Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa Fighter Plane,Japan

Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa Fighter Plane Technical Specifications

  • Crew – 1 person
  • Engine-Nakajima Ha. 115
  • Power – 1150 hp
  • Wingspan-10.84 m
  • The wing area is 21.4 sq. m
  • Empty aircraft weight – 1910 kg
  • Maximum take-off weight-2925 kg
  • Maximum speed – 530 km / h
  • Practical ceiling – 11,200 m
  • Maximum range-3,200 km
  • Armament: 2 x 12.7 mm Ho. 103 Type 1 machine guns
  • The maximum bomb load is 500 kg.

Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa Fighter Plane Details

By the beginning of World War II, the Nakajima Ki. 43 Hayabusa fighter was one of the most modern Japanese aircraft.

In 1937, the Japanese aviation company Nakajima Hikoki received an order from the Air Force Command to create a new single-seat fighter, the maximum speed of which was to be up to 500 km/h; the climb time of 5000 m was no more than 5 minutes, and the flight range was 800 km. Development of the Hayabusa (Peregrine Falcon) light fighter project began in the same year under the guidance of a leading engineer of the company X. Itokawa and designer T. Koyama. The fighter was originally designed for the new 14-cylinder Nakajima Ha air-cooled engine. 25. The Hayabusa aircraft was a single-seat low-wing multirole fighter of all-metal construction with an all-in-one three-spar wing, with fabric covering of the steering surfaces, with a closed cabin and hydraulically retractable landing gear struts. The total capacity of the four wing tanks was 564 liters, one of the innovations of this aircraft was the ability to suspend an additional fuel tank, which significantly increased the flight range. The fighter’s armament consisted of two synchronous 7.7-mm Type 89 aircraft machine guns, although even then this was clearly not enough. The entire design of the aircraft was made extremely light to ensure high maneuverability, and the cross – section of its fuselage was reduced to improve aerodynamics. A new all-round viewing light was installed on the aircraft. The prototype made its first flight in November 1939. After a series of improvements, in September 1940, the Nakajima Hikoki company launched this aircraft into mass production, although it was officially adopted by the Japanese Air Force only on January 9, 1941 under the designation “Ki. 43-I-Otsu” (Army Type 1 fighter model I-Otsu). In it, Japanese aircraft manufacturers have tried to combine all the innovations introduced on previous machines: including a two-bladed metal propeller of variable pitch; a new Xa.105 engine and a butterfly combat flap, which, by lowering the speed of the engine, can be used as a guide.yas with a turn, provided the fighter with high maneuverability. In addition, the weakness of the armament immediately made changes to the design of the aircraft, as a result of which, at the same time, its second version “Ki.43-I-Otsu” appeared, where one of the two 7.7-mm machine guns was replaced by a 12.7-mm large-caliber machine gun Ho.103 type 1. The situation with the supply of weapons from the Japanese military industry did not allow to put two large-caliber machine guns on the fighter at once. Production of the Ki fighter.43 “Hayabusa” in two versions Ki. 43-I-Ko and Ki. 43-Otsu was mastered by the plant of the company “Nakajima Hikoki “(Ota).

Deliveries of the new fighter to combat units began in June 1941, and in August the 59th and 64th Hikosentai (aviation regiments) received it. Already in early December of the same year, Ki.43-I-Ko fighters supported the landings of Japanese troops in Malaya and Thailand, covering groups of Ki.21 bombers, and were also actively used in combat operations in Burma, the Philippines and other Far Eastern theaters of operations. Despite the fact that by the end of 1941, compared to enemy fighters, it was clearly an outdated machine, which in terms of speed (495 km / h) and armament (2x 7.7 mm machine guns or 1×12.7 mm and 1×7. 7 mm machine guns) was much inferior to the American P-40 fighter and the British Spitfire and Hurricane,the initial success of the Hayabusa was impressive. So, Major Y. Kuroyo from the 64th Hikosentai (aviation regiment) won 22 aerial victories on it, and Senior Sergeant S. Anabuki from the 50th Hikosentai (aviation Regiment) won 30 victories in 173 combat missions during 18 months. Moreover, S. Anabuki on October 8, 1943, in an air battle on a Ki.43-I-Ko fighter, shot down two American B-24 bombers, and after using up ammunition, rammed a third car, and then he managed to make an emergency landing on the shore of the Gulf of Burma. In total, about 40 Japanese army aviation pilots scored 10 or more victories on the Hayabusa .

In 1942, Japanese aircraft manufacturers mastered the production of the third “intermediate” modification of the Ki.43-I-Hoi fighter, which received two 12.7-mm heavy machine guns No. 103 and the possibility of external suspension of two aerial bombs weighing 15 kg each. However, as soon as the Allies studied the weaknesses of the Japanese Ki.43-I after their first defeats, the situation immediately changed – Japanese fighters began to suffer more and more losses. Production of the Ki.43-I aircraft was discontinued in February 1943. In total, 716 aircraft of this type were manufactured by this time.

