Ilyushin IL-4

The Ilyushin Il-4 was a Soviet World War II bomber aircraft, widely used by the Soviet Air Force (VVS, Voenno-Vozdushnye Sily) although not well known. Its NATO code-name was "Bob".

The Il-4 started life as a quickly produced bomber prototype called the TsKB-26. Parts of the fuselage and cockpit were taken from the TsKB-12 (Polikarpov I-16) fighter, married to new wings made of welded steel U-beams and tubes. Only a few were built before attention turned to the updated TsKB-30, which included a new fuselage using the same construction methods. Welding the beams required three welds per joint, so the plane took a huge amount of time to build. Nevertheless the design had excellent range and was quite sturdy. It was put into production in 1936 as the DB-3, 1,528 being completed by 1939.

Although the Il-4 was only a medium bomber, it had the range to be used on strategic missions. The VVS wasn't terribly interested in this role, but nevertheless the Il-4 was used on several highly publicized raids against Berlin. Most would be used on much shorter range missions, often adding another 1,000 kg (2,204 lb) of bombs under the wings, in addition to the internal 2,500 kg (5,512 lb).

Finland bought four captured DB-3Fs from German stocks. These were given the Finnish Air Force serials DF-22 to DF-25 and flown from Bryansk, Russia to Finland (one aircraft, DF-22, was destroyed en route and crashed near Syeschtschinskaya airfield). The aircraft were later flown by No. 48 Sqn during 1943 (DF-23, DF-24 and DF-25), No. 46 Sqn during 1944 (DF-23 and DF-24) and No. 45 Sqn for a short time in 1945 (DF-23), until the last remaining serviceable aircraft went into depot, February 23 1945.

General characteristics
  • Crew: 4
  • Length: 14.80 m (48 ft 6.75 in)
  • Wingspan: 21.44 m (70 ft 4.5 in)
  • Height: 4.10 m (13 ft 5.5 in)
  • Wing area: 66.7 m² (718 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 5,800 kg (12,787 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 11,300 kg (24,912 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2× Tumansky M-88B radial engines, 820 kW (1,100 hp) each

  • Maximum speed: 430 km/h (232 kn, 267 mph)
  • Range: 3,800 km (2,052 nmi, 2,361 mi)
  • Service ceiling: 9,700 m (31,825 ft)

  • 2 × 7.62 mm ShKAS machine guns
  • 1 × 12.7 mm Berezin UB machine gun
  • 2,500 kg (5,500 lb) of bombs or mines.
  • 1 × 940 kg (2,072 lb) 45-36-AN or 45-36-AV torpedo.
  • 2 × BETAB-750DS 305 mm rockets.

** Ilyushin IL-4 - Warbird Fare

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