Nakajima Ki.43 Hayabusa ("Oscar")
|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.
- Role: single-seat fighter
- Conception: Hideo Itokawa
- Production: 5,751 Ki.43s have been built by Nakajima Hikoki KK and Tachikawa.
- First flight of prototype: 1939
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.
- The Ki.43-Ia, or Army Type 1 Fighter Model 1A, was powered by a 980 hp Nakajima Ha-25 Type 99 engine
with a two-bladed propeller.
It was armed by two 7.7 mm (.30 cal) machine guns mounted in the upper cowling.
The first Ki.43-Ia fighters were delivered to the 59th and 64th Sentais in October of 1941.
- The Ki.43-Ib had a slightly better armament of one 7.7 mm (.30 cal) and one 12.7 mm (.50 cal)
machine guns, both cowling-mounted.
- Another weapon improvement for the Ki.43-Ic: two 12.7 mm (.50 cal) machine guns mounted in the
upper cowling. It was the main production variant of the Ki.43-I series.
|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.
- The Ki.43-IIa was powered by a 1,150 hp Nakajima Ha-115 engine with a three-bladed propeller,
was equipped with self-sealing fuel tanks and light armour, and was able to carry a pair of 250 kg (551 lb)
- The Ki.43-IIb differed only from its predecessor by a redesigned oil cooler.
Nakajima Ha-25, radial engine
empty: 1,910 kg (4,211 lb) - maximum: 2,925 kg (6,450 lb)
Two 12.7 mm (.50 cal) cowling-mounted machine guns
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.
- The Ki.43-II-KAI (KAI = "modified") had individual exhaust stacks for a slightly better
performance. It entered service in the summer of 1943.
- The Ki.43-III was powered by a Najajima Ha-115-II Sakae air-cooled radial rated at 1,230 hp.
Production began in December of 1944.
- There were also two Ki.43-IIIb prototypes, powered by a 1,250 hp Mitsubishi radial, and armed with
a pair of 20 mm cannons.
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.
- The Ki.43 is incredibly maneuverable at low speeds. That's about it.
- It is slow, fragile, and has the weakest firepower of all WarBirds© planes.
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(Plane photos from "Le Fana de l'Aviation")