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Japan's Kawanishi N1K1 Kyofu (mighty wind) fighter floatplane
Allied code name: Rex

Photos

  • Kawanishi N1K1 Kyofu floatplane

 

Design

The Kawanishi N1K1 was designed to meet a Japanese Navy specification for a single seat floatplane fighter that was put forward in September 1940. The specification was to produce a plane that would be in forward areas protecting assault forces. The design team was Toshirhara Baba, Shizuo Kikuhara, Hiroyuki Inoue, and Elizaburo Adachi.

The N1K1 had excellent performance despite its main float and outrigger floats.

Construction

The construction of the N1K1 was of all metal with control surfaces with fabric.

Engine

The first N1K1 prototype had a contra-rotating propeller but gearbox problems caused it to be replaced by a conventional propeller starting with the second prototype.

Floats

The prototypes had retractable outrigger floats but this was abandoned due to difficulties and fixed floats were used. The central float was attached by an I-strut and a V-strut.

Prototype

The prototype was initially known as the K-20.

The prototype for the N1K1 first flew on May 6, 1942. It was found that the contra-rotating propeller gear caused problems and were replaced by a regular three blade propeller.

Preseries aircraft were testing in early 1943. In the spring of 1943 the N1K1 was approved for production.

Production

  • Prototypes: 2, 8
    • May 1942 - July 1943
  • Preseries: 6
  • Kawanishi N1K1: 89
    • July 1943 - March 1944
  • Total: 97
    • Manufacturer: Kawanishi Kokuki K.K. at Naruo
    • Production; July 1943 - March 1944

Variants

  • Prototype: Was powered by Mitsubishi MK4D Kasei 14 radial engine (1,460 HP). Used counter rotating two blade propeller.
  • Navy Fighter Seaplane Kyofu Model 11, Kawanishi N1K1:
  • Kawanishi N1K2: Design only. Was to have Mitsubishi MK4R Kasei 23 (1,900 HP) engine.

Usage

By July 1943 when the N1K1 started entering service, Japan was on the defensive the efforts were switched to the N1K Shiden.

Unit

  • Kokutai: Otsu

Specifications

  Kawanishi N1K1 Kyofu
Type Fighter, Fighter floatplane
Crew 1
Engine (Type) - Early Production Mitsubishi Kasei
Mitsubishi MK4C Kasei 13
Late Production Mitsubishi MK4E Kasei 15
Cylinders Radial 14
13: Radial 14
15: Radial 14
Cooling Air
13: Air
15: Air
Net HP 1,550
13: 1,460
15: 1,530
Propeller blades 13: 3 metal
15: 3 metal
Dimensions  
Span 39' 4", 39' 4.4375", 39' 4.5"
12 m
Length 34' 8.875", 34' 9", 35' 4"
10.589 m, 10.59 m, 10.8 m
Height 15' 7"
4.75 m
Wing area 252.951 sq ft
23.5 sq m
Weight  
Empty 6,067 lb
2,752 kg
Normal load 7,716 lb
3,500 kg
Maximum load 8,183 lb, 8,184 lb
3,712 kg
Performance  
Speed at 18,700' / 5,700 m 304 mph
489 kph
Cruising speed at 6,560' / 2,000 m 230 mph
370 kph
Climb to 16,405' / 5,000 m 5.5 minutes, 5 minutes 32 seconds
Service ceiling 34,645'
10,560 m
Range 656 miles, 1,036 miles
1,056 km
Maximum range 1,036 miles
1,667 km
Armament 2: 20 mm
2: MG
Nose 2: 7.7 mm MG, 7.7 mm Type 97 MG
Wings 2: 20 mm,
Bombs 132 lb
2: 66 lb
2: 30 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
  4. Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, René J Francillon, 1970
  5. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Bill Gunston, 1989
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site