Background on the Reggiane Re.2002
The Reggiane Re.2002 Ariete is an Italian fighter-bomber first developed by Roberto Longhi and Antonio Alesso in the summer of 1940. The Re.2002 utilized the same wing system of the Re.2001. However, just like the Re.2000 Falco, it incorporated a radial engine with a remodeled fuselage. The Piaggio P.XIX RC.45 radial engine generated 1,175 hp and a top speed of 329 mph. The aircraft had a range of 685 miles.
The use of a radial engine was partly due to the lack of spare Daimler-Benz DB 601 engines as well as a personal preference by Longhi.
Two hundred aircraft were originally ordered by the Regia Aeronautica. Reggiane built a total of 255 planes, 149 for the Regia Aeronautica and the rest for the Luftwaffe.
Armament consisted of 2 12.7 mm machine guns in the cowling and 2 7.7mm machine guns in the wings and up to a 1,102 lb bomb attached to the belly and two 352 lb bombs under the wings. The prototype flew in October 1940, but did not reach squadrons until March 1942.
The 5th Dive Bomber Group became operational in July 1943 and were used in the defense of Sicily and Italy. The Re.2002 faired badly against British Spitfire Mk Vs while others were destroyed on the ground.
About 40 Re.2002 continued the war after the Armistice on the Allied side until the summer of 1944. Germany acquired 60 Re.2002’s and used them against the French resistance fighters.
|Powerplant||(1) Piaggio P.XIX RC.45 radial engine 1,175 HP|
|Maximum Speed||329 mph (531 km/h) at 18,000 ft (5487 m)|
|Max Ceiling||34,450 ft (10,500 m)|
|Range||680 miles (1,100 km)|
|Length||26 ft 9 in (8.16 m)|
|Height||10.4 ft (3.15 m)|
|Wingspan||36 ft (20.4 m)|
|Armament||Two Breda-SAFAT 12.7 mm machine gun Two Breda-SAFAT 7.7 mm gachine guns 1,430 lb of bombs (650 kg)|
|Weight||Empty: 5,280 lb (2,400 kg) Max: 7,128 lb (3,240 kg)|