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Japan's Imperial Navy flag

Japan's Kyushu J7W Shinden (magnificent thunderbolt) fighter

Design

The J7W Shinden was a very unique fighter for World War II as it was the only one that was a canard type aircraft with the horizontal tail in front.1

The design was originally conceived by Captain Masaoki Tsuruno in 1943.1 His design was seen by the Dai-Ichi Kaigun Koku Gijitsusho (First Technical Arsenal of Naval Aviation) who then got involved with it.1

Glider Tests

A glider was built to test the aerodynamics of the canard design.1 After these tests were conducted Kyushu Hikoki K.K. was asked to manufactured the plane based on the designs.1

Landing Gear

The tricycle landing gear was completely retractable.1

Engine

The engine was completely enclosed in the rear of the fuselage and there were vents in the side to provide cooling.1

Prototype

A MXY6 glider was first tested in late 1943.1

It took from June 1943 to April 1944 to make the first prototype.1 The only flight done by a J7W prototype was on August 3, 1945.1

Production

Nakajima and Kyushu were to slated to build the aircraft at a rate of 150 per month but the war situation prevented construction going forward.1

  • MXY6: 31
  • Prototype aircraft: 21
  • Manufacturer: Kyushu Hikoki K.K.1

Variants

  • MXY6: Prototype gliders.1
  • Kyushu J7W:

Specifications

  Kyushu J7W1 Shinden1
Type Fighter1
Crew 11
Engine (Type) Mitsubishi MK9D1
Cylinders Radial 181
Cooling Air1
Net HP 2,1301
Propeller blades 61
Dimensions  
Span 36' 5"1
Length 31' 8"1
Height 12' 10"1
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded 10,854 lb1
Performance  
Speed @ 28,545' 466 mph1
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling 39,370'1
Range 529 miles1
Armament  
Nose 4: 30 mm1
Bombs 264 lb1

Sources:

  1. World War II Airplanes Volume 2, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site