Not long after having designed the famous Ki-43 "Oscar", the Nakajima team created the Ki-44 design to meet a specification for a new interceptor fighter whose prime qualities were a high rate of climb and overall speed (as opposed to the Oscar, whose main focus was on maneuverability). The Ki-44 Shoki (Devil-Queller) first flew in August of 1940, going into production later that year. It was given the Allied codename of "Tojo", and it was fairly easy to recognize by the shape of its wings. While more powerful engines and armament were introduced to the different versions that were produced until late 1944, the Shoki was not popular with the pilots due to its high landing speeds and limited maneuverability. Most of the Ki-44s were deployed in the defense of Japan, and later versions did gain respect in the interceptor role against American heavy bombers in the last year of the war.
Type: Interceptor fighter Service: Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) Crew: Pilot Armament: two fuselage-mounted 12.7mm Type 1 machine guns two wing-mounted 12.7mm Type 1 machine guns Reference: Francillon: 222, Mondey: 224 Specifications: Length: 28' 10" (8.785 m) Height: 10' 8" (3.25 m) Wingspan: 31' 0" (9.45 m) Wing area: 161.458 sq. ft (15 sq. m) Empty Weight: 4643 lbs (2106 kg) Loaded Weight: 6094 lbs (2764 kg) Max Weight: 6598 lbs (2993 kg) Propulsion: No. of Engines: 1 Powerplant: Nakajima Ha-109 Type 4 14-cylinder radial Horsepower: 1450 hp (1520 hp at takeoff) Performance: Range (normal): 805 miles (1296 km) Range (max): 1056 miles (1700 km) Cruise Speed: 249 mph (400 km/h) at 13,125 ft (4000 m) Max Speed: 376 mph (605 km/h) at 17,060 ft (5200 m) Climb to/in: 16,405 ft (5000 m) in 4 min 17 sec Ceiling: 36,745 ft (11,200 m)
Production: approximately 1225 Ki-44s total
Additional information on this aircraft can be found at Wikipedia HERE.
For several very nice scale color drawings of this aircraft, see here (8 versions available on left).
Additional color schemes for this aircraft can be found here.
(go to Nakajima page)
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