Documents are available that link the design of the Re2000 to the one of the US fighter Seversky P.35
Major changes from P.35: - landing gear with less aerodynamic drag when retracted - wing partly redesigned: improved fillets and dihedral angle. Top view details remain unchanged. Changes to host sealed tanks for the italian version - smoother lines between canopy and fuselage - New engine and modified engine cowling
In 1938 Regia Aeronautica issued a contest for a proposal for a - single wing aircraft - with metallic airframe - with retractable landing gear
Reggiane applied designing the RE 2000. First flight took place on 24th May 1939.
The aircraft was an advanced machine compared to the competitors in terms of: - full metallic airframe (dural covered by a layer of pure aluminium to avoid corrosion) - diffused load stressed-skin - problem of easy spin-entry condition avoided and easy spin recovery thanks to interpolated and twisted airfoils - landing gear retraction - assembly, thanks to the usage of rotating frames - tanks in the wing
The results of the tests showed the RE 2000 was the fastest among all italian fighters, even faster than british Hurricane. Many countries like U.K., Sweden, Hungary, showed interest and submitted orders even in high numbers. Apart from Sweden and Hungary those orders were than cancelled when the war started.
Which aircraft was chosen by the Regia Aeronautica at the end of the test ?
Basically the Fiat Cr.42 won the contest: - a biplane aircraft - with wooden airframe - with non-retractable landing gear
Reggiane received some minor orders from Regia Aeronautica anyway. In Italy RE 2000 was used mainly in Sicily for patrolling and escort duties.
Major complaints about RE 2000: - from Regia Aeronautica about the wing-tanks in the wing, considered unsafe - from pilots because of the low reliability of the Piaggio engine
Two main variants were produced: - RE 2000 Grande Autonomia (G.A.) - RE 2000 Catapultabile (Cat.)
RE 2000 catapultabile
Nowadays only one unit remains, at the Linkoeping museum in Sweden. Two uncomplete units are currently in the Caproni museum in Trento and at Italian Air Force facilities