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Kawasaki Ki-45 "Toryu"
The Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu (??, "Dragon Slayer") was a two-seat, twin-engine
fighter used by the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II. The army gave it the
designation "Type 2 Two-Seat Fighter"; the Allied reporting name was "Nick".
In response to the rapid emergence in Europe of twin-engine heavy fighters such
as the Messerschmitt Bf 110, the army ordered development of a twin-engine,
two-seat fighter in 1937, and assigned the proposal by Kawasaki Shipbuilding the
designation of Ki-38. This only went as far as a mock up, but by December of
that year, the army ordered a working prototype as the Ki-45, which first flew
in January 1939. Results from the test flights, however, did not meet the army's
expectations. The Ha-20 Otsu engine was underpowered and failure-prone, while
the airframe suffered from nacelle stall.
The Ki-45 did not enter service, but the army, insistent on having a working
twin-engine fighter, ordered Kawasaki to continue development. Kawasaki
responded by replacing the engines with the proven Nakajima Ha-25. Flight tests
In October 1940, the army ordered continued improvements such as switching to
805 kW (1,080 hp) Mitsubishi Ha-102 engines. This craft, designated Ki-45 Kai,
was complete in September 1941 and was officially adopted for use by the army in
February 1942 as the "Type 2 Two-Seat Fighter".
The prototype of a single-seat fighter variant, the Ki-45 II, was also built;
development continued under the designation Ki-96.
Heavy fighter/night fighter
Kawasaki Kokuki Kogyo K.K.
Imperial Japanese Army Air Force
People's Liberation Army Air Force
The Ki-45 was initially used as a long-range bomber escort. The 84th Independent
Flight Wing (Dokuritsu Hiko Chutai) used them in June 1942 in attacks on Guilin,
where they encountered, but were no match for, Curtiss P-40s flown by the Flying
Tigers. In September of the same year, they met P-40s over Hanoi with similar
results. It became clear that the Ki-45 could not hold its own against
single-engine fighters in aerial combat.
It was subsequently deployed in several theaters in the roles of interception,
attack (anti-ground as well as anti-shipping) and fleet defense. Its greatest
strength turned out to be as an anti-bomber interceptor, as was the case with
the Bf 110 in Europe. In New Guinea, the IJAAF used the aircraft in an anti-ship
role, where the Ki-45 was heavily armed with one 37 mm (1.46 in) and two 20 mm
cannons and could carry two 250 kg (550 lb) bombs on hard points under the
wings. 1,675 Ki-45s of all versions were produced during the war.
The first production type (Ko) was armed with two 12.7 mm (.50 in) Ho-103
machine gun in the nose, a single Type 97 20 mm cannon in the belly offset to
the right, and a trainable 7.92 mm (.312 in) machine gun in the rear cabin; this
was followed by the Otsu with the lower 20 mm cannon replaced by a 37 mm (1.46
in) type 94 tank gun, to counter B-17 Flying Fortress bombers. While the
firepower was devastating, manual reloading meant that typically only two rounds
could be fired on each gunnery pass. The next type (Hei) restored the 20 mm
cannon, and this time placed an automatic 37 mm (1.46 in) gun in the nose. A
later addition in the "Tei" type were twin obliquely-firing 20 mm Ho-5 cannons
behind the cockpit, and often propulsive exhaust stacks.
The Ki-45 was to be replaced in the ground-attack role by the Ki-102, but was
not wholly supplanted by the war's end.
Three Ki-45s fell into communist Chinese hands after World War II. Unlike most
captured Japanese aircraft, which were employed in the training role, the three
Ki-45s were assigned to the 1st Squadron of the Combat Flying Group in March
1949 and were used in combat missions. These aircraft were retired in the early
Specifications (Ki-45 KAIc)
Length: 11.00 m (36 ft 1 in)
Wingspan: 15.02 m (49 ft 4 in)
Height: 3.70 m (12 ft 2 in)
Wing area: 32.0 m² (344 ft²)
Empty weight: 4,000 kg (8,820 lb)
Loaded weight: 5,500 kg (12,125 lb)
Powerplant: 2 × Mitsubishi Ha-102 14-cylinder radial engines, 783 kW (1,050 hp)
Maximum speed: 540 km/h (292 kn, 336 mph)
Range: 2,000 km (1,081 nmi, 1,243 mi)
Service ceiling: 10,000 m (32,800 ft)
Rate of climb: 11.7 m/s (2,300 ft/min)
Wing loading: 171.9 kg/m² (35 lb/ft²)
Power/mass: 0.26 kW/kg (0.16 hp/lb)
1 × 37 mm (1.46 in) Ho-203, 1 × 20 mm Ho-3, 1 × 7.92 mm (.312 in) flexible
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