Il-2KR aircraft, and on July 1, the active army had 41 aircraft of this type.

Il-2KR Specification
Crew 2
Wing span, m
Wing span, m 14.60
Wing area, m² 38.50
Length, m 11.60
Height, m 4.17
1 × PE Mikulin AM-38F, h.p. 1575nom/1720takeoff
Weight, kg
Empty 4,525
Loaded weight 6,360
Maximum speed over ground, km/h 390
Maximum speed at altitude, km/h 410
Maximum rate of climb, m/min 500
Service ceiling, m 6000
Service range, km 765

Armament - two 20-mm ShVAK cannons (210 rounds per barrel), two 7.62-mm ShKAS machine guns (750 rounds per machine gun), one 12.7-mm UBT for shooting backwards (150 rounds).

At the front, the plane showed itself from the best side. Combat pilots liked the new version of the Il-2. At the same time, the pilots noted that the installation of one camera does not ensure the fulfillment of all the tasks solved by the Il-2KR at the front. In addition, it was pointed out that the reservation of the air gunner-observer, who was very often wounded on combat missions, was completely insufficient for an aircraft of this purpose.

This was understood by the Design Bureau S.V. Ilyushin, but any radical alteration of the armored hull meant stopping the conveyor, and at that time they could not take such a step. Only in April 1945, an Il-2KR (serial no. 308099) built by plant no. 30 with an elongated armored hull, which included an air gunner's armor. In addition, the wing lancet increased by 6 ° and the length of the wooden part of the fuselage decreased (by 135 mm).

Despite the favorable opinion of the State Commission, this version of the Il-2 was not put into mass production both in connection with the end of the war, and in connection with the awareness of the fact that for the purposes of reconnaissance and adjusting artillery fire, it is necessary to create a special aircraft with a significant the best overview and flight and tactical data. This reconnaissance-spotter, Su-12 , and was created in the P.O. Sukhoi, but, unfortunately, he appeared after the Second World War.

Il-2KR Ilyushin's reconnaissance and spotter aircraft of artillery fire


  • "The history of designs of planes in USSR 1938-1950" /Vadim Shavrov/
  • "Planes of Stalin falcons" /Konstantin Kosminkov and Dmitriy Grinyuk/
  • "Planes of Ilyushin`s design bureau" /Genrih Novojilov/

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In combat units on serial IL-2, the forces of the technical staff mounted various kinds of self-made aerial photographic installations, providing low-altitude perspective photographic reconnaissance.
For example, in the Vyborg operation in June 1944, aerial photography of the enemy's forward edge was carried out by single IL-2s using AFA-ZS cameras from turret mounts mounted in the gunner's cockpit. During the preparation of the Yasso-Kishinev offensive operation in August 44th, the forces of the photo service of the 2nd shak of the 5th VA on several Il-2s carried out the installation of four AFA-IM cameras working synchronously with each other, providing perspective photography from a height of 25-50 m ...

AFA-I camera in the cockpit of the Il-2KR aerial gunner-observer