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Il-2M AP Cluster Bomber is a Soviet Air unit in Steel Division II.


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 1943 Il-2 production run, referred to in the West as the Il-2M, was powered by an upgraded AM-38F aircraft engine giving 1,310 kW (1,750 HP), added a rear gunner with the Berezin UB turret to provide more protection from fighters, and minor improvements to aerodynamics and protection. It also represented a standardization, with all Il-2s armed with 20mm autocannons retired or converted to 23mm autocannons. As such, the total armament included the Volkov-Yartsev VYa-23 23mm autocannon, the ShKAS (Shpitalny-Komaritski Aviatsionny Skorostrelny, Shpitalny-Komaritski rapid fire for aircraft) in 7.62mm that originally served as basis for the ShVAK 20mm autocannon, and the Berezin UB (УБ - Универсальный Березина, Berezin's Universal) 12.7mm heavy machine gun in the UBT configuration (Турельный, Turelniy, for the turret).

PTAB (Противотанковая Авиабомба, Antitank Aviation Bomb) was a small 2.5kg bomb filled with 1.5kg of explosives, designed to be deployed in clusters from cassettes. The Il-2 carried 280 PTABs in its bomb bay folds or 192 in four cassettes. With the ability to penetrate up to 70mm of armor, the PTAB was capable of destroying most tanks on the battlefield as long as it struck their top.



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