IAR-37 reconnaissance / light bomber
IAR-38 reconnaissance / light bomber
IAR-39 reconnaissance / light bomber
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Potez Po-633B2
Bristol Blenheim Mark I

The IAR-38 reconnaissance / light bomber


Right as the IAR-37 was entering production, the IAR engineers realised that the IAR K14 engine was not exactly a flawless design ; even worse was the fact that production of the engine ( a license-built version of a French one ) wass still a difficult and time-consuming operation. One solution was to mount a older engine on existing fuselages, until the problems of the IAR K14 could be solved.
The engine chosen for this "interim" version was the BMW-132 radial, air-cooled engine, rated at 550 HP. It had been discovered by a Romanian delegation during a visit in Germany. ARR leaders realised this solution presented two major advantages : the BMW engine could be delivered in large numbers in just 2-3 months and it was just half as expensive as the K14. A IAR-37 fuselage was completed with this powerplant, and after tests showed that the combination worked well enough, an order for 100 engines was given to the BMW company and mass-production started in 1938. It is difficult to say how many IAR-38's were built since figures vary from 20 to 75 ; but it seemes that about 75 were actually built. By early 1939 production was stopped since IAR engineers managed to work out all the kinks of the IAR K14 powerplant and there was no longer any need for "interim" solutions.
However, the plane was not completely spared of its share of engine troubles, since the BMW engine was quite an old design and breakdowns seemed to be have been frequent. Eventually, production was switched entirely to the IAR-39, the last member of this family.



In June 1941, the IAR-38 equiped several observation squadrons and it remained in action for almost one and a half years, until it could be replaced by the superior IAR-39. It was occasionally employed as courier or liasion aircraft as well, and it seems that some airplanes remained in action as late as 1944.
  The IAR-38 reconnaissance aircraft  

Although it was vulnerable to enemy fighters and its engine could occasionally be a source of nuisance, the IAR-38 achieved a fairly good combat reputation.

Technical data for the IAR-38

13.2 meters
9.56 meters
3.8 meters
Wing surface
40.3 square meters
Weight ( empty )
2219 kg
Weight ( loaded )
3100 kg
Maximum speed
335 km/h
650 km
Maximum operational ceiling
8000 meters
BMW-132 rated at 550 HP
4 FN 7.92 mm machine guns
Up to 288 kg of bombs ( 24 * 12 kg bombs )
Numbers produced
Serial number

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