Il-2I (Istrebitel)

fighter version's prototype

File updated on September 8, 2012
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The success obtained by Il-2s in attacking German slow planes, without suffering lossed by the weak defensive fire of their 7.92 mm machine guns, suggested to develop a version specialized for attacking such planes.

In May 1943 the Soviet Government ordered the development of such a version.

The prototype, c/n 7581, was built in factory n.1 by adapting a twoseater with AM-38F engine from the production line. It was called Il-2I ('Istrebite'l for 'fighter').

The plane was reverted to singleseater standard, stripped of wing-mounted ShKAS, internal bomb bays and rocket rails, leaving the VYa-23 guns. It's not clear if the tail wheel was reverted to the smaller size of singleseaters, this look possible to spare weight and drag. The wooden wing was reinforced.

The prototype was ready in July-August and was evalued by the NII VVS (The Scientific Institut of the Air Force), that showed that the speed improvement was marginal, and the development of this version was pointless.

The Il-2I (Istrebitel) of 1943 remained ony a prototype, neverthless it's interesting for the blue grey- dark grey camouflage typical of fighters of late 1943, following the same template as Yaks and Lavochkins. While it's clear that the star on the tail was of the new type introduced in August 1943 with white and red outlines, the outline of the fuselage star is unclear, perhaps made with silver or another color other than white.


According to many sources, this plane wasn't followed by series production; according to another source, it was followed by about 50 machines with all-metal fuselage and arrow metal wings.