Aviation of World War II
The prototype aircraft, designated IAR 80, was manufactured in December 1938, but various minor modifications delayed its testing by almost six months. Only in April of the following year, test pilot Dimitru Popescu finally took his place in the cockpit and lifted the car into the air. During subsequent flights, the IAR 80 largely met the expectations of the designers and surpassed in flight characteristics not only the Polish PZL R. 24, but also many foreign fighters of that time. The aircraft developed a speed of up to 510 km/h, and climbed to an altitude of 5000 m in six minutes. Air Force representatives, who tested the car in flight, noted its good maneuverability and controllability, but complained about disgusting visibility from the cockpit, as well as insufficient engine power at medium and high altitudes. Two machine guns of rifle caliber, mounted on a prototype in the form of weapons, by that time caused a smile among pilots familiar with the results of air battles in Spain.
The serial IAR 80 was slightly different from the prototype. The more powerful Gnome-Ron 14K IVc-32 (960 hp) engine equipped with a German three-bladed VDM type variable-pitch propeller was chosen as the power plant. To improve engine cooling, automatically adjustable flaps appeared in the rear of the hood, and due to the displacement of the center of gravity, the fuselage was lengthened by 74 cm.The cockpit became completely closed - its slightly teardrop-shaped sliding part was made of a single piece of organic glass. The design of the tail unit has changed somewhat, the area and height of the keel have increased. Complex folding elements were removed from the flaps of the main landing gear wheels - the sources of problems during the operation of the aircraft on unpaved airfields. From now on, the wheels in the retracted position were closed only half. The wingspan increased from 10 to 10.5 meters, and at the same time its area increased. The pilot's poor visibility was eventually resigned to - it could not have been improved without a major redesign of the fighter. The serial IAR 80, armed with four 7.9 mm machine guns, weighed 270 kg more than the prototype and had slightly worse flight data. He developed a speed of 500 km / h, and gained an altitude of 5000 m in 5 minutes and 50 seconds.
Until the end of 1940, the first 20 IAR 80 rolled off the assembly lines, then another 30 at the beginning of the next year. Starting from the 51st instance, the aircraft was equipped with an additional pair of Browning-FN machine guns. Thus, the number of trunks has reached six. The plant built 65 of these machines under the designation IAR 80A . In the later released 25 fighters of this variant, one pair of 7.9 mm machine guns was replaced by two 13.2 mm machine guns of the same Belgian company "Browning". The cockpit equipment was supplemented with a more modern radio station.
The effective use of the German Ju 87 dive bombers on the front led the Romanian Air Force command to the idea of acquiring its own similar weapon. The IAR 80A, converted for this purpose, numbered 75, was equipped with underwing suspensions for two 50-kg bombs, as well as an under-fuselage trapezoid on which a 225 kg bomb was placed. In a dive flight, the trapezium deflected and carried the bomb beyond the plane of rotation of the propeller. Improvements included strengthening the structure in appropriate places, increasing the wingspan by 20 cm and slightly reducing the length of the landing gear to make room for the trapezoid. No aerodynamic brakes were installed. Their role was played by flaps automatically extended at a dive angle of 60 °. The tests of the fighter-bomber named IAR 81 were quite successful, and a total of 50 such machines were built in three series.
Taking into account the wishes of the front-line pilots, the IAR company launched the production of the IAR 80B fighter with enhanced armor of the cockpit and fuel tanks. To improve the maneuverability of the aircraft at high altitudes, its wingspan was increased to 11 m. 20 built aircraft of this modification, armed with four 7.9-mm machine guns and two 13.2-mm, supplemented 11 IAR ZOV with two outboard fuel tanks with a capacity of 100 liters ... The latter could be used to escort long-range bombers. With similar modifications, the plant produced 29 IAR 81A fighter-bombers, in which fuel tanks were suspended under the wing planes instead of 50 kg bombs.
50 aircraft of the next version, IAR 81B, differed from their predecessors only in more powerful armament, which consisted of four 7.9-mm Browning-FN machine guns and two 20-mm Ikaria cannons (ammunition 60 shells), produced in Romania under the license of the Oerlikon company. In a purely fighter version, the IAR 81B developed a speed of 465 km / h at an altitude of 4500 m. The last serial modification of the vehicle was the IAR 81C, built in an amount of about 100 units and instead of the Ikaria cannons, the German 20-mm Mauser MG 151 cannons with 175 ammunition each shells on the barrel. In total, the IAR enterprise until 1943 built about 400 IAR 80 and 81 aircraft of all variants, and then switched to the licensed production of Messerschmitts Bf 109G-2.