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Reggiane Re.2001 Falco II (Falcon II)

Fighter / Fighter-Bomber Aircraft

Kingdom of Italy | 1941

"Development and production of the Reggiane Re.2001 series proved slow, yielding just 237 examples in all."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/31/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

While the other major global participant of World War 2 found tremendous successes with their various and numerous wartime fighter mounts, the Italian Air Force (Regia Aeronautica) operated a rather contained collection of fighter types - many of which were quite good designs and only limited by protracted development periods, Italian industry, and limited production numbers. Such was the case with the capable Reggiane Re.2001 "Falco" series which was introduced in 1941 and saw just 237 aircraft delivered by war's end. As such, they left a very limited footprint on the Italian war effort - despite having fought with both Axis and Allied sides in the war

The Reggiane concern ("Officine Meccaniche Reggiane SpA") operated under the banner of parent company Caproni and was headquartered out of Reggio Emilia in north-central Italy. Founded in 1901, it still maintains operations in the machinery field today (though as "Reggiane Cranes and Plants SpA").

Reggiane Engineers Roberto Longhi and Antonio Alessio were credited with the work that brought about an earlier form of the Reggiane Re.2001 known as the Reggiane "Re.2000". This low-wing monoplane aircraft with enclosed cockpit first flew in May of 1939 and was introduced in 1940 while being produced in over 180 examples. However, the aircraft was deemed unsatisfactory for use by the Regia Aeronautica and therefore originally sold through as export products to both Hungary and Sweden.

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Unable to secure the potentially lucrative Italian Air Force government deal , Reggiane engineers set about working on a more improved fighter form. This cause was also furthered by the arrival of the German Daimler-Benz DB 601 series engine which now became available to the Italians. The engine was license-produced locally as the Alfa Romeo RA1000 RC 41-I "Monsone" ("Monsoon") and featured an output of 1,175 horsepower. Within a revised airframe, the aircraft - was now christened as the "Re.2001" - flew in prototype form during July of 1940. Subsequent flight testing proved it an aircraft with exceptional performance gains over the original as well as the maneuverability required for the dogfighting role - it was seen as on par with British Spitfires. Two prototypes were eventually completed.

However, the development cycle of the Re.2001 was fraught with delays brought about by Regia Aeronautica change requests - this also led to an extensive redesign of the wing structure dealing with internal fuel stores. Work on the changes pushed development into 1941 and first production-quality models were not available until June of that year. Operational readiness was further hampered by the limited stock of RA1000 engines and the aircraft proved complex machines to produce. This also led to high procurement costs for supplies and man hours required during assembly. By the end of the year, the total stock of available Re.2001 fighters was just 40 aircraft. Formal service began in December of 1941 as the aircraft deployed across three Italian fighter squadrons.

Production continued at a slow pace and 1942 saw another 100 added to the Italian inventory with the final batches arriving during 1943. Three primary variants ultimately emerged, the first being the Re.2001 "Series I" standard fighter development with 4 x machine gun armament; 100 were built. The second mark was the Re.2001CB fighter-bomber variant which held provisions for a single 220lb or 500lb bomb along the fuselage centerline - these aircraft appeared from 1942 onwards. The third mark became the Re.2001CN dedicated night fighter carrying a pair of 20mm cannons in underwing gun pods. These were produced in 74 examples across Series III and Series IV batches. A modified fighter-bomber form was the Re.2001G/V but these saw little service and limited production. Reggiane continued development of the line but only begat prototypes that were never adopted.

The primary operating airspace of the Re.2001 was in the Mediterranean Theater. Night fighters generally operated over Italy as a defensive measure from Allied bomber attacks. After the Italian surrender in September of 1943, Italian air power was divided into the pro-Allied co-belligerent force and the pro-Axis Republica Sociale Italiana. In either case, the aircraft remained in limited numbers - largely due to production numbers, serviceability, and combat losses already incurred. Eight Re.2001 airframes served with co-belligerent forces and just one with the Italian Social Republic. The Re.2001 was not exported nor did it serve in the German Luftwaffe as other Italian fighters did after the September 1943 surrender.

From published accounts, the Reggiane Re.2001 was a sound fighter aircraft, holding strong handling characteristics and maneuverability which made it comparable to its contemporaries. Its machine gun armament may have limited the type to a certain extent but its performance was certainly serviceable for the early-war period: through its Alfa Romeo engine and its streamlined airframe, the aircraft would reach speeds of nearly 340 miles per hour with a range out to 685 miles. Its service ceiling reached 36,100 feet with a rate-of-climb nearing 2,600 feet per minute.

After the war, only five Re.2001s remained in service. These were given up in the years following.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Reggiane Re.2001 Falco II (Falcon II) Fighter / Fighter-Bomber Aircraft.
1 x Alfa-Romeo RA 1000 RC 41-la Monsone (Daimler-Benz DB 601 A-1) 12-cylinder Vee liquid-cooled inline engine developing 1,175 horsepower.
350 mph
563 kph | 304 kts
Max Speed
36,089 ft
11,000 m | 7 miles
Service Ceiling
684 miles
1,100 km | 594 nm
Operational Range
2,591 ft/min
790 m/min
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Reggiane Re.2001 Falco II (Falcon II) Fighter / Fighter-Bomber Aircraft.
27.4 ft
8.36 m
O/A Length
36.1 ft
(11.00 m)
O/A Width
10.3 ft
(3.15 m)
O/A Height
5,512 lb
(2,500 kg)
Empty Weight
7,231 lb
(3,280 kg)
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Reggiane Re.2001 Falco II (Falcon II) Fighter / Fighter-Bomber Aircraft .
2 x 12.7mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns in upper engine cowling.
2 x 7.7mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns in wings

2 x 20mm MG 151 cannons in underwing pods.

1 x 220lb or 500lb drop bomb under fuselage centerline.
Notable series variants as part of the Reggiane Re.2001 Falco II (Falcon II) family line.
Re.2001 - Base series designation; covered two prototypes.
Re.2001 (Serie I) - Standard fighter form
Re.2001 CB - Fighter-bomber form
Re.2001 OR (Serie II) - Proposed naval carrier variant.
Re.2001 CN (Serie III) - Night fighter variant; 2 x 20mm armament underwing.
Re.2001 CN (Serie IV) - Night fighter variant; 2 x 20mm armament underwing.
Re.2001 G/H - Prototype torpedo bomber; two examples completed.
Re.2001 G/V - Updated fighter-bomber form; limited production and service.
Re.2001 "Delta" - Prototype fitted with Isotta-Fraschini Delta RC 16/48 engine; 100 on order cancelled.
Re.2001bis - Prototype
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Reggiane Re.2001 Falco II (Falcon II). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 237 Units

Contractor(s): Reggiane - Italy
National flag of Italy National flag of the Kingdom of Italy

[ Kingdom of Italy ]
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Image of the Reggiane Re.2001 Falco II (Falcon II)
Image from the Public Domain.

Going Further...
The Reggiane Re.2001 Falco II (Falcon II) Fighter / Fighter-Bomber Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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