Ilyushin Il-28

Published: May 14th, 2016     
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Author: Yefim Gordon and Dmitriy Komissarov
Reviewed by: Frank Landrus - IPMS# 35035
ISBN #: 978-1-85780-371-6
Other Publication Information: Hard Bound, 8.5” x 11”, 336 pages
Price: $56.95
Product provided by: Specialty Press

Yefim Gordon was born in 1950 in Vilnius, Lithuania (then part of the Soviet Union) and graduated from the Kaunas Polytechnic Institute in 1972. He has been researching Soviet and Russian aviation history for more than 40 years. A professional photographer, Yefim Gordon has published hundreds of features and photographs in Russian and foreign aviation magazines. He has authored and co-authored more than 120 books on Soviet and Russian aviation.

Dmitriy Komissarov was born in 1968 in Moscow and graduated from the Moscow State Linguistics University in 1992. He has worked as a translator ever since, with the most of his work associated with his interest in aviation. Dmitriy Komissarov has authored two books and translated or co-authored more than 50 others. He has also written numerous magazine features in two languages on Soviet and Russian aviation.

The Ilyushin Il-28 was the Soviet Union's first jet bomber to enter mass production with total production in Russian alone over 6,300 aircraft. Designed immediately following WWII, the Il-28's first flight was July 8, 1948. Although retired by the Soviet Union in the '80s, the type is still in active service in the North Korean Air Force. The Il-28 was roughly comparable to the English Electric Canberra / Martin B-57, the North American B-45 Tornado, and the Sud Aviation Vautour and clearly outlasted all of them. Yefim Gordon and Dmitriy Komissarov have packed quite a bit in this 336 page monograph. I counted 477 black and white photographs, 61 color photos, 66 line drawings, at least 95 color profiles, and 40 tables. The contents listed below just reinforce how thorough this book is. Interestingly, the product details on many of the online sites selling this book list only 272 pages (indeed the press release that came with the book stated that this book was 272 pages. That would get you to part way through the Czech use of the Il-28. The book I received to review has an additional 64 pages.

This tome does appear to be an expansion of a 2003 release from Airlife that totaled 144 pages, also by Yefim Gordon and Dmitriy Komissarov. I only have a few non-English short monographs on the Il-28, so needless to say, this is a huge improvement. Even if you have the Airlife book, this book has more than double the material. Yefim Gordon and Dmitriy Komissarov present a story complete with interviews and the political hurdles faced by the development teams. The "In Detail" section includes drawings from structural manuals. Photographs of the pilots cockpit as well as the navigator's station are included with labeled drawings. The armament section details the forward cannon installation along with the tail cannon installation. The various radarscopes, bomb sights, and the radio station are addressed as well. The chapter on the Beagle in service offers a nice section on the Il-28's role in the Cuban missile crisis that I found quite interesting with interviews from some of the participants. The "Beagles Worldwide" chapter goes country by country and uses extensive tables to identify every known Il-28 with its c/n, serial or code, version, and service notes. Here, the color profiles are put to good use showing primarily side profiles with scrap art highlighting details.

The Chapters include:

