The Il28 in Polish Service

Towarzyskie Bombowic Ilyushin 28C9 (Fineline A)Edit

Money was always a problem for the Polish Air Force, though it was something that the general population was never aware of, and when it was found that its Ilyushin 28s were being intercepted over the Baltic by N.A.T.O. aircraft and by British aircraft from Northern Germany it had no real option but to make a temporary stopgap measure when appeals to the Soviet Union for a longer ranged fighter were refused.

Polish engineers took an older IL28 in hand and stripped out the bombing equipment, sealed the bomb-bay, fitted underwing hardpoints for fuel and weapons and fitted upgraded engines to the basic airframe. The bombing radar was removed and a Orial-B fire control system was fitted instead, capable of controlling the R98 (AA-3 Anab) missile, of which 4 were fitted.

Given the designation of Towarzyskie Bombowic (Escort Bomber) IL28c9 and the NATO reporting name of Fineline it entered service with the Polish Bomber squadrons in 1964 and was confirmed by photos from a US plane in 1965. It remained in service with over Baltic flights until 1988 being progressively updated to the R98M1 missile and the Orial-M radar.

Often encountered over the Baltic by NATO, Swedish and British/Queens German Legion aircraft, it was never tested in combat and was withdrawn before the 91 disaster. The only examples known to exist today are in the Air Force museum outside the destruction zone of Warsaw and one resides in the Imperial War Museum aircraft collection at Oxford.