In June 1969, the Soviet Union hosted a competition for stormtroopers' projects. In addition to the Ilyushin Design Bureau, the Yakovlev Design Bureau with the Yak-25LSh attack aircraft, Sukhoi - T8 and Mikoyan - MiG-21LSH participated in the competition. At the same time during the competition, it was decided to stop work on the IL-42 and Yak-25ЛШ. But the development of the Ilyushin heavy double attack aircraft did not end there. Under the leadership of G. V. Novozhilov, the work was continued, but already in an orderly manner. The name IL-42 transformed into IL-102. Compared to its initial prototype, the new attack aircraft received a modified form of the nose of the fuselage with improved forward-down visibility, significantly stronger armament and new more powerful engines.
The construction of the attack aircraft prototype proceeded very slowly. At this time, the KB was loaded with work on other projects that were considered a higher priority. In addition, without proper support “from above”, materials and components had to be mined with particular difficulty. Sometimes it did not do without funny situations. For example, ejection seats for the crew had to be borrowed from one aviation scientific research institute. The construction of the attack aircraft was only completed by the beginning of 1982 of the year. 20 of January was examined by the Commander-in-Chief of the USSR Air Force, Chief Air Marshal P.S. Kutahov, who highly appreciated the aircraft and promised that it would facilitate the adoption of the aircraft. The “silt” supporter was I. S. Silaev, who served as the Minister of Aviation Industry, but then the Minister of Defense of the USSR had the last word.
The plane waited for its fate for several months, as a result, the outcome came in May 1982. Defense Minister Dmitry Ustinov ordered that the aircraft not be tested, and he forbade Novozhilov to engage in amateur activities. Where it came from and why such a resolution was justified is rather difficult to understand. Although at that point in time the Su-25 attack aircraft had already been adopted, it was possible to expand its mass production in the country. However, this was not yet a reason to complete all alternative developments.
But the Ilyushin Design Bureau decided not to throw the plane. The general designer of the aircraft Novozhilov turned for support personally to Kutakhov. He twice raised the issue of the resumption of work on the IL-102 project, but Ustinov did not change his mind. Kutakhov could not get the Marshal's approval to test the aircraft. As a result, the developers of heavy attack aircraft stopped trying to beat their heads against the wall and went to the trick. They changed the name IL-102 to neutral abbreviations ECO-1 (experimental aircraft - the first). After that, the Minister of Aviation Industry Silaev, under his own responsibility, allowed the full test cycle of the aircraft. The attack aircraft was sent to one of the Belarusian airfields, away from the all-seeing eyes of the authorities. For the first time, the updated “flying tank” rose into the sky on September 25 1982, it was piloted by the chief pilot of the Ilyushin Design Bureau, the honored test pilot S. G. Bliznyuk.
Tests of the aircraft were surprisingly wonderful. A total of 1982-1984 years attack aircraft performed more than 250 flights. And by the date of the last flight of 29 December 1987, their total number reached 367. During the flight, there was not a single failure of the onboard systems and not a single failure, and there were no emergencies. The attack aircraft demonstrated sufficiently high flight characteristics, surpassing the mass-produced Su-25. It was noted that the aircraft had good stability on a combat course and unique maneuverability for its class. The minimum turn radius of the aircraft did not exceed 400 meters. Attack flights continued until the engine was fully developed. In 1984, the aircraft was handed over for conservation, and in 1986, they tried to revive the topic again, but these plans never came true. Most likely, the car was killed by considerations of economy in the presence of Su-25 in combat units. The saying "Bolivar will not make two" was implemented in practice.
The general public plane is shown only once. This took place at the 92 air show, where it became one of the sensations. Later, the plane embarked on an eternal parking lot in the LII named after Gromov, where the attack aircraft was in storage up to the 2005 year. After that, it was painted and installed on a pedestal in the avenue of heroes of the LII Gromov Museum, where it is adjacent to the monuments of the Yak-38U, MiG-23UB and Su-17UM3 aircraft.
