|A Re.2007 artwork|
The Reggiane Re.2007 was thought to be an Italian fighter aircraft designed in 1943 by Roberto Longhi. Longhi himself spread the word on his design and construction of a jet aircraft prototype during the war.
Roberto Longhi, one of the most prominent Reggiane aircraft designers, in a letter to the Italian aviation magazine JP4, dated May 1976, stated that Regia Aeronautica Major Antonio Ferri asked him to study an engine option for the Reggiane Re.2005. The requirement was to install a supplemental Fiat A.20 engine behind the cockpit, driving a compressor, in order to improve the Daimler-Benz DB 605 main engine output, giving the airplane a speed of 750 kilometres per hour (400 kn) above 8,000 metres (26,000 ft). It was also planned to use a tail exhaust to achieve more thrust.
The proposal was filed as Project R by Regia Aeronautica Stato Maggiore (HQ), but remained only a paper project, as, according to Longhi, the aircraft would have had problems with its center of gravity.
One alternate possibility was to obtain turbojet engines from Germany, but despite requests from Antonio Alessio and Count Giovanni Battista Caproni, the Germans delivered only a wooden mock-up for dimensional tests to Reggiane.
After the war, Longhi tried to conduct experiments with two Junkers Jumo 004 engines that were left in Udine airport after the German defeat. These extremely valuable jet engines were delivered to Italy in 1945 as spare parts for a small Luftwaffe high speed reconnaissance flight, equipped with three Arado Ar 234 Blitz, when the nearly impossible to intercept German twin-jet planes participated to the Italian Campaign. Unfortunately for Reggiane's designers, the engines were purchased by Angelo Ambrosini, another Italian aircraft manufacturer.
Some Re.2007 drawings were made only after the war by airplane designer Pellizzola, but were not followed-up. Those Re.2007 drawings were based on a speculative reconstruction derived from a Reggiane engineer's description. The drawings were notable for the futuristic (for 1943) swept wing, which only became common on fighter planes in the 1950s, although the Germans had used them on both the Me262 jet and Me163 rocket fighters.
Rumours about a partially built airframe with technical sketches, both sent to the United Kingdom and the United States for studies, were published in some Italian books and magazines, but are now considered highly improbable.
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In his letters, Longhi said that he started in late 1943 a project for the Re.2007, a swept wing, jet-powered (Jumo 004) fighter build using the better part of the Re.2006 second prototype. In 1968 Interconair Aviation & Marine published the first post-war study in the Reggiane fighter. The editors and publishers of the great "Profiles" series bought the story and produced a profile devoted to the Re 2007. Ing. Longhi says that he sent a letter to Count Caproni asking him to try to obtain the Jumo 004 turbojet engine via his political connections in Rome; according to Ing. Longhi’s letter a copy of this request should still be in Caproni Archive. As time goes by the war ended before having found the way to approach the problem with the German authorities.
For a couple of years nothing happened, but a surge of aviation nationalism in political nostalgics who pointed out that Italy also had a wartime jet-powered fighter after CC.2 experiment. Then, the details given by Longhi started to work against him and a rain of letters and witnesses started to pour in the Italian specialty press.
In the relatively little Reggiane environment it would have been impossible to hide such an important project and no designer or technician or test pilot remembered anything about it. The drawings and technical description were done after the war. The technical description, dated January 7, 1944, is written on Reggiane official paper but it is the type of paper used by Reggiane in the post-war years. The drawings were done by Mr. Cometti and, as stated by Mr. Cometti himself, they were done immediately after the end of the war in Europe. The last straw was the demonstration that the Longhi letter to Count Caproni was a vulgar fake: it was written using the letterheaded paper used by Reggiane after the war.
Also the technical specifications are suspect, given the engine power and the weight of the aircraft. The aircraft is too futuristic for a 1943 design. Also, it seems clear that the Re.2007 could not have been based on the Re.2006. A quick look on the cross-section indicates it was impossible to use a RE 2006 frame for a Jumo 004 of which Longhi did not know the exact specifications. The wing is different, due to the arrowed and swept profile, and the fuselage is designed to fit a turbojet engine, quite different from a piston engine. So the opinion that the Re.2006 prototype was used for the Re.2007 prototype is very unlikely.
The reason for Longhi's fabricated story was probably to get credibility in the West. Returned in the States, Ing. Longhi was able to develop the Re.2008 from the new Re.2007 sketches he made after the war but pretended were from earlier days. The Re.2008 models (1947–1948) were tested at Cornell Variable Density Wind Tunnel in 1949. The definitive collapse of Caproni Group stopped all evolutions.
Data from aerei-italiani.net
- Crew: 1
- Length: 10.0 m (32 ft 10 in)
- Wingspan: 9.0 m (29 ft 6 in)
- Wing area: 17.0 m2 (183 sq ft)
- Gross weight: 3,540 kg (7,804 lb)
- Powerplant: 1 × Junkers Jumo 004B turbojet, 8.8 kN (2,000 lbf) thrust (2nd supposed configuration)
- Maximum speed: 750 km/h (466 mph; 405 kn)
- Range: 1,400 km (870 mi; 756 nmi)
- Guns: 4 × 20 mm MG 151/20
- "Reggiane Re.2007". aerei-italiani.net (in Italian). Retrieved 6 Oct 2009.
- Govi, Sergio (1985). I Reggiane Dall'A Alla Z (in Italian). Giorgio Apostolo Editore.
- "RE 2005 R". alireggiane.com (in Italian). Retrieved 12 Nov 2009.
- Ciampaglia, Giuseppe (2004). Dal SAI Ambrosini Sagittario All'AERFER Leone. A History of the first Italian supersonic fighters created by Sergio Stefanutti. Aviolibri dossier (in English and Italian). 2. Rome, Italy: IBN Editore. p. 61. ISBN 88-7565-000-4.
- "Reggiane Re.2006". Prototipi della regia Aeronautica. Aerei nella storia (in Italian) (57): 43. 2007/2008. Check date values in:
- Solmi, Angelo (1967). Storia della seconda guerra mondiale (in Italian). Rizzoli-Purnell & Sons.
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