This my first topic from a series that will cover at least some of the planes used by Romania during the Second World War. First one will be about the only romanian-built fighter, the IAR 80.
IAR 80 was a monoplane fighter and dive bomber. It was conducted at IAR Braşov by a team composed of Prof. Ion Grosu, Ion Coşereanu, Eng. Gheorhe Zotta, Viziru Grosu and Ion Wallner. At that time, the IAR 80 was comparable to the most modern combat aircraft, such as Germany's Bf 109, Mitsubishi A6M Zero in Japan, Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire in the UK. In the second part of the war, this project proved to be technologically outdated. About five years after the end of the war, the planes were completely replaced by Soviet models. In 1955, the Military Air Force Command decided to dismantle the apparatus and destroy it. No plane has been preserved, but two copies are now found at the National Museum of the Aviation, and the other at the National Military Museum, both in Bucharest.
At the end of 1937 the IAR 80 started working, initially designed with the open cockpit and the IAR K14-III C32 engine of 870 hp (649 kW). Slow work was done on this project and the first flight was conducted in April 1939. Subsequent tests were impressive: the airplane reached a speed of 510 km / h at a height of 4000 m. Several small issues discovered by the tests were resolved in the following year. For more power, a new engine of 930 hp (690 kW), ie version C36 of K14-III, was installed. Due to the power of this engine, it was also necessary to modify the fuselage. As a result, the tank was increased to 455 l, the wings extended and the tail modified to eliminate some aerodynamic problems. Carlinga was moved a little in the back, and to offset the visibility of the pilot's seat, the entire cockpit was lifted.
The improved prototype was tested on the Heinkel He 112 plane that had just arrived from Germany as the beginning of a larger order. Although the He 112 was somewhat more modern and much better armed, the IAR 80 with a stronger engine proved to be much more performing in the rest of the range. The Royal Aviation, being impressed, immediately ordered 100 pieces on December 18, 1939, and the orders for He 112 were canceled.
- Length: 8,16 m. Width: 10.0 m.
- Height: 3.6 m. Carrier surface: 15,50 m². Weight (empty): 1780 kg.
- Mass (maximum): 2280 kg.
- Engine: IAR K14-III C32, 870 hp (649 kW), later IAR K14-III C36, 930 hp (690 kW).
- Maximum speed: 510 km / h at 4000 m. - Ceiling: 10500 m (34,500 ft). - Climbing time at 5000 m: 6 min. - Weapons 2 × FN (Browning) 7.92 mm
- IAR 80: Production was supposed to begin immediately, but procurement of weapons proved to be a serious problem. On the prototype, only two Fabrique Nationale guns of 7.92 mm Belgian production were mounted. This weapon was obviously too weak for use in war and according to the project the plane should have been equipped with six such weapons. On the occasion of the invasion of Belgium and the Netherlands by Germany, the supply of these weapons ceased and unfortunately there were no Romanian weapons fitting on the plane. In the absence of weapons, production was stopped. In November 1940, Romania entered into an alliance with the Powers of the Axis, and the Germans allowed the resumption of Belgian arms transport. Even if more weapons were purchased, the planes produced had only 4 machine guns fitted. Serial specimens have increased the length, width and bearing surface. It received a stronger engine and increased overall weight. A total of 50 devices, numbered 1 - 50, will be built from this version.
- IAR 80A: In April 1941, Romania was included in Germany's sphere of influence, so the Germans supplied more weapons. The weaponry was quickly incorporated into the project and the 80A model resulted, according to the project, was equipped with 6 weapons. The windscreen was also made of armored glass and armored pilot's seat. The plane was powered by the new IAR K14-1000A engine, 1025 hp. Because this engine was too strong for the original cell, the fuselage was modified and strengthened. Although the IAR 80A had a stronger engine, the addition of weapons, ammunition, and armor weight contributed to a slight reduction in maximum speed to 509 km / h. The new model was an obvious breakthrough and replaced the old model with the 51th aircraft. Eight new planes were completed in time to participate in the war of liberation of Bessarabia starting June 22, 1941. From this version will be built 90 devices with numbers 051-090, 106-150 and 176-180.
- IAR 80B: In this version, two of the Browning machine guns were replaced by two NF machine guns of 13.2 mm and the range increased. Improved fuel tank and armor protection on the pilot's side. From this version, 20 appliances were manufactured, with numbers 181-200. Next, 11 appliances in the series 201-211 will be equipped with two additional fuel tanks of 100 l, wide, located under the wings.
- IAR 80DC: At the Aircraft Repair Workshops (ARMV), which later became the Aircraft Company Bucharest, several IAR 80 units were converted to the training biloc, the version being called IAR 80DC (double command). These machines were equipped with hunting pilot schools.
- IAR 81: It is a version equipped to carry out missile bombing (Bo-Pi) missions. For this purpose, it started from various versions of IAR 80, which were equipped with bomb launchers. The IAR 81 base version started from the IAR version 80A, to which were added three bomb launchers, two 50kg bombs placed under the wings and one for a 250kg bomb placed under the fuselage. The weapon was the same as the IAR version 80A. From this version, 50 copies were produced, with the numbers 091-105, 151 -175 and 231-240.
- IAR 81A: This version comes from the IAR 80B version. The differences consisted of a 13.2 mm machine gun cartridge, and instead of the 50 kg bomb, it had additional fuel tanks. There were 29 copies, with the series 212-230 and 291-300.
- IAR 81B: In this version, 13.2 mm machine guns are replaced by two 20 mm Ikaria (20-mm license), each with 60 strokes each. Thus his fire power was similar to that of the Spitfire V device. There were 50 copies, with the series 241-290.
- IAR 81C: In this version, Ikaria cannons were replaced with Mauser MG 151 cannons of 20 mm, with increased bumps. From this version there were produced 38 copies of the 100 series ordered, with the series beginning with 301.
• Other versions: An Junkers Jumo 211 Da Engine, a twelve-cylinder turbocharged 12-cylinder turbocharged engine with a higher power output of 1340 hp (1000 kW), has been tried on an IAR 81. The results are little known. Also, an IAR 80 replaced the original engine with a BMW 801, used by the German Focke-Wulf Fw 190, which could develop a speed of at least 600 km/h, but this could not be put into practice on a scale because of the fact that the Germans were unable to provide the engine.