Design features of the IL-102
Heavy double attack aircraft Il-102 was performed on the normal aerodynamic configuration with low-swept wing. The airframe of the attack aircraft had a high level of adaptability. 80% of its skin was formed by sheets of single curvature, the engine air intakes had a circular cross section.
In terms of layout, the car did not differ from the IL-40, but it was a completely different plane, so to speak, in a “retro” style. Over the past 30 years between the IL-40 and the advent of the IL-102 thirty years in the aircraft industry has changed a lot. New construction materials have appeared, more economical and powerful turbofan engines, new technical processes, and there is no reason to talk about equipment. The crew rescue tools have also been updated. The aircraft used universal ejection seats K-36L in the pilot and K-36L-102 from the arrow operator, which reliably rescued the attack aircraft crew in the entire range of speeds and flight altitudes, including during parking (0 km / h, 0 meters ). If the pilot pressed a special “red button”, the squib was triggered and both seats were shot. Even if the shooter was seriously injured or an intercom was broken between the crew and it was impossible to transfer an ejection order, both crew members had equal chances for salvation. At the same time, the shooter-operator could also eject independently, but he could not catapult the pilot.
The main difference between the IL-102 and the Su-25 was precisely the second crew member. Apparently, this circumstance was not counted as an advantage of the aircraft, and the second cabin for the shooter, most likely, played a negative role. However, the shooter operator, in addition to his main task - to protect against attacks by fighters, helicopter gunships and the suppression of enemy air defenses - kept control of the air situation in the rear hemisphere and the operation of a number of onboard attack aircraft systems. Thus, the work of the pilot was greatly facilitated, part of the load was removed from it. At the moments when the shooter-operator got out of attack, he could use fire with the help of fire from the rear of a remotely controlled artillery installation and could fire and disorganize the enemy with fire, mainly the MANPADS and MPA calculations. As the further development of strike aviation showed, the second crew member on the attack aircraft was altogether superfluous, significantly increasing the efficiency of work at night, in difficult meteorological conditions, in the case of using high-precision weapons systems. In the same year Il-102 - the American A-10 "Thunderbolt II" and the Soviet Su-25 - double modifications were designed to solve these problems, which did not go into a large series, mainly for economic reasons. At the same time on the IL-102 the second crew member was originally planned.
The design of heavy attack aircraft was originally designed with the expectation of manufacturability, the utmost simplicity and low cost of mass production. Based on this, as well as the growth of mass and dimensions of the machine, the Ilyushin Design Bureau for the first time decided to abandon the traditional "Ilyushin" booking scheme - a single armored corps, which included all the vital parts of the attack aircraft (used on the Il-2, Il-10, Il -40). On the IL-102 armor decided to close the cockpit, as well as part of the fuel system and engines. The fuel tanks of the reservation plane lost, but they were concentrated in the central part of the fuselage. The front and rear of them were covered by armored cockpit, as well as defensive artillery, sideways - the engines, and below - twin 30-mm gun. To eliminate the possibility of fire during their penetration, a system of filling fuel tanks with polyurethane was used. In order to increase the security, in the assault-wing wing tips bent down, they placed the ejection blocks of the IR traps and the Avtomat-F dipole reflectors.
The fuselage of the aircraft is of semi-monocoque type. In the central part of it were located the thermocabines of the pilot and the side gunner, between which there were fuel tanks. On the sides of the rear fuselage were located two aerodynamic brakes of relatively small area. The lanterns of the pilot and gunner cabs were formed by flat bulletproof glass. The attack aircraft was distinguished by the presence of a swept two-spar wing of a relatively thick profile. Such a wing made it possible to place six bomb-compartments in it. The wing was equipped with a flap, which occupied about 2 / 3 from its span, on the upper surface two-piece interceptors were installed.
In contrast to the commercially produced Su-25 attack aircraft, the Ilyushin Design Bureau aircraft received two-wheeled supports for the main landing gear with tires of rather large diameter. Despite the greater take-off weight of the attack aircraft, the Il-102 had a lower specific load on the aerodrome surface, thanks to which the machine could operate from unpaved airfields. The nose landing gear was carried far forward, it was retracted into the fuselage by turning back (this arrangement allowed for good maneuverability, but it occupied a large useful volume in the forward fuselage of the attack aircraft, in which other aircraft usually had optical-electronic equipment or a BRLS). The main landing gear was removed by turning forward into special wing gondolas.
