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Ki-100 “Tony”, Japanese Fighter


Photograph of surviving Ki-100 "Tony" fighter
Wikimedia Commons


Kawasaki Ki-100-Ia “Tony”


Specifications:


Crew 1
Dimensions 29’4” x 28’11” x 12’2”
12m by 8.82m by 3.75m
Wing area 215 square feet
20 square meters
Weights 5567-7705 lbs
2525-3495 kg
Maximum speed       360 mph (579 km/h) at 19,685 feet (6000 meters)
332 mph (535 km/h) at 32,810 feet (10000 meters)
Cruise speed 249 mph at 13,125 feet
400 km/h at 4000 meters
Climb rate 46 feet per second
14.0 meters per second
Service ceiling 36,090 feet
11,000 meters
Power plant 1 1500 hp (1184 kW) Mitsubishi Ha-112-II 14-cylinder two-row radial engine driving a constant speed three bladed propeller.
Armament 2 20mm Ho-5 cannon in wings
2 12.7mm Type 1 machine guns above engine
External stores
Two 250kg (551 lb) bombs or two 44 gallon (167 liter) drop tanks
Range 870 miles (1400 km) normal
1367 miles (2200 km) maximum
Production

A total of 396 Ki-100 by Kawasaki Kokuki Kogyo K.K.:

  Kagamigahara:

    3 Ki-100 prototypes (1945-2)
    272 Ki-100-Ia (1945-2 to 1945-6)
    106 Ki-100-Ib (1945-5 to 1945-8)
    3 Ki-100-II prototypes (1945-5 to 1945-6)

  Ichinomiya:

    12 Ki-100-Ib (1945-5 to 1945-7)
Versions The -Ib had an improved canopy for all-around vision.


The Ki-100 was based on the Ki-61 "Tony", but with a powerful radial engine in place of the unreliable liquid-cooled engine of the earlier Tony. The result was an excellent fighter that could hold its own against the Hellcats, Mustangs, and Superfortresses.

The Japanese Army had hoped that the Ki-61-II KAI would be available to meet the challenge of the Superfortress, but the Ha-140 engine suffered from serious teething troubles, and in November 1944 Kawasaki was instructed to use a different engine. The design team quickly concluded that this would have to be the Ha-112 radial engine. The difficulty of mounting a large radial engine on a slim fuselage originally designed for a liquid-cooled engine was overcome by the Japanese Army after studying an imported German FW-190 fighter and drawing on the Navy's experience with the D4Y "Judy", some of whose prototypes used a liquid-cooled engine. The first prototype flew on 1 February 1945, and the aircraft went into production (initially using surplus Ki-61 airframes) in March 1945.

The aircraft came as a nasty surprise to Allied pilots. One squadron claimed 14 Hellcats destroyed in a single engagement without loss. Fortunately for the Allies, by 1945 the Japanese were unable to produce the Ki-100 in any great quantity and were short on good pilots.

References

Francillon (1979)

Wilson (1998)



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