A worthy response from the Japanese was the creation of an improved Ki.43-IIa fighter-bomber with a more powerful 14-cylinder Xa.115 air-cooled engine with a two-speed supercharger. With a three-bladed automatic propeller, the power of this engine reached 1,150 hp at takeoff and 980 hp at an altitude of 6000 m. In addition, the aircraft of this modification had a reinforced wing, which made it possible to hang two 250-kg aerial bombs or additional 200-liter dropable fuel tanks under the wings. At the same time, the engine hood was lengthened; the supercharger air intake was moved to the lower plane of the hood, and the pilot’s landing was made higher. For the first time in Japanese fighters, the pilot received armor protection from a 13-mm headrest and armor plate, and primitive protection of fuel tanks with sheet rubber was also carried out. Armament of this aircraft also consisted of two 12.7-mm heavy machine guns No. 103 type 1.The first flight of the Ki. 43-II fighter was made in February 1942. After successful testing, it was put into production in November at the Nakajima plant in Tokyo. Ote under the designation “Ki. 43-II-Ko”. At the same time, its production was mastered by two enterprises in the city of Tachikawa: the First Arsenal of Army Aviation and the plant of the company “Tachikawa Hikoki K. K.”, but in November 1943, the production of Hayabusa aircraft by the First Arsenal was discontinued after the release of only 49 cars. In the same year, another new version of the aircraft, the Ki.43 – II-Otsu, also entered the series. It received an aerodynamically improved supercharger air intake; the new oil radiator, and the suspension points of the bombs in this aircraft had to be removed from the landing gear, since in combat conditions its predecessors repeatedly noted cases of aerial bombs hitting the propeller when they were dropped during a dive. And in the fall of 1943, a third version of the Hayabusa appeared – the Ki.43-II KAI fighter, which was distinguished by an additional air intake with ejector exhaust pipes (instead of the previously used common manifold) and a number of other design improvements.

During 1943, the production of Hayabusa fighters increased dramatically: the Nakajima plant reached a rate of 135 aircraft per month, and the Tachikawa Hikoki K. K. company delivered another 300 aircraft by the end of this year. By this time, the Hayabusa had become the most massive fighter of the Japanese Army, which fought heavy defensive battles, and Ki aircraft.43 in all variants were widely used on all fronts.

In May 1944, work began in Japan on a pilot batch of 10 Ki. 43-IIIa vehicles with a. 115-II engine with a take-off power of 1,190 hp and 1,230 hp at an altitude of 2,800 m, which allowed to reach speeds of 576 km/h at an altitude of 6,680 m. The altitude of 3000 m was reached by this aircraft in 3.4 minutes, and 6000 m – in 7.4 minutes. Otherwise, this fighter was similar to the Ki. 43-II KAI, while retaining the armament of only two 12.7-mm aviation machine guns. In 1944, the aircraft of this model in small numbers entered the Japanese army. Serial production of the Ki.43-III fighters continued until the end of the war at the Tachikawa Hikoki K. K. plant, and the Nakajima company stopped producing the Hayabusa in the summer of 1944, replacing it with the more advanced Ki.84 Hayate.

Among other Japanese fighters of the Second World War period, the Ki. 43 Hayabusa was distinguished by its excellent maneuverability. Very light, poorly armed and with a small wing load, this fighter was actually a transitional type from biplanes to high-speed monoplanes with powerful weapons. Therefore, attempts during the Second World War to improve its flight characteristics were unsuccessful – all further development reserves had already been exhausted by that time. However, Ki.43 until the very end of World War II, it remained the most massive fighter of the Japanese Army Air Force, and the Japanese actively used a certain number of these aircraft during the Soviet-Japanese war of 1945 to protect from the air their defensive structures around the Kataoka Naval base (Baykovo, Shumshu Island).

In total, in 1941-1945, 5917 Hayabusa fighters of all models were produced, including 2629 pieces assembled by Tachikawa Hikoki K. K. and 49 pieces – the First arsenal of Army Aviation.

A model of the Japanese fighter Nakajima Ki is on display at the open area of weapons and military equipment of the Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War.43 “Hayabusa”, which used authentic fragments (wing; air three-bladed propeller and 14-cylinder star-shaped engine) discovered in 1990 during the expedition of the newspaper “Air Transport” under the leadership of E. L. Konoplev on the island of Shumshu (Kuril Islands). For their delivery to the museum from the Far East to Moscow on the instructions of the General Designer of the O. A. Antonov Design Bureau L. V. Balabuev was allocated an AN-12 transport aircraft. Restoration work on the restoration of the aircraft was carried out by LLC “Aviation and Restoration Group”.

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