The IAR 80 was a single-seat fighter that was used by Romania during World War II.

Description

The IAR 80 had Gnome-Rhône 14K engine that was capable of propelling it at speeds of up to 510 kilometers per hour. Its armament consisted of four FN Browning Machine guns mounted in the wings.[1]

The total length of the IAR 80 was around 9.22 meters with a total weight of 1,617 kilograms unloaded. Its operational range was around 1,150 kilometers with a service ceiling of 9,500 meters.  The aircraft itself was reliable at first but had its quality suffer following restrictions on German supplies and as the war progressed. The IAR was most notable however for its extreme maneuverability which greatly aided it in combat.

Variants

The first variant of the IAR 80 series was the IAR 80A which had a new complement of six machine guns and increased armor for the cockpit area.[2] Furthermore, a new gunsight was added for improved accuracy. The next variant was the IAR 80B which had German imported 13.2mm machine guns mounted in the wings and lengthened wings. The IAR 80B could also mounted a single 225 kilogram bomb underneath the fuselage.

Following it would be the IAR 80C which had mounted two MG 151 Autocannons for much improved fire power, though the 13.2mm machine guns were replaced by the original 7.62mm machine guns. The next variant was the IAR 81 (thought postwar, the IAR 80D was created as a trainer).

The IAR 81 was notable for converting the platform to a fighter bomber type. Since the IAR 81 was produced more or less alongside the IAR 80, it also followed more or less the same improvements. For example, the IAR 81A had the 13.2mm machine guns added while the IAR 81B had the 20mm autocannons added, though it had self-sealing fuel tanks and more armor to accommodate for the ground attack role. Furthermore, the IAR 81B sported two MG FF cannons rather than the MG 151 types. It wasn't until the IAR 81C that the MG 151s were added to the type.

History

The IAR 80 was developed in 1937-1938 following the Romanian government's request for a new fighter platform to support its air force. The government funded IAR answered by taking pieces from the earlier Polish fighters then in service and incorporating them into the IAR 80.[3] The aircraft was well-received, being an excellent design and competing with the likes of Messerschmitt or Hawker. However, German controls on industry meant that the IAR 80 could not reach full production. Although it did eventually see service, its production was generally slow, with few being made to replace any losses. It served well in the early days of the war and even up to 1943, but by that time, it was showing age. By 1944, it was hopelessly outclassed by newer Soviet designs. In total, around 346 examples were produced by the time Romania surrendered. 

References


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