Air Weapons

IAR

IAR 80/81

The Romanian IAR 80 was arguably the finest fighter developed outside the major world powers during World War II. Designed by a team led by Ion Grosu, the IAR 80 was intended to replace the license-built PZL P.24 fighter and incorporated many of the features of its predecessor although in the end proved to be a radically new aircraft which was the equal of any pre-war or early WW2 fighter. Notable because of its tail skid in place of a wheel, the IAR 80 was eventually improved to perform in the fighter-bomber and dive bomber roles were it was known as the IAI 81. Both were used extensively in the Eastern Front until being redeployed for home defense duties, mostly over Bucharest and the Ploesti oilfields. After the Romanian capitulation, they were also used against their former Axis allies and even remained in service in large numbers as late as 1949. Production of these aircraft was stopped in 1943 to give way for localized manufacturing of the Bf 109G.

The first prototype IAR 80 flew in April 1939 entering service with the same basic designation and later upgraded into the IAR 80A, 80B, and 80C (main differences were in their armament) of which later examples had wing span increases. A post-war tandem two seat trainer was known as the IAR 80DC and served up to 1952. Meanwhile, the IAR 81 was adapted as a fighter-bomber and dive bomber and included the IAR 81A and 80C subvariants with different armament configurations.

Preceded by:

None

Succeeded by:

None

Datafile

DesignIAR 80CIAR 81
TypeFighterFighter-Bomber
Year19411941
Crew11
Dimensions
Length8.97 m8.97 m
Height3.60 m3.60 m
Wing Span11.00 m10.52 m
Wing Area16.5 m²16 m²
Weight
Empty1,783 kg2,125 kg
Maximum2,490 kg3,070 kg
Wing Loading150.9 kg/m²191.9 kg/m²
Performance
Speed550 km/h542 km/h
Ceiling10,500 m9,500 m
Range730 km1,030 km
Powerplant
Engine1 x K 14-1000
IAR
764 kW
1 x K 14-1000
IAR
764 kW
Thrust/Weight0.520.44
Armament
Guns2 x 20-mm
4 x 7.92-mm
6 x 7.92-mm
Payload-450 kg
Production
Built5050
Total461