|Ilyushin Il-8 Shturmovik Attack Plane|
|Shturmovik Attack Plane|
|Unit Type||Ground Attack Plane|
|Secondary Ability||Sweep Attack|
|Heroic Upgrade||Tesla Arc Gun|
• High damage, multi-chain
|Country of Origin||Russia SFSR|
|Manufactured at||Ilyushin Design Bureau|
|Key Features|| » 85mm autoloading cannons (x2)|
» Extremely large wings
» Twin AV-4 turbojet engines
» Cushioned cockpit
» Cup of coffee (usually spilled)
"Look at the POWER of a FLYING TANK!!"
- - The Shturmovik Attack Plane motto
- A tank, that flies: The Shturmovik is a powerful ground attack plane, armed with a pair of 85mm cannons that make it an Allied tank's worst nightmare. It is well armoured and can take admirable amounts of AA fire before going down.
- Not a plane with a gun, but a gun with wings: When the AA threat is too high, the Shturmovik can perform a sweep attack, descending to such a low altitude that AA weapons cannot target and fighter pilots dare not engage it. However, at such altitudes anti-surface weapons will have no difficulty hitting it.
- Armoured, but not invincible: The Shturmovik's main guns are too inaccurate to hit infantry or aircraft. Additionally, the 85mm cannons carry a limited amount of ammunition, and the lack of RTB afterburner capability makes the Shturmovik highly vulnerable to AA on its return trip.
- A gun, that shoots lightning: Like Soviet MiG fighter aces, a number of elite Shturmovik pilots have been given access to experimental Tesla arc weapons, supplementing the firepower of their cannons.
"Don't make me come down there!"
- - Shturmovik pilot encountering a patrol of hydrofoils
The fast and manoeuvrable Allied tank divisions have always been a major problem for Soviet commanders due to their capability to harass the slower and less manoeuvrable Soviet tanks. They can appear out of nowhere, outmanoeuvre and outflank the soviet forces, destroy the weaker support vehicles and speed away before an effective resistance can be initiated and reinforcements brought to bear. With Twinblade helicopters being occupied in transportation of Soviet ground troops on the front lines, the Soviets desperately needed a fast tank destroyer that could protect their vital supply lines. YaKs were fast, but they lacked any anti tank firepower. Failed experiments to arm YaKs proved that the airframe was too light and unsuited for anti-tank weapons, which degraded the YaK's structural integrity over time. MiGs could strafe enemy tank formations, but their missiles weren't designed to track ground units, let alone destroy them. Soviet Command thus issued a request for a new anti tank strike craft.
The initial plans were for a tactical bomber, similar to the Allied Vindicator. However, without the spectrum guidance Vindicators possessed, pilots would have had had to drop their ordnance blindly, which would have resulted in a loss of accuracy and a tendency to miss the target. Leech beams on aircraft were attempted; however, the Soviets soon discovered a problem with that idea. The leech beam would pull the plane towards its target, usually ending in a kamikaze style collision between a Soviet aircraft and its target, if the aircraft couldn't break lock first. Many designs were tried and tested, and all of them ended in spectacular, sometimes comical, failures. One such failure was the Lencarov, with twin wing mounted 50mm autocannons. The Lencarov performed admirably, until one autocannon jammed and the recoil from the other autocannon sent it spiralling out of control faster than a helicopter rotor blade. The test pilot managed to eject safely, but was said to have suffered from blackouts, dizzyness and constant vomiting for the next few weeks.
The Ilyushin Design Bureau hadn't had a single design of theirs produced in quite a while. Hoping to get back into aircraft production and seeing the failures of all the other attempts, Ilyushin began the development of an anti tank aircraft. Starting with bits and pieces of discarded planes around their hangars and several 85mm autoloading cannons 'borrowed' from several Rhinos, they built their plane around the cannons. Mounting immensely long wings and two of their most powerful engines, they presented their design.
Everyone's jaw at the competition dropped. With a wingspan of 25 m and only 15 m from nose to tail, it looked ridiculous. Even more ridiculous were the two 85mm cannons mounted smack down the nose of the plane. One evaluator, a retired air force colonel, was famously quoted to have said, "If that thing ever gets off the ground, I will eat my hat." He was sent to the hospital later after nearly choking on his ushanka. Miraculously, the plane took off. With its two turbojet engines, it easily caught up with a passing YaK. As it approached the line of tanks it was supposed to destroy, somehow it fired its entire payload of 10 rounds without a hitch before turning back to land at the airfield. It was clear that against all odds, Ilyushin Design Bureau had designed a winner.