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IL-28Sh: The Soviet Rocketeer
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The IL-28Sh is an experimental attack version of the Soviet IL-28 jet bomber, developed in the late 1960s as a replacement to the MiG-15 in its fighter-bomber role and to complement the Su-7. Soon, all War Thunder pilots will get the chance to pilot another unique, and more than usually destructive, version of the IL-28 in the upcoming update 1.79 "Project X"!

In short: an assault variant of the IL-28. Up to 3 tons of bomb load, gunpods and up to 192 of unguided rockets!


Development work on the IL-28Sh (Sh = Shturmovik; attacker) began in 1967 after it became clear that the main fighter-bomber of the Soviet air force, the MiG-15, had insufficient combat loads. As a result of this, Soviet engineers once more began looking into the possibility of converting some IL-28 bombers into attack aircraft. This resulted in the creation of the IL-28Sh, a regular IL-28 modified to fit 12 external pylons suspended underneath the wings. This allowed the IL-28Sh to carry, in addition to its standard internal payloads, a large number of suspended ordnance options ranging from rocket-and gunpods to additional bombs.

Testing of the modified machine began in autumn 1967, showing positive results. However, the way the Soviet high command envisioned to use the aircraft as an attacker contradicted some of the design choices made initially, while the aircraft was still intended to be used as a bomber. To fully utilize the destructive power of its expanded payload options and to avoid premature detection as well as anti-aircraft fire, the IL-28Sh was intended to be used at low to extremely low altitudes (going as low as 60 m). Operating at extremely low altitude like this meant that the crew of the Il-28Sh had to undergo special training in order to acquire the skills needed to use the machine this way. However, the biggest advantage that this kind of low-level flying offered was excellent visibility for both the pilot and bombardier as well as allowing the aircraft to be operated from front-line airfields. Nonetheless, testing also showed that the IL-28Sh wasn’t without its flaws. Not only did the IL-28Sh lack sufficient enough armor protection to be used in this kind of role, but that the risk of losing the crew in an emergency situation was far greater than usually. These severe drawbacks ultimately led to the IL-28Sh being classified as unsuitable for the role of an attack aircraft and the project was shut down soon afterwards. Despite 70 regular IL-28 units being planned to be converted to the attacker version, only a handful of them was actually modified before the project was shut down. 


The IL-28Sh will become available to all War Thunder pilots as a new attacker of the fifth rank of the Soviet aviation tree. Although some players might be confused once they first unlock their IL-28Sh to see the exact same plane in their hangar as the base model, fear not, your eyes are not deceiving you! Out of the box, both IL-28s are exactly the same. This is unsurprising at best when considering that the IL-28Sh is based off a standard IL-28 bomber, meaning that the machines share neigh identical design solutions. However, once you take a closer look at the modifications tab of the IL-28Sh, it is then at the very latest when you will realize that you’re actually looking at a different aircraft. Contrary to the base model, the IL-28Sh is, as the designation might hint at, an attacker. To fulfill this role, Soviet engineers equipped the IL-28Sh with 12 additional external pylons, which can carry a vast amount of secondary weapons, such as rocketpods and bombs, in addition to the payloads found in the internal bomb bay.

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Fully loaded with ordnance, the IL-28Sh is one impressive sight to behold, no matter which perspective you look at it from. Regardless of the mission at hand, pilots will always be able to customize the IL-28Sh’s offensive weapon loadout to their liking. Featuring a whole plethora of different ordnance presets, pilots will have the option to choose between loadouts including rockets, bombs of different calibers, 23mm cannonpods and much more. Of course, this is just taking into account the external pylons.


The IL-28Sh didn’t have to sacrifice its internal bomb bay in order to mount all of the additional secondary options. This means that, in addition to all the extra explosive hardware mounted under the wings, pilots will still retain some familiar internal bomb loads of the IL-28, adding to the destructive power of the aircraft. However, it’s worth mentioning that whichever secondary weapon preset is chosen by the pilot, none of them exceed the IL-28s maximum payload of 3 tonnes.

Get ready to catch the enemy by surprise and rain down death and destruction with the new IL-28Sh, coming to War Thunder in the upcoming update 1.79. What do you think of the IL-28Sh? Are you excited for it or is there something else that already caught your eye? Let us know in the comments below. Until then, pilots!    

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