Designers started to consider to adopt an inline water cooled engine in order to achieve a better aerodynamic performance, thus higher speed.
Reggiane decided to design the RE 2001 from the RE 2000, powering it by the new german engine, the DB601, later also produced under license in Italy by Alfa Romeo.
First flight took place on 25th July 1940.
Tests performed by Regia Aeronautica showed positive results and it was then used in combat actions over Malta and against ships (including the attack to the Victorious carrier in the battle of mid-August in 1942).
Regia Aeronautica slowed down the development of the Re2001 because of the many changes and variants requested.
Variants were mainly: - torpedo, RE 2001G - night fighter, RE 2001CN - ship-borne, RE 2001OR - with camera, RE 2001 fotografico - with delta engine, RE 2001 delta - fighter bomber, RE 2001 CB - fighter, RE 2001 caccia and others.
RE 2001 under restoration at Galatina (LE)
Only one unit survived and is currently being restored by A.M.