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Japan's Imperial Army flag

Japan's Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu (Dragon Killer) fighter; Army Type 2
Allied code name: Nick

Photos

  • Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu night-fighter
  • Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu night-fighter

Design

In March 19375 / 1937 the Japanese Army issued a requirement for a two engine fighter.1,2,3,4,5

Specifications:

  • Speed: 340 mph at 10,000'3 , 335.5 mph / 540 kph at 11,480' / 3,500 m5
  • Operational Altitude: 6,500' to 16,250'3, 6,560' / 2,000 m to 16,505' / 5,000 m5
  • Cruising Range: 4 hours and 40 minutes at 217 mph5 / 350 kph5 / 220 mph3
  • Armament: Two forward firing and one rear firing machine guns5
  • Engines: Two Nakajima Ha-20b5

Mitsubishi and Nakajima also submitted designs as well, but the Nakajima was selected.3,5 Kawasaki submitted the Ki-38 which would later become the Ki-45.1,2,5

Takeo Doi / Isamu Imashi worked on a design, starting in January 19383, that would help with production.1,5 This lead to the Ki-45 Kai.1

Prototype

In January 1939 / 19394 a prototype with two Bristol Mercury engines was first flown.1,2 Later aircraft had the Nakajima Ha-25 radials installed.1,2,5

The prototype didn't meet specifications mostly due to the engines.3 In late 1939 test flights were stopped while Kawasaki rectified the problems.3,5 This modified design became the Ki-45 KAI, with KAI meaning "modified."3

Production

The Ki-45 KAI first flew in May 1941.2,3

  • Prototypes: 33,5, 141, 262
    • Nakajima Ki-37: 15
    • Kawasaki Ki-38: 15
    • Mitsubishi Ki-39: 15
    • Production: January - May 19395
    • Manufacturer: Kawasaki at Gifu5
  • Improved Type 1 Ki-45 Prototypes: 85
    • Production: July 1940 - February 19415
    • Manufacturer: Kawasaki at Gifu5
  • Ki-45 KAI Prototype: 35
    • Production: August - October 19415
    • Manufacturer: Kawasaki at Gifu5
  • Ki-45 KAI Pre Production: 121,3,5
    • Production: October - December 19415
    • Manufacturer: Kawasaki at Gifu5
  • Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIa:
    • Production: September 1941 - ?4
  • Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIa and Ki-45 KAIb: 3055
    • Production: January 1942 - September 19435
    • Manufacturer: Kawasaki at Gifu5
  • Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIa, Ki-45 KAIb, Ki-45 KAId: 8935, 1,1982
    • Production: September 1942 - July 19455
    • Manufacturer: Kawasaki at Akashi5
  • Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIc: 4771,2,5
    • Production: April - December 19445
    • Manufacturer: Kawasaki at Akashi5
  • Total: 1,7011,2,3,4
    • Manufacturer: Kawasaki Kokuki Kogyo K.K.3
    • Production: August 1941 - July 19453

Variants

  • Kawasaki Ki-45 Kai: Had straight tapered wings and fin.1 The cowlings on the engines were smooth.1 The wings, fuselage, and tail surfaces were altered.2 Fuel capacity was increased.2
  • Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIa: Heavy fighter.1,4 Reached units in August 1942.2,4
  • Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIb, Army Type 2 Two Seat Fighter Model B: Ground attack and anti shipping.1,2,4 Had 37 mm gun in ventral tunnel.2 A prototype had a 75 mm gun.4
  • Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIc: Night fighter.1,2,4 Introduced in 1944.1 Had a 37 mm gun in a ventral tunnel and two 20 mm cannons firing upwards.1,3
  • Kawasaki Ki-45 KAId: Anti shipping.1 Ground attack.2 Had 37 mm and two 20 mm cannons in nose.2 The oblique guns were removed.2

Usage

Units

  • Sentais: 4th, 5th, 13th, 16th, 21st, 27th, 45th, 53rd, 65th, 70th5
  • Dokuritsu Hiko Chutais: 25th, 71st5
  • Akeno Fighter Training School5

First Use in China

The Ki-45 first entered use in China in August 1942 with the 5th Sentai at Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture.1,5 The 16th Sentai / 21st Sentai5 first used it in action over Burma in October 1942.1,4

Night Fighter

Though the Ki-45 didn't have a radar it was successful at shooting down B-29s.2,5 One encounter resulted in eight B-29s being shot down.2,5

Kamikaze

A Ki-45 KAIb was used for the first time in a Kamikaze attack on a United States Navy sub chaser off Biak in May 1944.2

