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The Il-28 "Beagle" Ilyushin jet bomber was a light tactical aircraft which could carry nuclear weapons. First flown in 1948, it could fly at a speed of nearly 600 mph, operate at a ceiling of up to 40,000 feet, with a maximum range just under 1,500 miles. Powered by two Klimov VK-1A turbojets, with four 23-mm cannons, the Beagle had a glassed-in gunner compartment to the rear of the tail. It was manned by a crew of three and could carry a payload of 61,000-pound nuclear devices. Some 6,000 Beagles were produced. Massively used by the Soviet Air Force, they were also flown by 20 other countries. Although 42 had been shipped to Cuba, only 7 had been assembled at the time of the crisis.

A Soviet Il-28 'Beagle' bomber


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