As the power plant on the attack aircraft were used two engines RD-33I. These were simplified, unformed versions of the engines of the MiG-29 fighter. Thanks to powerful engines and a well-designed chassis design, the attack aircraft could also be operated from short unpaved runways, and also had better runway characteristics in comparison with the Su-25.
At the bottom of the fuselage on the swinging ventral carriage, which was fixed in two positions, a twin 30-mm 9А-4071К gun was installed, the ammunition of which consisted of 500 projectiles. With firepower comparable to the Su-25, the artillery mount on the IL-102 was different in that it was controlled. She could deviate downward at an angle to 15 degrees. In addition, another interesting solution was implemented - if desired, the entire cannon mount could be easily removed and an additional fuel tank or two bombs hung instead of it, adding two more internal suspension units and bringing their total number to 16. An 30-mm gun mount could easily be dismantled within minutes at the aerodrome.
In the tail part of the attack aircraft there was a turret with a double-barreled 23-mm aircraft gun GSH-23L. Cartridge boxes to this gun were in the front of the tail section of the fuselage at a distance of about 3 meters from the gun mount. This arrangement of ammunition allowed to increase the ammunition, as well as move it closer to the center of mass of the attack aircraft. The projectiles were fed to the GSH-23L using a special mechanism of the electric subassembly of the tape, which was fed into the moving part of the gun through the through axis of the lower vertical hinge. It was believed that the use of active interference and infrared traps in combination with the high maneuverability of the IL-102, as well as an additional pair of eyes of the air gunner operator, who closely followed the rear hemisphere and could promptly notify the pilot of the threat of attack, will reduce the effectiveness of the enemy’s missiles. As a result, enemy fighters would have been forced to resort to cannon armament, getting under the fire of a fast-firing 23-mm cannon GS-23L.
The maximum bomb load of the experimental heavy attack aircraft was 7200 kg. Each wing console had three bomb compartments capable of holding bombs in caliber up to 250 kg. And the total combat load of the aircraft on the internal suspension assemblies (in case of dismantling the ventral cannon) reached 2300 kg. In addition, there were 8 external suspension units (6 under the wing and 2 under the fuselage). An interesting solution was that the entire combat load climbed aboard the attack aircraft using the built-in electric winch. The missile armament of the vehicle included air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles. Also, NARs of all possible types and suspended gun containers could be used.
The assault plane could be transported on two standard-type railway platforms or in the fuselage of the Il-76 transport aircraft. The prototype IL-102 did not have a complete set of equipment. In the future, it was planned to equip the machine with modern optoelectronic systems. Antennas of the Bereza-L radio intelligence system were to appear in the wing tips that were bent down.
Flight technical characteristics of IL-102:
Overall dimensions: length - 17,75 m, height - 5,08 m, wing span - 16,9 m, wing area - 63,5 m2.
Empty weight - 13 000 kg.
Maximum take-off weight - 22 000 kg.
The mass of fuel in the internal tanks - 3700 kg.
The power plant - 2 TDRD RD-33I, unforced thrust - 2x5320 kgf.
The maximum flight speed is 950 km / h.
Practical range - 1000 km.
Ferry range - 3000 km.
Practical ceiling - 10 000 m.
Crew - 2 person (pilot, gunner-operator).
Armament: 2X30-mm automatic gun 9А-4071К, 2х23-mm automatic gun ГШ-2-23 in the tail.
Maximum combat load - 7200 kg on 16 suspension units (including 6 compartments in the wing for 250 caliber bombs kg). Bombs: free-fall and adjustable, up to 500 kg. Air-to-Air UR - P-60M and P-73, Air-to-Surface UR - X-23, X-25, X-29, X-58. All types of NARS, as well as gun containers UAK-23-250, SPPU-1-23.