In late 1937, the IAR engine factory reported that they could
now supply an improved version of the IAR K14 engine, which had been
chosen as the main powerplant for all new Romanian planes. Therefore,
the IAR-38 was taken out of production and IAR-39's finally started
rolling out of the factory.
Once again, there were no major differences between the IAR-39
and its predecessors, except the engine, which was now an IAR K14 C32
engine, mounted on a strenthenghned airframe with an enlarged wing.
IAR-39 of the 17th Reconnaissance Squadron about to take-off.
Later models were fitted with the more powerful IAR K14 1000A2 engine,
which provided a slight boost in performance. It was realised that the
aircraft needed some defensive armament so a rear facing machine gun
maned by the radio man so fitted as well, whilst only two FN machine
guns were mounted on the wings this time.
Initially only IAR built IAR-39's, but, since
1938, SET also begun to manufacture the plane
under license, at the request of the Romanian government. At the start
of the war for Romania ( which was the 22nd of June 1941 ) the IAR-39
equiped most of the observation squadrons, with one squadron even being
permanently attached to the Romanian 1st Armored Division. It performed
a variety of functions, from short-range reconaissance and light bomber
to artillery spotter and courier plane. The aircraft saw service during
the entire WW2, with some 320 being built ( 100 by IAR and 225 by SET).
It was quite popular with its pilots who affectionately nicknamed it
"Mos Neata" ( "Old man Neata"). Thanks to its rugged
simplicity, the IAR-39 could take a lot of damage and still make it
back home ; its ability to operate virtually from anywhere it could
find a piece of flat ground and fly in the most adverse weather conditions
made it one of the most dependable plane in ARR's arsenal.
After the war, some IAR-39's remained in service as trainers or target
tugs until the late 1950's, when the survivors were scrapped and replaced
by other planes.
IAR-39 preparing for a reconnaissance mission on the east