The Re.2001 prototype
first took to the air in July 1940. Designers Roberto Longhi and
Antonio Alessio adapted the structure of the earlier Re.2000 to the new
inline engine, remodelling the fuselage but keeping the wing system and
tail section. A first delay in finishing the aircraft was caused the
authorities objection to the fuel tanks being built into the wings. The
had rejected the Re.2000 for the same reason. Several months went by
before the designers came up with a new solution and built another
prototype. Tests were carried out for some time, and it was June 1941,
before the first planes were delivered. Meanwhile the designers had
developed a new version in which the radiators were inside the wings.
This seemed to be an extremely promising innovation. The first
prototype was altered and called the Re.2001 bis. Test flights began in
1941 with Francesco Agello, who had established the world speed record
for seaplanes, at the controls. This aircraft flew some 40 mph faster
than the standard model, but it never got beyond the prototype stage.
Another variant model, developed in 1942, also remained in the
prototype stage. Because of the delay in receiving the Daimler Benz
engines, the designers found an alternative powerplant in the 840 hp
(626 kw) Isotta-Fraschini Delta, a 12-cylinder inverted Vee, air cooled
engine. The Re.2001 Delta, as this variant was called, made a series of
test flights late in 1942. It crashed in January 1943 and the
production order for 100 aircraft was cancelled.
Production of the
standard Re.2001 proceeded slowly. About 40 were built in 1941, a
little over 100 in 1942, and the rest in the first half of 1943.
Alongside the original fighter version there appeared a CB model
(fighter bomber) and a CN model (night fighter). The CB had a belly
bomb rack that could carry a 220 lbs (100 kg) or a 550 lbs (250 kg)
bomb. On rare occasions the plane carried a 1,410 lbs (640 kg) bomb.
The CN carried two 20 mm cannon in place the 7.7 mm (0.303 in) machine
guns of the standard model. A naval version was also considered. It was
to have been carried on board the Italian aircraft carriers Aquilla
and Sparviero, then being designed.
operational career began in December 1941, when it was assigned to
three squadrons. The aircraft were used chiefly in the Mediterranean
and over Italy as night fighters. After the 1943 armistice there were
more Re.2001's with the Allies than with Mussolini's forces in the
north. Five aircraft survived the war and remained in service for a few
years. While under design it was unofficially called the Falco II, it
was known as the Ariete operationally.
Ingeniere Antonio Alessio and Roberto Longhi of Officine Meccaniche "Reggiane"
S.A. (Caproni) based on their previous earlier Re.2000 Falco design
Officine Meccaniche "Reggiane" S.A. (Caproni) in Reggio Emilia
1,175 hp (876 kw) Alfa Romeo RA.1000 RC.41-1a Monsonie (the license
built Daimler Benz DB601 A-1) 12-cylinder inline engine.
Maximum speed 335 mph (540 km/h) with a service ceiling 36,000 ft
Range: 685 miles
(1105 km) with internal fuel.
4,565 lbs (2070 kg) with a maximum take-off weight of 7,850 lbs (3650
36 ft 1 in (11.00 m); length 26 ft 10 in (8.20 m); height 10 ft 4 in
(3.15 m); wing area 219.59 sq ft (20.40 sq m)
12.7 mm (0.50 in) Breda-SAFAT machine guns and either two 7.7 mm (0.303
in) Breda-SAFAT machine guns or two 20 mm cannon plus one 1,410 lbs
(640 kg) bomb.
Re.2001 Serie I, Re.2001 Serie II, Re.2001 Serie III, Re.2001 Serie IV
(fighter bomber), Re.2001 CN (night fighter). Experimental conversions
included a tandem two seat trainer, tank buster, torpedo fighter and
one with a Isotta Fraschini Delta IV engine installed.
(Regia Aeronautica, Aeronautica Cobelligerante de Sud, and Aeronautica