Design of The IL-44 Attack Aircraft | The IL-44 is a little-known project of the Ilyushin Design Bureau, which was developed in the 1950s.
Little-Known Design of The IL-44 Attack Aircraft
MilitaryEzyInfo.com – It was supposed to be a sequel to the unsuccessful IL-20, work on which was completed in 1949 by order of the USSR Council of Ministers. A lot of time and effort was devoted to the development of the IL-44 aircraft, but the project turned out to be late and irrelevant, due to which it was closed by the government.
In March 1947 USSR Council of Ministers issued the official decree, which ordered the Ilyushin Design Bureau to start the development of the new attack aircraft with the possibility of dropping bombs and having the reinforced armor. A few months later, a group of designers drafted a conceptual design in which the first specimen of the future machine was elaborated. The result of the work satisfied the government, so it was immediately approved for further implementation.
The IL-20 was a two-seat single-wing low plane. It was powered by one M-47 engine over which a cockpit was installed. Such a solution allowed for a much wider view. Important elements were reliably protected by armored panels. At the rear of the hull, there was an additional cockpit for the gunner.
The first prototype was ready by the end of autumn 1948. At the beginning of December, it rose for the first time in the air. Tests were successful, but pilots noted an excessive degree of vibration created by the engine. At the same time, the plane by the time of the test version release was already obsolete by a number of parameters and had significant shortcomings that could adversely affect the further operation. Work on the IL-20 was discontinued after the design bureau received a corresponding decree from the Council of Ministers.
Similar failures were suffered by other aircraft construction enterprises. Despite the problems, they all continued to try to create improved versions of aircraft with reinforced armor. In most cases, the critical deficiencies of the projects under development were similar. Therefore the Ilyushin Design Bureau decided to take a different path and concentrate on eliminating them. Approximately the same opinion was held by the Sukhoi bureau. It was assumed that both companies would produce two different attack aircraft each.
The primary task for the group of designers was to eliminate the shortcomings from which the IL-20 suffered. These included: not many advanced flight characteristics, low combat effectiveness, a weak level of protection, and unreliability of the engine. There were other problems, but they were given secondary attention.
Despite the plans to release a test sample aircraft in the next couple of years, the project was suddenly closed. This decision was due to the irrelevance of the attack aircraft and general problems in the aircraft industry – all aircraft were switched to jet engines, and the design bureaus were experiencing financial difficulties.
Already by 1953, the company presented a new project. According to the development, they planned to produce a jet attack aircraft with improved characteristics. However, it, too, was completed without having had time to demonstrate itself in the form of a finished aircraft.
Detailed information about the design of the IL-44 is not recorded in any public sources. Nevertheless, it is known that the attack aircraft was to be a low plane. Its wing had a straight leading edge, while the trailing edge had a negative sweep. Hull dimensions could be similar to the combat model IL-20. The cabin was to be divided into two parts, providing separate seats for the pilot and gunner.
By design, the engine was located in the bow and equipped with two propellers. Fuel tanks could be installed between it and the cockpit. The plane had two-anchor landing gear with one additional strut. The main supports were to be positioned under the wing on special fasteners and consisted of single wheels. An additional strut was mounted in the tail section. It represented a small wheel. It is assumed that during the flight all the struts, except for the additional one, would have been folded inside the hull or pressed against the wing.
Specifications of IL-44
The technical characteristics of the IL-44 were not reported in the documents. Therefore one can only speculate what they might have been. Most likely, the attack aircraft would have been similar in most criteria to the IL-20. The latter was 13.58 m long, with a wing extension of 15.43 m and an area of 44 m². In terms of weight, the IL-44 would have been inferior to the IL-20 because its fuselage was not as high. The weight would have been about 6 tons.
Speed ratings could vary. The speed of the IL-20 was limited to 515 km/h – about the same as the IL-44 would accelerate. The practical ceiling was to exceed 7000 m, and the range could reach 1700 km when ferrying. Combat flight radius – not more than 750 km.
Questions concerning the armament of the attack aircraft were not officially considered. Any aircraft of this type had onboard cannon and bomb weapons. Therefore it is assumed that the IL-44 would have received two 23 mm NS-23 cannon launchers. The weight of the bombs to be loaded depends on many unknown flight characteristics, which makes it difficult to determine. It was not supposed to exceed 600 kg. At the same time, the bombs could usually be replaced by rocket projectiles on additional hangers.
The IL-44 was one of the most unremarkable and unknown projects of the Ilyushin Design Bureau. Little information remains about it, but all indications are that it would not have had any success. The reason was its late appearance and the mass transition of aviation to jet engines, which gave the new aircraft a serious advantage.