MÁVAG Héja II

The Héja II was a version of the Reggiane Re.2000 single engined figure produced under license in Hungary by the Hungarian State Iron and Steel Works (MÁVAG). Hungary had purchased seventy Re.2000s in 1939, of which 68 were eventually delivered, with the final aircraft not being delivered until May 1943, three years later than originally promised! These aircraft were known as the Héja (Hawk) in Hungarian service.

At the same time the Hungarians had negotiated for a license to build the aircraft themselves. The resulting aircraft was powered by the WMK-14B engine, based on the Gnome & Rhône K-14 Mistral Major, and providing 1085hp. The resulting aircraft had a top speed of 323 mph. Other changes including the replacement of the two Italian 12.7mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns of the Re.2000 with similar 12.7mm Gebauer guns designed and produced in Hungary, and an improved fuel system, with a self sealing 26 gallon fuel tank in the fuselage and 22 smaller tanks, with a capacity of 5.3 to 6.6 gallons in the wings.

Production of the Héja II ran from July 1942 until October 1944, although an allied air raid in July 1944 had destroyed the WM factory preventing between 25 and 30 aircraft from being completed. In all 203 Héja IIs were completed during that period.

While the imported Héjas had been used on the Eastern Front, the Héja II was retained in Hungary, for use as an advanced fighter trainer. The increased tempo of the allied bombing offensive against Hungary in 1944 forced the Héja II into service as a day fighter, operating against the US 15th Air Force and its escort fighters. This resulted in a series of encounters between the Héja II and P-38s and P-47s. Unsurprisingly the obsolescent Hungarian aircraft did not fare well against the more modern allied aircraft.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (26 April 2007), MÁVAG Héja II, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_MAVAG_hejaII.html

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