• Identifying Japanese Jets Captured by the US in 1945

    Identifying Japanese Jets Captured by the US in 1945

    Following the surrender of Japan in August 1945, the American occupational authorities sought to gather whatever aircraft developments were of potential interest. Naturally, the most cutting edge planes and engines developed in Japan were high on this list. More than a few of these projects had already been destroyed by…

  • Ōka Trainers: MXY7-K1, MXY7-K2, & Wakazakura

    Ōka Trainers: MXY7-K1, MXY7-K2, & Wakazakura

    The purpose of this article is to attempt to clarify the details of the different training aircraft that were developed for the Japanese Navy’s late-war special attacker ‘Ōka’. The designations and purposes of the Ōka trainers are often confused, not only in English but even in Japanese publications. Using a…

  • About the Performance of Type 4 Fighter (Ki-84)

    About the Performance of Type 4 Fighter (Ki-84)

    The performance of the Type 4 Fighter (project name ‘Ki-84’) is a bit of a can of worms, and a subject of frequent debate. This is due to a significant amount of differing data with varying credibility, and often a lack of information to illustrate the background of each record.…

  • Ki-109 & the Ki-109-Mounted Cannon: Type 88, Not ‘Ho-501’

    Ki-109 & the Ki-109-Mounted Cannon: Type 88, Not ‘Ho-501’

    As the threat of strategic bombing loomed over Japan from the middle of the Pacific War, the development of effective extreme-caliber aircraft guns was expedited by the Japanese Army. New weapons with calibers ranging from 47 millimeters to as much as 150 millimeters were developed and were planned to be…

  • R2Y Keiun: Satisfactory… But the Engine Caught on Fire

    R2Y Keiun: Satisfactory… But the Engine Caught on Fire

    At the outset of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937, the Japanese Navy’s Air Service assumed a leading role in the strategic bombardment of China with their modern force of attack planes. As the battle quickly advanced into the interior of the continent, the Navy developed a new requirement to…

  • Kōgiken-IST Ne-130: Driven to Destruction After the War

    Kōgiken-IST Ne-130: Driven to Destruction After the War

    On July 26th, 1944, the Japanese Navy submarine I-29 ‘Matsu’ was sunk by the USS Sawfish near the Philippines while en route to Kure. Onboard ‘Matsu’ were potentially instrumental materials about secret German aircraft technology. Of relevance, there were survey sketches and other data on the Messerschmitt Me 262 and…

  • Tanegashima’s Group: Birth of the Japanese Jet Engine

    Tanegashima’s Group: Birth of the Japanese Jet Engine

    By the 1930s, the practical speed limit of piston-engined aircraft was being approached for the first time. Before a propeller-driven airplane can approach the speed of sound, there is a period where the blade tips must reach supersonic speed, resulting in massive turbulence and loss of efficiency. This effect imposes…

  • Ki-201 ‘Karyū’: The Me 262 Domestic Production Plan

    Ki-201 ‘Karyū’: The Me 262 Domestic Production Plan

    At the dawn of 1944, the German jet fighter Messerschmitt ‘Me 262’ was nearing the beginning of its service life. Due to issues with its power plant and interference from the high command, the aircraft had been in the testing stage since 1941. In the coming months, it would finally…