Nakajima Ki.43 Hayabusa ("Oscar")

Ki.43-I (30 kb)
A Nakajima Ki.43-I from the 1st Chutaï, 50th Sentai in Burma.

The Ki.43 was designed by Hideo Itokawa, father of the Nakajima Ki.27 ("Nate") that had done wonders in the China-Japan war of 1937.
It was designed as the same time as the Ki.44 Shoki ("Tojo"), but these two projects had opposite goals: the Ki-43 was to be a light and manoeuvrable dogfighter (sacrificing speed and firepower), and the Ki.44 had been ordered as a cannon-armed interceptor (sacrificing maniability).
Nicknamed "Oscar" by the allies, the Hayabusa (meaning: "Peregrine Falcon") was built in larger numbers than any other Imperial Japanese Army fighter.


Ki.43-I, WarBirds over Wanaka, spring 1996
A restored Ki.43-I at the "WarBirds over Wanaka" airshow, Spring 1996

A total of 716 Ki.43-I production aircraft were built between April of 1941 and February of 1943.

Nakajima Ki.43-II Nakajima Ki.43-II
Engine Nakajima Ha-25, radial engine 1,150 hp
Weight empty: 1,910 kg (4,211 lb) - maximum: 2,925 kg (6,450 lb)
Armament Two 12.7 mm (.50 cal) cowling-mounted machine guns
Performance Max speed: 530 km/h (329 mph) Ceiling: 11,200 m (36,750 ft)
Nakajima built 2,500 Ki.43-II; Tachikawa built 2,629 Ki.43-II and Ki.43-III.

Stof's notes about this plane in iMOL's WarBirds

The opinions expressed below are only my own, and nothing more...
It turns like a dream... but is not good for anything else in the WarBirds© general arena.

Strong points:

Weak points:

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(Plane photos from "Le Fana de l'Aviation")