The Ilyushin Il-40 (NATO reporting name "Brawny") was
a two-seat armored ground-attack aircraft developed by the Soviet
Union in the 1950s.
The aircraft was designed in the early 1950s by Sergey Ilyushin, who
aimed to create a jet-engined ground-attack aircraft which significantly
outperformed slower piston-engined aircraft. The design proposal was
accepted by the Soviet government in 1952 and a single prototype was
The IL-40 was powered by two Mikulin AM-5 axial-flow turbojets housed
either side of the fuselage. The wings were swept back at and angle
of 35 degrees, and the fuselage was armored to protect the pilot,
rear gunner, fuel tanks and some electrical components. The IL-40
was also fitted with ejector seats for both crew, and the cockpit
glazing was also bulletproof. In short, it was an aircraft designed
to take hits and keep flying.
Ironically it wasn't the enemy's guns which caused issues for the
IL-40 It was the aircraft's own nose-mounted autocannons which were
the problem. The first time the guns were fired - during a 1953 test
flight - the combustion gasses were sucked into the engines causing
them to flame out. The test pilot was able to restart the engines
and land the aircraft safely. But it was an unwelcome surprise for
the aircraft's designers as up until then it was meeting or exceeding
A series of major design changes during 1953 and 1954 saw the Ilyushin
IL-40 thoroughly redesigned. The end result saw the six nose-mounted
guns replaced with four guns mounted just under the nose and ahead
of the front landing gear. But the most radical alteration was the
elongation of the air intakes which gave the second prototype its
distinctive "double-barrel shotgun" look. At the same time
the engines were upgraded for a slight improvement in performance.
The second prototype, named the Il-40P, corrected all the issues with
the first prototype, and towards the end of 1955 official evaluation
tests by the Soviet military led to an order for 40 production aircraft.
The Ilyushin factory managed to produce five airworthy examples of
the aircraft by early 1956 before the entire program was unexpectedly
canceled in April.
The cancellation had nothing to do with the aircraft itself or its
capabilities. It was merely a casualty of the Soviet military's new
doctrine of warfare regarding close air support for the Army. Instead
of dedicated ground-attack aircraft, the Soviets planned to use conventional
bombers and tactical nuclear weapons.