This is the last combat plane that the Japanese army put into the field in World War II. In the few months that the aircraft was operational, it proved to be one of the finest high-altitude interceptors. But the Kawasaki Ki-100 was not an original design. It was derived directly from the last models of the Ki-61 Hein fighter, sharing the same wings and with a modified fuselage. In the later stages of the war, the Japanese desperately needed a fighter-interceptor that could combat the American B-29 bombers. The Ki-61 Hein, while a good fighter, was still plagued by the unreliability of its liquid-cooled engine. By late 1944 the production of Ki-61 bodies had far outstripped engine availability. So in November 1944 it was decided to use the Ki-61-II Kai bodies with another engine (the 1,500-h.p. Mitsubishi Ha-112-II radial). The diameter of this air-cooled engine was small enough to be adapted to the slender fuselage of the Hein. After overcoming a number of technical problems in the redesign, the new fighter made its first flight on February 1, 1945. The Ki-100's performance was not much different from that of its predecessor, but with the unreliability issues addressed, the Ki-100 proved to be fine in combat and could stand up to enemy fighters and bombers. In the hands of a skilled pilot the Ki-100 was a very formidable opponent, but by this point in the war there were very few skilled veteran pilots left in the JAAF. An improved version of the Ki-100 (known as the Ki-100-II) was planned for production in September 1945, but the war ended with only three Ki-100-II prototypes having been completed.
Type: Fighter Service: Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) Crew: Pilot Armament: two 12.7mm Type 1 (Ho-103) machine guns in nose two 12.7mm Type 1 (Ho-103) machine guns in wings (later models included 20mm and 30mm cannons) Reference: Francillon: 129, Mondey: Specifications: Length: 28' 11.25" (8.82 m) Height: 12' 3.6" (3.75 m) Wingspan: 39' 4.5" (12 m) Wing area: 215.278 sq. ft (20 sq. m) Empty Weight: 5567 lbs (2525 kg) Loaded Weight: 7705 lbs (3495 kg) Propulsion: No. of Engines: 1 Powerplant: Mitsubishi [Ha-33] 62 14-cyclinder radial engine Horsepower: 1500 hp Performance: Range (normal): 870 miles (1400 km) Range (max): 1367 miles (2200 km) Cruise Speed: 249 mph (400 km/h) at 13,125 ft Max Speed: 360 mph (580 km/h) at 19,685 ft Climb to/in: 16,405 ft (5000 m) in 6 min 0 sec Ceiling: 36,090 ft (11,000 m)
Production: approximately 396 Ki-100s total
Additional information on this aircraft can be found at Wikipedia
For several very nice scale color drawings of this aircraft, see here (4 versions available on left).
Additional color schemes for this aircraft can be found here.
(go to Kawasaki page)
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