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Japan's Imperial Army flag

Japan's Nakajima Ki-44 Shoki (devil queller, demon) fighter; Army Type 2
Allied code name: Tojo

Photos

Nakajima Ki-44 Shoki, "Tojo" fighter:
Japan's Nakajima Ki-44 Shoki, "Tojo"  fighter

Design

The Nakajima Ki-44 was designed for speed and rate of climb. Most Japanese Imperial Army fighters were designed for manouverability. Because of this it was initially unpopular with pilots.

Updates

The Nakajima Ki-44 was based on the Ki-43 Hayabusa but had maneuvering flaps.

Prototype

The Ki-44 prototype was first flown in August 1940. It was found that aerodynamic modifications were need to get the Ki-44 to perform up to expectations. The Ki-44 was tested against a Kawasaki Ki-60 prototype and a Messerschmitt Bf 109E and was found to perform well enough to be put into production.

The Ki-44-II prototype first flew in August 1942.

The Ki-44-III prototype first flew in June 1943.

Production

The pre production model was first delivered in 1941. The Ki-44-I production model started delivery in January 1942.

  • Nakajima Ki-44 prototypes and pre production: 10
  • Nakajima Ki-44-I: 40
  • Nakajima Ki-44-II and Nakajima Ki-44-III: 1,175
  • Total: 1,225
    • Manufacturer: Nakajima Hikoki K.K.
    • Production: 1942 - 1944, ? - December 1944

Variants

  • Nakajima Ki-44 prototype: Had Nakajima Ha-41 radial engine (1,250 HP). Had two 7.7 mm and two 12.7 mm machine guns.
  • Nakajima Ki-44 pre production: Modified canopy. Rudder was modified. Under wing drop tanks were installed.
  • Nakajima Ki-44-I: Production.
  • Nakajima Ki-44-Ia:
  • Nakajima Ki-44-Ib: Four 12.7 mm machine guns.
  • Nakajima Ki-44-Ic:
  • Nakajima Ki-44-II: More powerful engine. The pilot received more armor. The fuel tanks had added protection.
  • Nakajima Ki-44-IIa:
  • Nakajima Ki-44-IIb:
  • Nakajima Ki-44-IIc: Had 20 mm, 37 mm, and 40 mm cannons installed.
  • Nakajima Ki-44-III: Had Nakajima Ha-145 radial 18 engine installed (2,000 HP). Tail surfaces were larger. Wings were larger.

Usage

The Ki-44s were deployed primarily to the home islands, but some were located in Sumatra protecting the oil fields at Palembang.

Accidents

Due to a high wing load, a high landing speed, and difficult handling the Ki-44 did some many accidents. Snap rolls, spins, and stalls were forbidden to be done in the Ki-44.

China Burma India Theater

The Ki-44 was first used in combat in the China Burma India theater. It later defended the oil fields at Palembang.

Crashing Into Bombers

In November 1944 a special unit was formed in Japan, using volunteers, that would crash their Ki-44s into B-29s.

Specifications

  Nakajima Ki-44 Shoki
Type Fighter bomber
Crew 1
Engine (Type)  
Cylinders  
Cooling  
Net HP  
Propeller blades 3
Dimensions  
Span 31'
9.45 m
Length 28' 10"
8.79 m
Height 10' 8"
3.25 m
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Maximum load  
Performance  
Speed  
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
  Nakajima Ki-44-Ia Shoki
Type  
Crew  
Engine (Type)  
Cylinders  
Cooling  
Net HP  
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span  
Length  
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 4,286 lb
1,944 kg
Loaded  
Maximum load 6,363 lb
2,886 kg
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 12,140' /
3,700 m
360 mph
579 kph
Cruising speed  
Climb to 16,405' /
5,000 m
5.9 minutes
Service ceiling 35,500'
10,820 m
Range 575 - 1,070 miles
925 - 1,722 km
Armament  
Nose 2: 7.7 mm MG
Wings 2: 12.7 mm MG
  Nakajima Ki-44-Ib Shoki
Type  
Crew  
Engine (Type)  
Cylinders  
Cooling  
Net HP  
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span  
Length  
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Maximum load  
Performance  
Speed  
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament 4: 12.7 mm MG
  Nakajima Ki-44-Ic Shoki
Type  
Crew  
Engine (Type)  
Cylinders  
Cooling  
Net HP  
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span  
Length  
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Maximum load  
Performance  
Speed  
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament 4: 12.7 mm MG
  Nakajima Ki-44-II Shoki
Type  
Crew  
Engine (Type) Nakajima Ha-109
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling  
Net HP 1,520
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span  
Length  
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Maximum load  
Performance  
Speed  
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
  Nakajima Ki-44-IIa Shoki
Type  
Crew  
Engine (Type)  
Cylinders  
Cooling  
Net HP  
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span  
Length  
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Maximum load  
Performance  
Speed  
Cruising speed  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
Nose 2: 7.7 mm MG
Wings 2: 12.7 mm MG
  Nakajima Ki-44-IIb Shoki
Type Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Nakajima Ha-109
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,520
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span 31'
9.45 m
Length 28' 10", 28' 10.1"
8.79 m
Height 10' 8"
3.25 m
Wing area 161.46 ft2
15 m2
Weight  
Empty 4,643 lb
2,106 kg
Loaded  
Maximum load 6,598 lb
2,993 kg
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 12,140' /
3,700 m
376 mph
605 kph
Speed @ 17,060' /
5,200 m
376 mph
605 kph
Cruising speed  
Climb to 16,505' /
5,000 m
4.28 minutes
Climb to 16,405' /
5,000 m
4' 17", 4.3 minutes
Service ceiling 36,745'
11,200 m
Range 805 - 1,056 miles, 1,056 miles
1,295 - 1,700 km, 1,700 km
Armament 4: MG
4: 12.7 mm MG
Nose 2: 12.7 mm Ho-103 MG
Wings 2: 12.7 mm Ho-103 MG
  Nakajima Ki-44-IIc Shoki
Type  
Crew  
Engine (Type)  
Cylinders  
Cooling  
Net HP  
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span  
Length  
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Maximum load  
Performance  
Speed  
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
Nose 2: 20 mm
OR 2: 12.7 mm MG
Wings 2: 20 mm
OR 2: 37 mm
OR 2: 40 mm
Bombs 2: 220 lb
2: 100 kg

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  2. World War II Airplanes Volume 2, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  3. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site