The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia
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Nakajima was the leading producer of aircraft in wartime Japan, accounting for 37% of combat aircraft and 31% of aircraft engine production. The company was also the oldest aircraft manufacturer in Japan, founded in 1914 by Nakajima Chikuhei, a retired Navy engineer and aviator, and Kawanishi Seibei. From the beginning, the company eschewed the use of foreign engineers, reflecting Nakajima's belief that aircraft would revolutionize warfare and that Japan needed a strong domestic design capability. Nakajima's vision seemed to be confirmed by the company's success in the 1920s, when it produced a number of excellent aircraft designs for both the Army and the Navy.
Nakajima manufactured large numbers of Bristol Jupiter and Lorraine engines from 1927-1938, but developed its own Kotobuki design based on the Jupiter. The company had surpassed Mitsubishi in aircraft engine manufacture by 1945.
The company was highly vertically integrated,
entire production chain from iron
smelting to ordnance production,
though it did not produce its own machine tools or propellers. Airframe
factories were located at Ota, Koizumi, Handa,
and Utsunomiya, and engine
assembly lines at Musashino, Omiya, Hamamatsu, and Shiroyama. Aircraft models
included the Ki-21 Sally, Ki-27 Nate, Ki-43 Oscar, Ki-44 Tojo, Ki-84 Frank, B5N Kate, E8N Dave, G3M Nell, A6M Zero, B6N Jill, and P1Y Frances. Engines included the Ha-5, Ha-25, Ha-109, Ha-115, Homare, Hikari, Kotobuki, Mamoru, and Sakae.
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