Reggiane Re.2000

The Caproni-Reggiane Re.2000 Falco I was an Italian all metal, low-wing, monoplane with a Curtiss-style retractable undercarriage, used in the first part of World War II. This lightly built and highly maneuverable interceptor/fighter, similar to the Seversky P-35, flew for the first time in 1939. It proved a technically advanced aircraft, well balanced and extremely aerodynamic, but not without its faults.

Although potentially superior to Italian contemporary fighters (Fiat G.50 and Macchi C.200), the Re.2000 was not considered satisfactory by Italian military authorities. Consequently, the manufacturer built it for export and almost all of the first production served with the Swedish Air Force and Hungarian Air Force, rather than in the Regia Aeronautica (Italian Air Force).


Reggiane Re.2000
Class Aircraft
Type Fighter
Manufacturer Reggiane
Origin Italy
Country Name Origin Year
Italy 1939
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Germany View
Hungary View
Italy 1940 1945 View
Sweden View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Reggiane 186 View

The Reggiane Re.2000 was designed by Roberto Longhi and Antonio Alessio in 1938. They took inspiration from the contemporary Seversky P-35 which it superficially resembled. The Re.2000 was the first aircraft designed by Reggiane that employed aluminum stressed skin rather than the wooden or mixed wood and metal structures normally used in contemporary Italian aircraft such as the Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 built by Reggiane under license. Reggiane introduced several advanced features: a modern structure, well more advanced than the ones used in Macchi's and other Italian fighters of the time; an elliptical wing, with five spars and integral fuel tanks. Reggiane Re.2000 had no fuselage tanks, but nevertheless, with the entire wing volume devoted to fuel, it had up to 460 kg (640 lt) gasoline, with a 900 1,100 km endurance, far better than Macchis and Fiats. The armament was still two 12.7 mm Breda's (300 rounds each), plus the provision for bomblet-dispensers (spezzoniera).

The Re.2000 prototype's first flight was on 24 May 1939 at Reggio Emilia, flown by Mario De Bernardi,. The Re.2000, with 260 kg fuel (the maximum was 460 kg/640 lt, but RA did not needed it) was quite light: 2,059 kg empty, 2,529 kg loaded. It reached 518 km/h at 5,250 m and 506 km/h/6,000 m, climbed to 6,000 m in 6,5 min, and had 11,500 m ceiling. During test flights the aircraft gave an excellent performance, and on several occasions, it performed better than other fighters then in production. In mock dogfights, it could successfully fight not only the slower Fiat CR.42 biplane, but even the more modern Macchi C.200 and the German Bf 109E.

The Re.2000GA (Grande Autonomia) version, added extra 340 liters fuel tanks. This version should have been used to reach Eastern Africa, but it wasn't ready before the Italian defeat; the only fighter sent to reinforce Regia Aeronautica units were 51 C.R.42s disassembled and transported by the large Savoia-Marchetti SM.82s. Re.2000GAs were heavier and significantly slower than the standard production Re.2000s. At an empty weight was 2,190 kg compared to the Re.2000's 2,080 kg, maximum speed was 520 km/h at 5,300 m. Armament was two 12.7 mm SAFAT with 600 rounds, and provisions for a Nardi dispenser with 88 2 kg bomblets (a typical 'special armament' for Re.2000s). The Re.2000GA was never really reliable (even for Re.2000 standards), especially its troublesome engine.

The Re.2000bis equipped with P XI bis engine was built in small numbers with only nine examples delivered when 377a Sq. was born, in August 1941.

In service, the Re.2000's weak point was the engine, a 986 hp (735 kW) Piaggio P.XI RC 40 radial, which was not altogether reliable. Moreover, it was not as rugged as the Macchi and its fuel tanks were vulnerable (they were not self-sealing).[8] Consequently, the Regia Aeronautica rejected it.

The Reggiane Re.2000 was much more prominent in the Hungarian and Swedish air forces. In fact, 80 percent of Re.2000 production went to these two countries, with Hungary ordering 70 and Sweden 60 machines. Other countries also exhibited interest, but did not place orders.

Role Fighter
Manufacturer Reggiane
Designer Roberto Longhi
First flight 24 May 1939
Introduction 1940
Retired July 1945 (Sweden)
Primary users Hungarian Air Force
Swedish Air Force
Luftwaffe
Regia Aeronautica
Number built 186 + license built
Variants MÁVAG Héja
Reggiane Re.2001
Reggiane Re.2002
Reggiane Re.2003
Reggiane Re.2005


General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 7.99 m (26 ft 2½ in)
  • Wingspan: 11.00 m (36 ft 1 in)
  • Height: 3.20 m (10 ft 5? in)
  • Wing area: 20.40 m² (219.6 sq ft)
  • Empty weight: 2,090 kg (4,585 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 2,839 kg (6,259 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Piaggio P.XI RC 40 14-cylinder twi-row air-cooled radial engine, 986 hp (736 kW) (1000 CV) at 4,000 m (13,125 ft)
  • Propellers: Piaggion-D'Ascanio P.1001 three-bladed constant speed propeller
  • Propeller diameter: 3.10 m (10 ft 2 in)

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 530 km/h (268 knots, 329 mph) at 5,300 m (17,400 ft)
  • Cruise speed: 440 km/h (237 knots, 273 mph)
  • Range: 545 km (296 nmi, 340 mi)
  • Endurance: 1.25 hours
  • Service ceiling: 11,200 m (36,745 ft) (practical ceiling)
  • Climb to 4,000 m (13,125 ft): 4 min

Armament

  • Guns: 2× 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns

End notes