The second world war made plenty planes legendary: the Supermarine Spitfire, the Douglas DC-3/C-47 "Gooniebird" and the Boeing B-17. But it would be a tragedy to leave the Illyushin Il-2 Shturmovik off this list. The Shturmovik will forever go down in history as the most successful Close Air Support plane, it was tough as nails, easy to fly and could stay on the battle front for a long time offering relief to the troops on the ground. The Shturmovik was with 36,183 units built in the war alone and post war as the more developed IL-10 version clocking up a whopping 42,330 units in total the most built Military aircraft ever. The Il-10 had redesigned wings to improve agility, heavier caliber guns and later the ability to carry unguided missiles and a more powerful engine since lack of power was always the Shturmovik's biggest fault. In fact in 1951 with the Korean war breaking out the Soviets put the IL-10 back into production with a variant which was fit for all weather capability and ground terrain radar. Respectfully called the "Bark" and the "Beast" by NATO and affectionately referred to as "the flying Tank" and the "Flying infantry soldier" by the Soviet ground troops and Stalin declared it as being "Just as important for the survival of the Soviet troops as air and bread." But when the Shturmovik was used in the Korean war, it quickly became painfully apparent that it was not suited for use in the jet age and the type was quickly retired from active duty. So what do you do when you have the must successful CAS plane which makes you the authority on CAS planes but your plane isn't cutting it anymore? This is the Il-40 "Brawny" which was meant to be the Jet successor of the Shturmovik. With this plane Illyushin entered the jet-age. The Il-40 from behind showing the powered rear turret. And they entered the Jet-age with aplomb, the Il-40 proved itself to be a pleasant flyer, popular with pilots and capable of doing mock dogfights with MiG-15 and MiG-17 fighters. But it wasn't without faults. The biggest fault of all being the fact that with all the guns being in the nose, expended cartridge cases would be jettisoned at the sides of the nose (you can just make out the square holes for that use in the pictures) which were then sucked up by the engines, causing flame outs. So in order to keep that from happening the plane was redesigned, making it that the air intakes were moved as much forwards as was possible and the gun muzzles were placed behind them. Giving the plane a really bad ass "Flying double barrel shotgun" look. But then something happened which sealed the "Flying shotgun's" fate. In 1956 it was decided that Close Air Support would be dropped in favor for tactical use of Nuclear weapons. With only seven units including five production examples built, the project was cancelled. However a decade later, the Soviet high command was painfully reminded of how effective a CAS plane was when the Americans used their Douglas A-1 Skyraiders and Chance-Vought A-7 Corsair II's to great effect in Vietnam. The reforming of Close Air Support squadrons was given top priority and while they made due with the MiG-27 during the seventies, they issued a design competition for what they called "A jet powered Shturmovik." This is the Illyushin Il-102, the result of that request. Basically an Il-40 but completely redesigned, the Il-102 sure carried its Shturmovik ancestry with pride. Again it was a pleasant flyer and popular with its pilots when it first took to the air in 1982. But it would never enter production. Because THIS was the CAS plane chosen by the Soviets to be their Jet powered Shturmovik. The Sukhoi Su-25 "Frogfoot" was basically the Soviet equivalent to the Fairchild-Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II, "The Warthog" The Frogfoot entered service in 1981 and is still in production today, much like the original Shturmovik, the Frogfoot is tough, dependable and a welcome sight for the ground troops. But Illyushin wasn't quite done with their entry. After the end of the cold war, they fixed up the Il-102 placed it in Moscow as delegations of air forces which weren't allowed to do business with Soviet Union were suddenly very welcome in modern day Russia. The Il-102 was offered for export... ...There were no takers. One of the two Il-102 as it survives today.