Entering the Italian Royal Air Force contest to design a new fighter with a radial engine and large-caliber armament was a new experience for Reggiane. This Italian engineering company had previously only worked on large bombers. However, engineers Roberto Longhi and Antonio Alessio were confident that they could bring something new to the table. The construction of the monoplane fighter they designed for the contest was made from aluminum alloy and inspired by the American Seversky P-35 project. The Re.2000, as its creators called it, underwent extensive testing at the end of the summer in 1939. The fighter demonstrated superb flight and speed qualities compared to the other contest entries. When pitted against the Bf 109 E, the landmark German fighter of its time, the Re.2000 proved more maneuverable. Surprisingly, the metal monoplane even outflew the agile Fiat CR.42 biplane in testing! However, the Re.2000 ultimately lost the contest for serial production for the Italian air force – testing revealed leakage problems in the fuel tanks. Foreign customers expressed keen interest in the aircraft – the British ordered 300 units for the RAF (of course, the order was canceled when Italy joined the war), and Finland, Yugoslavia, Switzerland, and Portugal were also interested. Sweden purchased 60 units of the model and Hungary purchased 70 units and a production license (the Hungarian versions were given the designation “Héja”). The design of the first Re.2000 fighter series was the basis for future developments at Reggiane, being more successful than its ill-fated predecessor.