Aviation of Word War II

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Re-2000 Falcon

Fighter

Reggiane

The Re. 2000 Falco I 1941

Re. 2000 "Falco I" 1941

The design of the Re.2000 dates back to 1938, when the Italian Ministry of Aviation issued a mission to leading aircraft manufacturers to design a single-engine fighter - a monoplane with a star engine and armament from two 12.7mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns. The winner of the competition was to become the main aircraft of the Italian fighter aircraft.

In addition to the well-known companies at that time, Officine Meccaniche Italiane-Reggiane, whose plant was located in Reggio Emilia (Northern Italy), also took part in the competition. The designers of the company, engineers Roberto Longhi and Antonio Alessio designed the aircraft, which later became known under the designation Re.2000 Falco I. The name Falco I (Falcon), however, was never used officially, because coincided with the designation of another fighter - FIAT CR-42.

Roberto Longhi had experience in design work in the United States at the Uppercu Burnelli Aircraft Corporation, so the very appearance of the fighter easily captures the features of the promising Seversky P-35 machine at that time.

The prototype fighter took off for the first time on May 24, 1939. The flights were generally successful, and the firm received an order to build two more prototypes for comparative purposes and one airframe for statistical testing. The competition, held in August at the Guidonia airfield, showed the clear superiority of the Re.2000 over its main competitor, the MC.200, in all major flight indicators.

The plane had good speed and controllability, and even the Fiat CR.42 biplane could not match it in maneuverability in training fights! Nevertheless, the victory in the competition went to the McKee, and the Re.2000 was rejected for the simple reason that experts from the Ministry of Aviation feared its great vulnerability in battle due to the wing-box caissons. However, the flight data of the aircraft played a role, and the company "Regiana" was offered a contract for the supply of a small amount of Re.2000. However, it was soon canceled when work was already underway on the first series of 12 aircraft and the production of the next 80 fighters was being prepared.

cond prototype of the Re.2000 was completed in November 1939 and differed from its predecessor in the installed propeller spinner, a new canopy canopy and modified carburetor air intake and exhaust pipes. Despite the fact that the engineers revised the design of the wing, placing the usual protected fuel tanks in it, the Italian military leadership showed no interest in this aircraft. But buyers were found abroad.



Reggiane
Re.2000 Re.2001 Re.2002
Crew 1
Dimensions
Wing span, m 11.0
Wing area, m² 20.4
Length, m 7.99 8.36 8.16
Weight, kg:
Empty weight 2090 2485 2390
Gross weight 28500 3285 3240
Powerplant
Engine P.XI R.C.40 DB 601A P.XIX R.C.45
Power, hp. 985 1075 1195
Performance
Max speed km/h 530 563 530
at alt., m 5000 5400 5000
Time to alt. min, sek 6, 10 6 8, 48
m 6000 5000 6000
Service ceiling, m 10,500 11,100 10,500
Service range, km 1,400 1,100 1,100
Armament
Machine guns 2×12.7 2×12.7+2×7.7 2×12.7+2×7.7

In the fall of 1939, a British delegation visited the country in order to purchase fighters for the RAF, since the British factories could not produce them in sufficient quantities. The Re.2000 caught the attention of the commission, and the initial order for it was to be at least a thousand copies. This deal was almost completed, but the Germans intervened and vetoed it. In December 1939, representatives of the Hungarian Ministry of Aviation signed a contract with the Reggiane company for the supply of 70 Re.2000s. In addition, the conditions for the licensed production of aircraft in Hungary were also discussed. The Italians pledged to deliver the first disassembled fighter in June 1940. However, this deadline was not met due to various production problems. By December alone, the Hungarians received 7 vehicles, 13 were prepared for dispatch and 9 were awaiting overflight. 48 Re.2000 sailed to Hungary in February 1941, and supplies of the remaining aircraft and spare parts continued until the end of the year.

On June 26, 1941, the Hungarian government declared war on the USSR, but the first 7 Re.2000s, intended for military trials, did not appear at the front as part of 1/2 Squadron until August 7. The fighters received their baptism of fire three days later, when five Re.2000s, together with Fiats, accompanied the Ca.135 bombers in a raid on Nikolaev. Only one "Regiana", shot down by anti-aircraft fire, did not return from the departure. On August 26, Squadron 1/2 participated in the attack on the Soviet airfield, where, according to Hungarian data, ten aircraft were destroyed. In general, the Re.2000 successfully passed the front-line tests. At that time, these were the best Hungarian fighters, superior in flight performance to both the Soviet I-16 aircraft and the Italian Fiat CR.32 and CR.42 aircraft, which were in service with the Hungarian Air Force. The remaining five "Reggians" in October 1941 went home, but by coincidence they got over the Carpathians in continuous clouds. As a result, two fighters crashed in the mountains, and one made an emergency landing.

Photo Description
Drawing RE.2000

Drawing Re.2000

Re.2000

Re.2000

Bibliography

  • "Air war" /# 97/
  • "50 best fighters of World War II" /Gennadiy Kornukhin/