Ki-43 file photo [109]

Ki-43 Hayabusa

CountryJapan
ManufacturerNakajima Aircraft Company
Primary RoleFighter
Maiden Flight12 December 1938

Contributor:

ww2dbaseThe Hayabusa Type 1 Fighters, nicknamed "Oscar" by the Allies, were land-based aircraft used by the Japanese Army during WW2. The aircraft was designed by Hideo Itokawa (of rocketry fame after WW2) and Yasumi Koyama, both of Nakajima Aircraft Company. Following the suit of the light Ki-27 fighters, they designed the updated Ki-43 Hayabusa fighters along the same philosophy, making them "fly like an angel and turn like the devil". To achieve such maneuverability, they were very lightly armored and lightly armed, thus sacrificing some features for others. Among the innovations of this design were the butterfly combat flaps, which were deployed to increase lift during a turn, thus making them even deadlier during dogfights by allowing a smaller turning radius. They were highly effective in Burma, Malaya, and the Dutch East Indies during the early phases of the Pacific War. Some of them saw service under the flags of Siam and Manchukuo as well. Later versions of these fighters featured some armor and self-sealing tanks in attempt to even the odds against Allied fighters, but the attempts were generally ineffective as the base design was too weak to withstand the heavy weapons of newer Allied counterparts; nevertheless, particularly in China where they faced the slower P-40 Warhawk fighters, they were still feared fighters despite the light armament due to their agility.

ww2dbaseA total of 5,751 Type 1 Fighters were built between Jun 1941 and the end of the Pacific War in 1945; 3,073 were produced by Nakajima, 2,629 by Tachikawa, and 49 by First Arsenal.

ww2dbaseSources: Aircraft of the Second World War, P-40 Warhawk vs Ki-43 Oscar, Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Jun 2008

SPECIFICATIONS

Ki-43-I
MachineryOne Nakajima Ha-25 Sakae 14-cyl two-row radial engine rated at 975hp
Armament2x7.7mm or 2x12.7mm
Span10.84 m
Length8.92 m
Height3.27 m
Weight, Empty1,975 kg
Weight, Loaded2,642 kg
Speed, Maximum496 km/h
Service Ceiling10,973 m
Range, Normal746 km

Ki-43-II
MachineryOne Nakajima Ha-115 Sakae rated at 1,105hp
Armament2x12.7mm, 2x250kg bombs
Span10.84 m
Length8.92 m
Height3.27 m
Weight, Loaded2,655 kg
Speed, Maximum515 km/h
Service Ceiling11,215 m
Range, Normal1,700 km

Ki-43-III
MachineryOne Nakajima Ha-112 rated at 1,250hp
Armament2x12.7mm, 2x250kg bombs
Span10.84 m
Length8.92 m
Height3.27 m
Weight, Loaded2,850 kg
Speed, Maximum585 km/h
Service Ceiling11,215 m
Range, Normal1,700 km

Photographs

Ki-43-II Hayabusa fighter at rest, circa 1942Ki-43-IIa Hayabusa fighter at rest, post-Oct 1942USAAF 3rd Bomb Group photographer George Tackaberry and another man with a wrecked Japanese Ki-43 fighter, Nadzab Airfield, Australian New Guinea, early 1944Souvenir hunters on Iwo Jima sawing the propeller off of a wrecked Japanese Nakajima Ki-43 "Oscar" fighter, Mar 1945. They said they would make paper weights out of it later.
See all 5 photographs of Ki-43 Hayabusa Fighter



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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
31 Dec 2009 11:37:54 PM

About those Japanese Army Aircraft Carriers They had no hangers, elevators or catapults planes were hoisted aboard ship by crane. They were not real carriers, the ships were more aircraft transports. Planes could fly off, but could not recover aboard ship. Aircraft were developed to land aboard these ships, and used later in the war. Kakusai Ki-76 (Stella) was a single-engine high-wing monoplane. The aircraft had good STOL (Short Takeoff On Land) performance the aircraft went into production in 1942 the number built is unknown. The Ki-76 was able to carry two 60kg (132lb) depth charges it was not really successful in this role. Kayaba Ka-1 Auto Gyro used for anti-submarine patrol work. 98 were built production started in 1941. The aircraft, was able to carry one 60kg (132lb) depth charge, or two 60kg depth charges by removing the second crewmen's seat. No Allied code name was ever given to the Ki-1.
2. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
18 Dec 2012 03:12:17 PM

Information on above file photo: Ki-43 Oscar of the 25th Sentai, photographed at Hankow,China 1943.
3. Anonymous says:
14 Mar 2017 04:56:52 AM

The 40mm Ho-301 was installed on the Ki 44 without much success since many pilots switched out the cannons for the standard 12.7mm MGs in the wings. What if the 40mm cannons were put on the undergunned Ki 43? I think the very short range of the cannon was suicidal for intercepting well defended bombers, but on a dogfighter like the Ki 43 that had the lowest W/L, it may have done better than the Ki 44 which had the highest W/L. Even when US fighters used vertical tactics against the Oscar, it could hit back with a deflection shot. If it carried these caseless 40mm cannons in the wings, one shell was lethal if it hit home, unlike the 12.7mm MGs. Firepower was 7.5x more and WoF was 9.261kg/s combined (on the Ki 44)! These had no recoil and only weighed 49kg each. The shells were like mini air-to-air rockets, 10 r/g. The supply of ammo lasted only 1.3 seconds total, so the pilot would have to conserve or carry more rounds. RoF was 450 r/m average. Of course the mixed ballistics was less than harmonious with the 12.7s but each 40mm hit is a kill, ripping a hole a meter and a half wide! Even with 4 guns the Oscar had agility to spare. Perhaps it could have made a success of it against fighters. No one would call this Ki 43 undergunned or toothless! Can you imagine 1,000 Ki 43-IIIs armed like this? I don't think the pilots would swap them out of the Ki dogfighting Oscar. Stetching the ammo for 5 kills or more would be feasible and then there is still 30 seconds of 12.7mm ammo left in the nose to get home. The over-confident US pilots would've been expecting the weakest firepower and be rudely awakened!

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More on Ki-43 Hayabusa
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» P-40 Warhawk vs Ki-43 Oscar

Ki-43 Hayabusa Fighter Photo Gallery
Ki-43-II Hayabusa fighter at rest, circa 1942
See all 5 photographs of Ki-43 Hayabusa Fighter




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