Specifications

  Kawasaki Ki-45
Engine (Type) 2: Nakajima Ha-255
Cylinders Radial 145
Cooling Air5
Net HP 1,050 each5
Propeller blades 3 blade metal constant speed5
Dimensions  
Span 47' 6.875"5
14.5 m5
Length 33' 7.9375"5
10.26 m5
Height 11' 8.5625"5
3.57 m5
Wing area 312.152 sq ft5
29 sq m5
Weight  
Empty 5,512 lb5
2,500 kg5
Loaded 8,267 lb5
3,750 kg5
Performance  
Speed at 13,125' / 4,000 m 298 mph5
480 kph5
Climb to 16,405' / 5,000 m 10 minutes 12 seconds5
Range 1,087 miles5
1,750 km5
Armament  
Nose 2: 7.7 mm Type 895
Cockpit - Rear 1: 7.7 mm Type 895
Ventral tunnel 1: 20 mm Ho-35
  Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIa
Type Fighter1,3, Fighter bomber1, Ground attack2, Night fighter2
Crew 21,2,3
Engine (Type) 2: Nakajima Ha-25 piston1,2,3,5
Cylinders Radial1, Radial 142,3,5
Cooling Air3,5
Net HP 1,050 each1,2,3,5
Propeller blades 31,2, 3 blade metal constant speed5
Dimensions  
Span 49' 3"3, 49' 3.25"1,2, 49' 3.3125"5
15.02 m1,2,5
Length 34' 9.25"1,2, 34' 3.3125"5, 34' 10"3
10.6 m1,2,5
Height 12' 1.6875"5, 12' 1.75"1,2, 12' 2"3
3.7 m1,2,5
Wing area 344.44 ft2 1,5
32 m2 1,5
Weight  
Empty 8,146 lb1,2,5
3,695 kg1,2,5
Loaded 11,600 lb3, 11,632 lb1,2,5
5,276 kg1,2,5
Performance  
Speed at 22,965' / 7,000 m 340 mph1,2,5
547 kph1,5
Climb to 16,405' / 5,000 m 6.3 minutes1, 6 minutes 17 seconds5
Service ceiling 35,200'1,3,5
10,730 m1,5
Range 1,404 miles1,3,5
2,260 km1,5
Armament 1: 20 mm3
3: MG3
Nose 2: 7.7 mm MG2
1: 20 mm4
2: 12.7 mm / 0.5" MG4,5
Ventral tunnel 2: 12.7 mm Type 91
1: 20 mm2
1: 20 mm Ho-31,5
Rear dorsal 1: 7.7 mm MG2
1: 7.92 mm MG4
1: 7.92 mm Type 981
1: 7.7 mm Type 895
Under Wing 2: Drop Tanks4
Or 2: 551 lb Bombs1,4, 1,100 lb3
2: 250 kg Bombs1,4
  Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIb
Type Ground attack2, Night fighter2
Crew 22
Engine (Type) 2: Mitsubishi Ha-1022,5
Cylinders Radial 142,5
Net HP 1,0505
Propeller blades 32
Armament  
Nose 1: 20 mm4
1: 20 mm Ho-35
Fuselage 1: 37 mm4
Cockpit - Rear 1: 7.92 mm MG4
1: 7.92 mm Type 985
Ventral tunnel 1: 37 mm2
1: 37 mm Type 985
Under Wing 2: Drop Tanks
Or 2: 551 lb Bombs4
2: 250 kg Bombs4
  Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIc
Type Ground attack2, Night fighter2,4
Crew 22,4
Engine (Type) 2: Mitsubishi Ha-1022,4,5
Cylinders Radial4, Radial 142
Cooling  
Net HP 1,0804
Propeller blades 32
Dimensions  
Span 49' 3.3125"5, 49' 4.5"4
15.02 m5, 15.05 m4
Length 36' 1.0625"5, 36' 1.1"4
11 m4,5
Height 12' 1.6875"5, 12' 1.7"4, 36' 1"2
3.7 m4,5, 11 m2
Wing area 344.444 sq ft5, 344.46 sq ft4
32 sq m4,5
Weight  
Empty 8,818 lb2,4,5
4,000 kg2,4,5
Loaded 12,125 lb2,4,5
5,500 kg2,4,5
Performance  
Speed at 19,685' / 6,000 m 335.5 mph5
540 kph5
Speed at 22,965' / 7,000 m 339 mph4, 340 mph2
545 kph4, 547 kph2
Climb 2,300'/minute2
700 m/minute2
Climb to 16,405' / 5,000 m 6 minutes 7 seconds4, 7 minutes5
Service ceiling 32,810'2,4,5
10,000 m2,4,5
Range 1,243 miles2,4,5
2,000 km2,4,5
Armament  
Ventral tunnel 1: 37 mm2
Rear dorsal 1: 7.92 mm MG2
Oblique dorsal 2: 20 mm2
Under Wing 2: Drop Tanks4
Or 2: 551 lb Bombs4
2: 250 kg Bombs4

Sources:

  1. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  2. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  3. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  4. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  5. Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, René J Francillon, 1970
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site