Designation: Ki-115

Nakajima Ki-115

Nakajima Ki-115 Tsurugi

A picture of the Nakajima Ki-115 Tsurugi

In August 1944, the leadership of the Japanese military made the decision to begin organized aerial suicide attacks against Allied naval forces.  Most of these attacks would be made using normal combat aircraft but the Japanese leaders realized that there were not nearly enough aircraft to fend off the Allies.  The Ki-115 Tsurugi, which translates as sword or saber, was the Army’s answer to that problem.  It was designed to be easy for relatively unskilled workers to build and to use a minimum of strategic materials.  Much of the structure was made of wood, and the fuselage skin is thin steel.  To save weight and eliminate the need for retractable landing gear the entire landing gear structure was dropped from the aircraft after take-off.  Several different engines could be fitted depending on what was available.  However, the Nakajima Ha-35 engine was the only one actually used.  During testing the aircraft proved to be very difficult to fly, especially for the all but untrained pilots who were supposed to take it into combat.  Over 100 aircraft were built between May and August 1945 but none were used operationally. 

Wingspan 28 ft 2 in.

Wingspan

Length 28 ft

Length

Height 10 ft 10 in.

Height

Weight 5,688 pounds (loaded)

Weight

Max. Speed 342 MPH

Maximum Speed

Service Ceiling 21,325 feet

Service Ceiling

Range 746 miles

Range

Engines One Nakajima Ha-35 radial with 1,130 horsepower

Engine

Crew 1

Crew


Manufacturer
Nakajima

Markings
Imperial Japanese Army Air Force, 1945

Designation
Ki-115

Serial Number
1002

Nakajima Ki-43

Nakajima Ki-43-IIb Hayabusa (Oscar)

A picture of the Nakajima Ki-43-IIb Hayabusa

As with the Japanese Navy’s A6M Zero fighter the Army’s Ki-43 Hayabusa or Peregrine Falcon came as a shock to American and British pilots when war broke out in the Pacific in 1941.  The low wing, all metal monoplane fighter was more maneuverable and faster than most of the fighters available to the Allies at the beginning of the war.  Development of the aircraft began in 1937 and it entered service in late 1941.  During the war the Allies used a code name reporting system for identifying Japanese aircraft.  Under this system the Ki-43 was named “Oscar.”  The Ki-43-II version of the aircraft introduced several improvements to the aircraft.  The most significant of these was the addition of armor to the cockpit and self-sealing fuel tanks.  All the versions of the Hayabusa were under armed mounting only two machine guns in the nose of the aircraft.  By late 1943 the Ki-43 was outclassed by many of the fighters being put into service by the Allies.  Despite this it remained in production and service until the end of the war.

Wingspan 35 ft 6 in.

Wingspan

Length 29 ft 3 in.

Length

Height 10 ft 8 in.

Height

Weight 5,710 lbs (loaded)

Weight

Max. Speed 329 MPH

Maximum Speed

Service Ceiling 36,750 ft

Service Ceiling

Range 1,095 miles

Range

Engines One Nakajima Ha-115 radial with 1,150 horsepower

Engine

Crew 1

Crew


Manufacturer
Nakajima

Markings
Imperial Japanese Army Air Force 63rd Sentai, Hollandia, New Guinea, 1944

Designation
Ki-43-IIb

Serial Number
6430

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