Every time I update about WarThunder I lament my lack of coverage on it. In truth, there is so much going on with that product that it is difficult for me to keep up. This update crosses between the world of War Thunder and IL-2 – I’ll try and explain!
Not many air forces around the world have, at any time, successfully fielded their own indigenous aircraft but the Romanian IAR80/81 was definitely one of those success stories. With a fuselage layout based on the Polish PLZ.24 and a 960hp engine based on the Gnome-Rhône 14K II Mistral Major, the IAR80 and 81 were well regarded in their flying characteristics with major production held up by armament availability issues.
A contemporary of the Bf109E and Hurricane Mark I, the IAR 80 and 81 had a top speed of 560 km/h at 7,000 m and was able to carry a 500KG bomb in the later IAR81c along with a quartet of Belgian FN 7.92mm light machine guns and a pair of German sourced MG151/20 cannons.
These aircraft served with distinction throughout World War II flying operations on the eastern front and in the skies over Romania defending against both Russian tactical aircraft and American strategic bombers. They lasted up until May 1945 despite their overall performance deficit versus more advanced aircraft.
War Thunder inclusion
Third party model builder NovA29R has previously completed work on the Premium Ta-154 twin engine Focke Wulf heavy fighter. He now has devoted his attention to finishing an IAR80/81 model for use in War Thunder and his work is impressive to say the least.
The model appears to be up to the standards of some of the most recently updated or newly added aircraft as War Thunder pushes the graphical limits of its engine while maintaining some impressively high frame rates.
No doubt, War Thunder fans who buy into Premium aircraft will be awaiting this spunky fighter. It’s should be a fun addition to that series!
And what about IL-2?
I was clued into all of this great work through a thread on the IL-2 discussion forums. A sizable number of users over the last few years have often talked about adding an IAR80/81 into the series and I suspect it would be a welcome addition. A poll in 2013 saw the IAR80/81 narrowly lose out to the MC.202 in a vote for a “Non-German fighter.”
These would primarily be used for the Stalingrad campaign but their time period inclusion ranges from the first day of the war to the last and could be potentially available in future products. Though a-historical, it wouldn’t be entirely out of place to see Romanian aircraft in the skies over Kuban and I’m sure few would complain about an IAR81.
Will we see one in the IL-2 series? Its a challenging question. Based on prior comments from the team including Jason Williams, we know that they would like to add this aircraft in as a Collector Plane (IMHO, an excellent choice for a Collector Plane) but there were also big requests for the Bf109G-6 and La-5F and there will be very limited time between the launch of IL-2: Battle of Kuban and the beginning of the development for Battle of Midway. We shall see!
Update (January 27, 2017): Jason Williams took the forums to tell us that the IAR wouldn’t be possible in the current schedule:
The IAR-80/81 is not possible in the current plan. We’ve already stated this. We’d like it, but no resources to make it.
So, while it seems unlikely to get this interesting aircraft any time soon, we can still hope and dream!