N1K file photo [160]

N1K Kyofu / Shiden

ManufacturerKawasaki Aircraft Industries
Primary RoleFighter


ww2dbaseThe N1K Kyofu ("Mighty Wind") fighters were offensive weapons designed to sit atop floats, providing capability to cover ground advances without needing airfields. The design work began in Sep 1940 as the Japanese Navy issued the request, with the intention to use such aircraft for the southward expansion. On 6 May 1942, the prototype flew atop of one primary float and two auxiliary ones. The response from the test pilot was positive, noting it was easy to fly and rather maneuverable. Service trials began in Aug 1942, and they were delivered to the Navy in Jul 1943 in extremely limited numbers. They were assigned the Allied codename "Rex".

ww2dbaseJapan had reached their greatest reach of offensives by 1943, however, and had fell into a defensive stance, and N1K fighters never had a chance to fill the offensive roles they were designed for. Instead, they were assigned as interceptors based out of Balikpapan, Borneo. Though capable as floatplane fighters, floatplanes were not meant to fly against fighters. Consequently, production on the N1K ceased in Mar 1944 after a limited production number of only 89.

ww2dbaseThe N1k was too solid a design to abandon, however. In early 1944, the N1K-J Shiden ("Violet Lightning") variants entered production. The floats were removed from the aircraft, replaced with long landing gears. Combat flaps that were automatically adjusted during different flight conditions were also installed, which were an innovative technological revolution at the time, allowing the pilots to deal with one less thing during stressful combat situations. Reborn as true fighters, aircraft of this new generation of the N1K design soon proved to be highly effective against American fighters. They deployed in the Philippines, Formosa, and Okinawa in an attempt to stop the American juggernaut, though reliability issues due to a rushed production time table haunted pilots and mechanics alike. Before the end of the Pacific War, 1007 N1K1-J and a handful of the upgraded N1K2-J fighters were produced.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Aug 2006


MachineryOne Mitsubishi MK4E Kasei 15 14-cylinder air-cooled radial engine rated at 1,530hp
Armament2x7.7mm Type 97 machine guns, 2x20mm Type 99 Model 1 cannon, option 2x30kg bombs
Span12.00 m
Length9.30 m
Height4.75 m
Wing Area23.50 m²
Weight, Empty2,752 kg
Weight, Loaded3,500 kg
Weight, Maximum3,712 kg
Speed, Maximum658 km/h
Speed, Cruising486 km/h
Rate of Climb20.30 m/s
Service Ceiling10,560 m
Range, Normal1,062 km
Range, Maximum1,674 km

MachineryOne Nakajima NK9H Homare 21 18-cylinder air-cooled radial engine rated at 1,990hp
Armament2x7.7mm Type 97 machine guns, 4x20mm Type 99 Model 2 cannons, optional 2x60kg bombs or 1 drop tank
Span12.00 m
Length8.90 m
Height4.05 m
Wing Area23.50 m²
Weight, Empty2,897 kg
Weight, Loaded3,900 kg
Weight, Maximum4,321 kg
Speed, Maximum584 km/h
Speed, Cruising370 km/h
Service Ceiling12,497 m
Range, Normal1,432 km
Range, Maximum2,542 km

MachineryOne Nakajima NK9H Homare 21 18-cylinder air-cooled radial engine rated at 1,990hp
Armament4x20mmType 99 Model 2 Mk4 cannons, 2x250kg bombs
Span12.00 m
Length9.30 m
Height3.90 m
Wing Area23.50 m²
Weight, Empty2,656 kg
Weight, Loaded4,000 kg
Weight, Maximum4,860 kg
Speed, Maximum658 km/h
Rate of Climb20.30 m/s
Service Ceiling1,080 m
Range, Normal1,716 km
Range, Maximum2,395 km


N1K1 prototype aircraft, circa 1942; note contra-rotating propellersN1K Kyofu aircraft in flight, date unknownN1K1-J Shiden aircraft resting at an airfield, date unknownN1K2-J Shiden-kai fighters in flight, 1940s
See all 21 photographs of N1K Kyofu / Shiden Fighter

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed Hobilar says:
22 Sep 2007 03:34:42 AM

The N1KI-J Shiden entered service with the J.N.A.F. early in 1944, and despite troubles with its Homare engine and shortcomings resulting from the inadequate development period, it soon proved itself a redoubtable warplane, and its pilots came to look upon the formidable Grumman Hellcat as a relatively easy kill.

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More on N1K Kyofu / Shiden
Notable Figure:
» Kasai, Tomokazu

Related Document:
» Carrier Aircraft Specifications

N1K Kyofu / Shiden Fighter Photo Gallery
N1K1 prototype aircraft, circa 1942; note contra-rotating propellers
See all 21 photographs of N1K Kyofu / Shiden Fighter

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