The "Stormovik" is probably the best known Russian Ground Attack Aircraft of WW2. It was a virtual Flying Tank and was very heavily armed & armoured, survivability being it's main characteristic. It was built to a Soviet Government specification of 1935 for an Anti-Armour Attack Aircraft and was developed gradually from 1939. The 1st production models rolled off the line just in time for Operation Barbarossa in June 1941. The 1st models were a little underpowered, mainly a result of the 700 kg of Armour Plating added, and were single seat meaning that the pilot was vulnerable to attacks from the rear. This situation was resolved with the fitting of a more powerful engine and rear facing gun and additional cockpit space for a rear gunner for defense.This model designated the IL-2M3. The main armament was 2 23 mm Cannons and Rockets or bombs up to 600 kg. This was upgunned in 1943 with 2 37 mm Cannons and was used very effectively along with it's rockets to break up Operation Zittadel in July 1943 when the Germans tried to penetrate and cut off Soviet Armies in the Kursk Salient. Hitler called off Zittadel after only being able to push a few miles from each direction and there after the Wehrmacht was on the defensive having lost much of it's strength & armour at Kursk and really marked the beginning of the end as the Russians went over to the attack from now on. By 1944 36,000 Stormoviks had been produced and they struck fear in to German Armoured units whenever they appeared over the Battlefield.