Ilyushin Il-102 on display
Role Ground-attack aircraft
Manufacturer Ilyushin
First flight 25 September 1982
Status Prototype
Number built 2
Developed from Ilyushin Il-40

The Ilyushin Il-102 was a Soviet experimental jet-powered ground-attack aircraft designed by Ilyushin. Once described as the "most gorgeously ugly combat jet ever,"[1] this aircraft was never chosen for production, being surpassed by the Su-25. Only a few development prototypes were built.

Design and development

In 1967, the Soviet Air Forces drew up a specification for a jet-powered shturmovik or armoured ground attack aircraft. While Sukhoi designed an all-new single seat aircraft, the Su-25, Ilyushin proposed a modified version of their Il-40 of 1953 under the designation Il-42, which, unlike the Sukhoi, was a two-seat aircraft with a remotely-controlled rear gun turret. The design was rejected by the Soviet Air Forces, but Ilyushin decided to continue in-house development regardless, renaming the programme Il-102.[2]

The Il-102 first prototype flew on 25 September 1982, with a second airframe built for static tests, and carried out 250 test flights until it was grounded in 1984 when the engine life expired.[3]

The tail turret of the Il-102, armed with a GSh-23L twin-barreled cannon

The Il-102 was a low-winged monoplane with moderately swept (30 degrees) wings, powered by two Klimov RD-33I turbofans (non-afterburning versions of the engines that power the Mikoyan MiG-29 fighter). It was highly unusual for its time in having a rear gun turret, something not seen in ground-attack aircraft since the World War II Il-2 Shturmovik and Il-10, the Il-102's spiritual ancestors, controlled remotely by a gunner sitting in a cockpit above the trailing edge of the wing. The crew cockpits, engines and fuel tanks were armoured to protect against ground fire.[citation needed]

Although development was abandoned in 1984, the prototype Il-102 was publicly unveiled at the 1992 Mosaeroshow air show at Zhukovsky, being claimed to be available for export.[4]

Ilyushin Il-102 on display at the Gromov Flight Research Institute

As of 2005, the prototype No. 10201 was placed on display at the Gromov Flight Research Institute.[citation needed]


Data from The Osprey Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft 1875–1995[5]

General characteristics



See also

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era



  1. ^ Rogoway, Tyler (11 July 2014). "Meet The Ilyushin IL-102, The Most Gorgeously Ugly Combat Jet Ever". Foxtrot Alpha. Retrieved 24 September 2020.
  2. ^ World Air Power Journal Summer 1994, p. 25.
  3. ^ World Air Power Journal Summer 1994, p. 27.
  4. ^ World Air Power Journal Summer 1994, pp. 24–28.
  5. ^ Gunston 1995, pp. 126–127.