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Just in time for Hump Day, it’s the Ilyushin Il-20.

A plane that will certainly not win any beauty contests, the Il-20 was a purpose-built ground attack/tank buster that was developed to replace the the Il-10. Nicknamed the Gorbach (Hunchback) by its pilots, the Il-20 was armed with four cannons in the wing that could be rigged to fire level or angled downward for strafing, while a planned turret behind the cockpit was not fitted to save weight. Bombs could be carried in an internal bomb bay, and grenades could be dropped to defend against fighters underneath. The cockpit, as well as critical engine components, were protected with armor plating.


The Il-20 was heavy and slow, slower than the Il-10 it was meant to replace, and engine swaps were a nightmare due to the cockpit placement. There was also concern that having the cockpit so close to the prop would make bailing out hazardous, or a bent propeller from a belly landing would put the pilot at risk. It is likely, though, that downward visibility was fairly good. The Il-20 took its first flight on December 5, 1948 and went no further than the single prototype. The project was canceled just five months after the maiden flight.

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