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  • Kawanishi Baika (Ume Blossom) Pilot-Guided, Pulsejet-Powered Expendable Suicide Aircraft


    Powered by a pulsejet engine, the Kawanishi Baika was to serve in the kamikaze attack role - none were built by the end of World War 2.

     Updated: 5/22/2016; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com


    The Japanese benefitted greatly from the alliance struck with Nazi Germany during World War 2 (1939-1945). The Germans sent complete examples of both aircraft and engines along with engineering paperwork to Japan in an effort to help their ally in the Pacific region stave off elimination during the years-long war. The Japanese were only able to do so much amidst a worsening war situation and copied several designs (including the Messerschmitt Me 163 "Komet" rocket-powered fighter and the Messerschmitt Me 262 "Schwalbe" jet-powered fighter) while beginning development of offshoots based on these German concepts. Among the technologies passed onto Japanese engineers was the pulsejet engine.

    The pulsejets offered considerable performance improvements over traditional piston-powered aircraft types. They were also lighter and less complex than turbojets of the period. However, one limitation lay in the inability for the pulsejet to generate its own thrust from zero airspeed, requiring an additional, external power source such as rocket booster to achieve take-off. Once at a certain minimum airspeed, the rockets were jettisoned and the pulsejet could take over.

    Pulsejets produced their thrust by way of its own forward motion with air being drawn through the intake at front and exhausted as hot gas through the rear port. In between, valves ensured a proper closure of the combustion chamber where ignition of the air mixed with fuel took place. The result was forward thrust suitable for use in high-speed military aircraft delivered in pulses, hence its name - Pulsejet.

    The German Argus As 014 pulsejet came to the Japanese and it was this propulsion system that was featured in the V-1 terror rockets killing London citizens in the war. The manned counterpart of the V-1 was the Fieseler Fi 103R "Reichenberg" which retained the basic form and function of the V-1 but added a single-seat cockpit. The same engine would be used to power a new Japanese suicide attack platform in the Kawanishi "Baika" ("Ume Blossom") - itself developed as a single-seat, single-engine attack platform similar to the Fi 103R.


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    Kawanishi Baika (Ume Blossom) Technical Specifications


    Service Year: 1945
    Type: Pilot-Guided, Pulsejet-Powered Expendable Suicide Aircraft
    National Origin: Imperial Japan
    Manufacturer(s): Kawanishi Aircraft - Imperial Japan
    Production Total: 0



    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)


    Operating Crew: 1
    Length: 22.80 feet (6.95 meters)
    Width: 21.65 feet (6.60 meters)
    Height: 13.12 feet (4.00 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 1,653 lb (750 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 3,153 lb (1,430 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance


    Engine(s): 1 x Maru Ka 10 (Argus As 014) pulsejet engine developing 795 lb of thrust; 2 or 4 x Rocket boosters for take-off (estimated).

    Maximum Speed: 404 mph (650 kph; 351 knots)
    Maximum Range: 174 miles (280 km)
    Service Ceiling: 6,562 feet (2,000 meters; 1.24 miles)

    Armament / Mission Payload


    1 x 550 lb explosive warhead payload.

    Global Operators / Customers


    Imperial Japan

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)


    Baika - Base Project Name

    Type I - Jettisonable undercarriage; conventional take-off capable (rocket-assisted); pulsejet engine fitted dorsally behind cockpit position.

    Type II - Sans undercarriage; submarine-launch capable; pulsejet engine relocated slightly forwards when compared to Type I offering.

    Type III - Sans undercarriage; air-launched; pulsejet engine moved to ventral position.