  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction (Page 9)
  • Breeding the Beagle (Page 17)
  • Prototypes and Tests (Page 27)
  • In Production (Page 40)
  • The Il-28 Family
    • Il-28 Beagle Bomber with VK-1/VK-1A Engines (izdeliye 5) (Page 49)
    • Il-28 Bomber with Rym-S Targeting System
    • Il-28U Mascot Conversion Trainer (izdeliye 6)
    • Il-28U Ejection Trainer Version
    • Il-28R Tactical Reconnaissance Aircraft (izdeliye 4)
    • Il-28 Experimental Torpedo-Bomber Conversion
    • Il-28T Torpedo-Bomber (First Version)
    • Il-28T Torpedo-Bomber (Second Version)
    • Il-28T Torpedo-Bomber (Third Version, Il-28T-2) (Page 70)
    • Il-28N (Il-28A) Nuclear-Capable Bomber
    • Il-28S Tactical Bomber (Project)
    • Il-28RM Tactical Reconnaissance Aircraft Prototype
    • Il-28 Experimental Tactical Bomber with VK-5 Engines
    • Il-28TM Experimental Torpedo-Bomber
    • Il-28-131 Guided Bomb Carrier
    • Il-28 Stand-Off Missile Carrier
    • Il-28PL Anti-Submarine Warfare Aircraft
    • Il-28 Attack Aircraft Prototypes
    • Il-28Sh Attack Aircraft
    • Il-20 Mailplane (Second Use of Designation, Il-28P)
    • IL-28ZA Weather Reconnaissance Aircraft (Page 87)
    • Target-Towing Versions
    • Soviet Il-28/Il-28R Target Tug (Il-28BM)
    • Il-28RBN Target Tug
    • Il-28 Target Tug - Finnish Version
    • Il-28 Target Tug - East German Version
    • Il-28 Target Tug - Romanian Versions
    • Il-28 Target Tug- Polish Versions
    • Il-28M Target Drone (Il-28M-1, Il-28M-2, M-28)
    • Il-28 - Finnish Photo Mapping Conversion
    • Il-28RTR ELINT Aircraft
    • Il-28PP ECM Aircraft
    • Il-28RT ECM Aircraft
    • IL-28E (Il-28RE) ELINT / ECM Aircraft
    • Il-28 Radiation Reconnaissance Aircraft
    • Il-28 - Finnish Air Sampling Version
    • Test and Development Aircraft
    • Avionics Testbeds
    • Il-28LL Radar Testbed
    • Il-28 Missile Guidance System Testbed
    • Il-28 Avionics Testbed
    • Il-28U Automatic Landing System Testbed
    • Il-28 Control System Testbed
    • Ejection Seat Testbeds
    • Il-28LL Ejection Seat Testbeds (Page 107)
    • Il-28U-LL Ejection Seat Testbed
    • In-Flight Refueling System Testbeds
    • Il-28LL 'Tankers'
    • Il-28 Receiver Aircraft with IFR Probe
    • Landing Gear Testbeds
    • Il-28LSh Landing Gear Testbed
    • Il-28 Tracked Landing Gear Testbed
    • Engine Testbeds
    • Soviet Il-28R Rocket Motor Testbed
    • Il-28R - East German Engine Testbeds
    • Il-28 Czechoslovak Engine Testbed
    • Il-28H Engine Testbed
    • Il-28H as a UAV Mother Ship
    • Parachute Testbeds
    • Il-28 - Czechoslovak Parachute Testbed
    • Il-28 - Polish Parachute Testbeds
    • Il-28 De-Icing System Testbeds
    • Il-28 Heavy Interceptor (Project)
    • Il-28as a Reconnaissance UAV (Project)
    • Foreign Production
    • Harbin H-5 (B-5) Tactical Bomber (Page 136)
    • H-5 Nuclear-Capable Version (H-5A?)
    • H-5 Torpedo-Bomber
    • Harbin HJ-5 (BT-5) Bomber Trainer
    • Harbin HZ-5 (B-5R) Tactical Reconnaissance Aircraft
    • Harbin HD-5 ECM Aircraft
    • H-5 Target Tug Version
    • H-5 Ying Avionics / Weapons Testbed
    • HJ-5 Ejection Seat Testbed
    • H-5B (?) Engine Testbed
  • The Il-28 in Detail
    • Type
    • Fuselage (Page 146)
    • Wings
    • Tail Unit
    • Landing Gear
    • Powerplant
    • Control System
    • Fuel System
    • Electric System
    • Hydraulic System
    • Pneumatic System
    • De-Icing System
    • Pressurization and Environmental Control System
    • Oxygen System
    • Fire Suppression System
    • Avionics and Equipment
    • Armament (Page 168)
    • Rescue Equipment
  • The Beagle in Service
    • In Defense of Peace and Socialism, or Cold War Warriors
    • The Nuclear Experience (Page 206)
    • In Navy Experience (Page 213)
    • Foreign Deployments: Near...
    • ...And Far: The Cuban Missile Crisis
    • The Il-28 At War
    • In Aeroflot Service
  • Beagles Worldwide
    • Soviet Union
    • Afghanistan
    • Albania
    • Algeria
    • Bulgaria
    • Cambodia / Kampuchea
    • China (PRC) (Page 258)
    • China (RoC/Taiwan)
    • Cuba
    • Czechoslovakia
    • East Germany (German Democratic Republic) (Page 287)
    • Egypt (United Arab Republic; Arab Republic of Egypt)
    • Finland
    • Hungary
    • Indonesia
    • Iraq
    • Morocco
    • Nigeria
    • North Korea
    • Pakistan
    • Poland
    • Romania (Page 325)
    • Somalia
    • Syria
    • Vietnam (North Vietnam)
    • North Yemen (Yemen Arab Republic)
    • South Yemen (People's Democratic Republic of Yemen)
  • Line Drawings (Page 330)
  • Index

All I can say is Wow! I was extremely impressed with the coverage and quality of this monograph. Yefim Gordon and Dmitriy Komissarov are able to weave in a tremendous amount of data and still manage to provide a compelling and readable storyline. I will be looking for more in this series of hard bound books after reviewing this example.

My thanks to Specialty Press and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!

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