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Japan's Imperial Army flag

Japan's Kawasaki Ki-108 high altitude fighter

Design

An operational requirement for a high altitude fighter, with a pressurized cabin, was put forth in April 1943. Takeo Doi decided that the fighter could be developed from the Ki-96.

Prototype

In early 1944 the 7th and 8th Ki-102b airframes had their tail surfaces modified and a pressurized cabin installed. These were finished in July - August 1944.

Flight tests were impeded by air raids and technical issues with the superchargers.

During one test flight at 32,810' / 10,000 m the entrance door blew in and the pilot had to rapidly descend.

Production

  • Prototypes: 4
    • Ki-108: 2 converted Ki-102b airframes
    • Ki-108 KAI: 2
      • Production: July 1944 - May 1945
      • Manufacturer: Kawasaki Kokuki Kogyo K.K. at Gifu

Specifications

  Ki-108
Type High altitude fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) 2: Mitsubishi Ha-112 II Ru
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,500 each
Propeller blades 3 metal
Dimensions  
Span 51' 4 15/16"
15.67 m
Length 38' 5"
11.71 m
Height 12' 1 21/32"
3.7 m
Wing area 365.972 sq ft
34 sq m
Weight  
Empty 11,684 lb
5,300 kg
Loaded 15,873 lb
7,200 kg
Performance  
Speed at 32,810' / 10,000 m 360 mph
580 kph
Service ceiling 44,290'
13,500 m
Range 1,118 miles
1,800 km
Armament  
Nose 1: 37 mm Ho-203
Under Fuselage 2: 20 mm Ho-5
  Ki-108 KAI
Type High altitude fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) 2: Mitsubishi Ha-112 II Ru
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,500 each
Propeller blades 3 metal
Dimensions  
Span 56' 11 1/16"
17.35 m
Length 42' 9 25/32"
13.05 m
Height 12' 1 21/32"
3.7 m
Wing area 430.555 sq ft
40 sq m
Weight  
Empty 11,464 lb
5,200 kg
Loaded 16,755 lb
7,600 kg
Performance  
Speed at 11,485' / 3,500 m 373 mph
600 kph
Service ceiling 44,290'
13,500 m
Range 1,367 miles
2,200 km
Armament  
Nose 1: 37 mm Ho-203
Under Fuselage 2: 20 mm Ho-5

Sources:

  1. Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, René J Francillon, 1970
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site