The Ilyushin Il-28, known by its NATO reporting name Beagle, stands as a testament to the Soviet Union’s pioneering spirit in aviation technology. As the first jet bomber to be produced in significant numbers, the Il-28 played a pivotal role in shaping the postwar era of aerial warfare. With its sleek design, powerful engines, and impressive payload capacity, the Il-28 quickly became a symbol of Soviet ingenuity and military might. In this article, we will delve into the history, specifications, and contributions of the Ilyushin 28, highlighting its significance in aviation history.


History of the Ilyushin 28


The Il-28 took its maiden flight in 1948 and entered official service in 1950s. Initially designed for artillery spotting, it soon evolved into a versatile jet bomber that found extensive use in conflicts around the world. One of its most notable deployments was during the Middle East and North Africa battles, including the Six-Day War of 1967 and the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Its agility, range, and firepower made it a formidable asset for the Soviet Union and its allies.

The Vietnam War witnessed the Il-28’s aerial prowess as it soared through the skies of North Vietnam, South Vietnam, and the Soviet Union. North Vietnamese Il-28s wreaked havoc on South Vietnamese air bases, leading to the destruction of several key installations. Additionally, these bombers were responsible for downing at least four Republic of Vietnam Air Force (RVNAF) aircraft, showcasing their combat effectiveness.

Beyond the Vietnamese conflict, the Il-28 played a crucial role in various other regions, including Angola, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Namibia, and Somalia. Its adaptability enabled it to excel in ground-attack missions and counter-insurgency operations, contributing significantly to the military strategies of nations that employed it.


Specifications of the Ilyushin 28


The Ilyushin 28 boasted a set of impressive specifications, making it a formidable force in the skies. With a length of 17.65 meters and a wingspan of 21.45 meters, this jet bomber possessed an elegant yet imposing presence. Its oval-shaped, pressurized fuselage comfortably accommodated a crew of three, comprising the pilot, copilot, and navigator/bombardier/engineer. Accessible through a jettisonable canopy, the cockpit offered a strategic vantage point for the crew.

Equipped with powerful Klimov VK-1A centrifugal-flow turbojets, generating 26.5 kilonewtons (6000 pounds) of thrust each, the Il-28 boasted a maximum speed of 902 kilometers per hour (560 mph) and a service ceiling of 12,300 meters (40,400 feet). Its remarkable range of 2,180 kilometers (1,350 miles) provided it with the capability to traverse vast distances, making it a formidable asset in long-range missions.

The armament of the Il-28 consisted of four 23-millimeter Nudelman-Rikhter NR-23 cannons mounted in the nose turret. Additionally, it could carry an impressive payload of up to 3,000 kilograms (6,600 pounds) of bombs and rockets on its eight underwing and two fuselage pylons. This significant ordnance capacity allowed the Il-28 to deliver devastating blows to enemy targets.


The Ilyushin 28’s Contributions to Aviation


The advent of the Il-28 marked a turning point in the history of jet bombers. Its conventional swept-back wings, T-tail, and underwing nacelle-mounted engines set the stage for future developments in aerial warfare. The Il-28’s success paved the way for subsequent generations of jet bombers, including its successor, the Sukhoi Su-24.

Moreover, the Il-28’s combat history showcased its adaptability and reliability in various theaters of operation. It proved to be a workhorse in conflicts ranging from the Middle East to Africa and Southeast Asia. Its contribution to ground-attack missions and counter-insurgency operations solidified its reputation as a versatile and indispensable asset on the battlefield.


Custom Ilyushin 28 Models: A Tribute to Aviation Excellence 


The legacy of the Ilyushin 28 lives in the form of custom aircraft models. These meticulously crafted wooden replicas capture the essence of the Il-28’s design and historical significance. Constructed with attention to detail and precision, custom Ilyushin 28 models serve as cherished collectibles and educational tools for aviation enthusiasts, historians, and model aircraft aficionados.

With their intricate features, these detailed aircraft models provide a tangible connection to the past, allowing individuals to appreciate the engineering marvel of the Il-28 firsthand. Order your custom Ilyushin 28 model here and display it in your homes, offices, or museums, and have a glimpse into the rich history of the Il-28 and its lasting impact on aviation technology.




The Ilyushin 28, with its pioneering design, remarkable specifications, and storied combat history, remains an emblem of the postwar jet bomber era. Its contribution to the Soviet Union’s military operations and the subsequent conflicts in which it participated cannot be understated. The Il-28’s adaptability and versatility solidified its place in aviation history, inspiring future generations of jet bombers. As we reflect on the Ilyushin 28’s legacy, we are reminded of its significant role in revolutionizing air warfare and its enduring influence on the world of aviation.