Reggiane Re.2000 Falco I (Falcon I) Fighter Aircraft
The Italian Reggiane Re.2000 monoplane fighter was initially delivered via export to Hungary and Sweden.
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The Reggiane 2000 series of aircraft was very reminiscent of American interwar designs appearing between 1930 and 1940. The Reggiane maintained a stout profile centered around a large engine, rounded edge wings and traditional construction overall. When mated to the German-designed Daimler-Benz 605 series engine, the Reggiane 2005 model was a match for Allied fighters.
This particular Italian aircraft design began as the Re.2000 "Falco" ("Falcon") and was drawn up in 1937. Some limited production examples were put into service with the Italian Navy though other branches paid little attention to the system. The Re.2000 came online as a traditional monoplane fighter design and featured large center-positioned cockpit canopy taking up most of the upper fuselage length. The enlarged engine area gave the Re.2000 the appearance of a portly fighter yet the system would later be capable of speed in excess of 390 miles per hour. Armament (Re.2005) consisted of an impressive array of cannons and machine guns with 3 x 20mm MG151 series cannons and 2 x 12.7mm Breda-SAFAT heavy caliber machine guns in the upper engine cowlings. To round out the features, the Reggiane design also featured a retractable undercarriage. The Re.2005 differed substantially in outward design and appeared with more of an aerodynamic flavor of contemporary aircraft designs.
As partners in crime so often do, Reggiane was offered by Germany the opportunity to trial some Re.2001 designs with the DB 601 inline engines. As successful as the trials were, however, the engines were needed en mass for the German war effort. As a result the DB 601 was accepted for license production under the Alfa Romeo label. By the time of the Re.2005's inception, the DB 605 was being produced by Alfa Romeo and would make the Re.2005 regarded as the most capable of fighter designs built by the Italians in the entire conflict.
By the end of their run, Reggiane Re.2000 series fighters were being used principally as defensive fighters over Italian-held land. As more and more territories fell to the advancing Allies, the Re.2000 series models were grounded from service with a handful of Italian pilots knowingly (and unknowingly) still serving their cause.