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Il-2M3 AT Rocket is a Soviet Air unit in Steel Division II.

Background[]

Main article: Ilyushin Il-2

The ultimate incarnation of the armored ground attack plane idea born in the 1930s in the Soviet Union, the Il-2 was designed by Sergey Ilyushin in 1938. Designed from the ground up as an armored assault aircraft, the plane was designed with an armored shell weighing in excess of 700 kg, protecting the crew, engine, radiatiors, and the fuel tank. To save weight, the armor doubled as a loadbearing structure.

The Il-2's design, as a single-engine propeller-driven monoplane with heavy armor and heavy armament prevailed against competing designs from Sukhoi and was pressed into production after being upgraded with a more powerful powerful plant, the Mikulin AM-38, and finally passing trials in April 1941. Its firepower, resilience, and reasonable price tag made it a vital part of the Soviet war effort - so much that Stalin described the Il-2 as being as important to the Red Army as air or bread.

It remained in production until 1945, with 36 183 units produced, and the last units were retired as late as 1954 by Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. Together with its successor, the Il-10, it became the most produced military aircraft in history.

The Il-2M3 was an upgraded IL-2M, with an added rear gunner operating a 12.7mm Berezin UBT (Универсальный Березина Турельный, Berezin Universal for Turrets) machine gun and increased armor, to a total of 950 kg (2 100 lbs). Wings were modified by adding a swept-back outer wing platform and a straight trailing edge, together with all-metal wing panels, to adjust the center of gravity changed by the addition of the gunner. It carried the same armaments as previous Shturmowiks: VYa-23 23mm autocannon, ShKAS 7.62mm machine gun, and the aforementioned Berezin UBT.

Rocket-armed Soviet warplanes use various types of the RS-82 (реактивный снаряд, rocket projectile) family first developed in the early 1930s by a team under the leadership of Georgy Langemak. Entering service in 1937 (82mm variants) and 1938 (132mm variants), the unguided rockets suffered from low accuracy, with just a 1.1% chance of hitting the target directly when fired from aircraft. As such, they were fired in salvos to saturate the area and suppress targets. Armor piercing high explosive variants were available, designated RBS (реактивный Бронебойный снаряд, anti-tank rocket projectile), but they, too, suffered from the same limitations.

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