Reggiane Re.2002 Ariete 1944 г.
Re.2002 Ariete appeared on the drawing boards in the summer of 1940 as a result of the development of the original Re.2000, which was powered by the new Piaggio P-XIXRC-45 Turbine B two-row fourteen cylinder engine with an output of 880 kW (1195 hp). In addition to the new engine, the project differed from the Re.2000 with a new, longer hood with a built-in forced cooling fan, a three-spar wing with protected fuel tanks, other weapons and a canopy that reclined to the right. It can be seen that in all these details the Re.2002 is more similar (with the exception of the motor) to the Re.2001 than to the original "two thousandth". The Italian star engine, due to its better qualities at lower altitudes and less sensitivity to combat damage, was more suitable for assault operations than the liquid DB-601A.
Flight tests of the Re.2002 began in October 1940, continued for many months and resulted in numerous modifications to the motor unit, cockpit canopy and tail wheel. After replacing the power plant in March 1941, official military tests of the prototype began at the Guidonia airfield and continued until the end of the year.
They were accompanied by great difficulties due to the lack of knowledge of the power plant. However, by the end of the tests, test pilot De Bernardi had reached almost the same top speed in the Re.2002 as the Re.2001. The Re.2002 in its original form had a three-blade Piaggio R-2001 propeller with a diameter of 3.1 m and had the same armament as the Re.2001 - under the fuselage there was a bomb rack for a large-caliber bomb.
On September 10, 1941, the Air Ministry signed an order for 200 Re.2002 aircraft and construction of a pre-production aircraft began. Unlike the prototype, production cars received tropical carburetor air intake filters and a more powerful generator. In the initial design phase of the Re.2002 Ariete, a purely fighter use of the aircraft was supposed, but after tests that revealed the exceptional qualities of the machine at low altitudes, its use was reoriented to support ground forces, bombing from horizontal and dive flights, assault strikes, torpedo attacks, photographic reconnaissance, fighting tanks, etc. Additional equipment and armament reduced the performance, so the maximum speed of production aircraft was twenty kilometers lower than that of the prototype. The rate of climb also dropped slightly. In December 1942, another contract was signed for 198 Re.2002 aircraft, as compensation for the canceled Re.2003 contract. At the beginning of 1943, work began on an improved prototype of the Re.2002bis, which was the fuselage and empennage of the serial Re.2002 (serial number MM7327) with the wing of the Re.2005 aircraft. By the day of Italy's surrender, however, it was not completed, and after it was destroyed. The project had a deck version for the aircraft carriers Aquilla and Sparviero.
During the tests of the first production vehicles, further difficulties with the power plant emerged. The engine vibrated strongly during a dive and stopped during overturns. On 11 March 1943, the Air Ministry ordered the next 300 Re.2002s, with deliveries starting in September of that year. However, by the time of the surrender, only 147 cars from the first batch were ready and fifty-three were at the stage of completion of assembly. The second batch was at the stage of the first quarter of the complete set.