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U.S. Air Force. Via Francillon (1979)
U.S. Army. Via ibiblio.org
Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIa Toryu ("Dragon Killer") "Nick"
|Dimensions||49’3” x 34’10” x
15.02m by 10.6m by 3.7m
||344 square feet
32 square meters
|Maximum speed||340 mph at 22,965 feet
547 km/h at 7000 meters
|Climb rate||44 feet per second
13.3 meters per second
|Service ceiling||35,200 feet
|Power plant||2 950 hp (708 kW) Nakajima
14-cylinder 2-row radial engines driving
constant-speed three-blade metal propellers
|Armament||2 12.7mm Type
1 machine guns in nose
1 20mm Ho-3 cannon in ventral tunnel
1 7.92 mm Type 98 flexible machine guns in rear cockpit
||2 200 liter (44 gallon) drop
tanks or two 250 kg (551 lb) bombs
|Production||1701 of all types by Kawasaki Kokuki Kogyo from September
The Ki-45 KAIb added a 37mm cannon
in the lower right fuselage and sometimes omitted the
The KAIc was a night fighter armed with an additional two 12.7mm dorsal machine guns fixed at a 30-degree angle and located between the two cockpits.
Few Japanese aircraft showed as much variation in armament.
The Ki-45 Toryu (Dragon Killer) or Army Type 2
Two-seat Fighter was
originally developed as
a long-range escort fighter, but development was plagued by problems
and "Nick" never served in this role.
It was used instead as a ground attack aircraft, at which it had some
success due to its heavy armament and well-protected fuel tanks. It
also saw service in New Guinea
against American PT boats, making it the
closest Japanese equivalent to the Beaufighter.
The aircraft was also successful at picking off patrolling B-24s.
The design originated with March 1937
specification for a heavy twin-engine fighter to match those under
development by other powers. Specifications were rather loose as no
agreement could be reached on which characteristics were most
important. Nakajima and Mitsubishi
dropped out of the competition but Kawasaki continued development of
its design until October 1937, when plans were temporarily shelved.
Development resumed in earnest two months later when the Army finally
issued a new and clearer specification. The design team under Doi Takeo
completed the prototype in January 1939. but tests were disappointing
as the design showed too much drag, had difficulties with the
undercarriage, and had teething problems with the engines. Performance
continued to be disappointing and the Army lost interest until April
1940, when the Army instructed Kawasaki to replace the Ha-20 engines
with Ha-25 engines. Doi also worked to simplify manufacture, and the
aircraft finally went into production in late 1941.
The aircraft was later used as a kamikaze
and as a night fighter. It
was moderately successful in the latter role against B-29s.
As a kamikaze, its chief merit was
its heavy weight, which gave it greater kinetic killing energy. An
attempt to install centimetric radar
on the night fighter version was unsuccessful, as was an attempt at an
antishipping version carrying a 75mm gun.
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