Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIc Toryu (Nick) Dedicated Night-Fighter Aircraft
The Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu served as the Imperial Japanese Armys only night-fighter of the Second World war.
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Despite serving in limited numbers, fielded with no search-finding radar and appearing as the only Imperial Japanese Army night-fighter of the Second World War, the Kawasaki-brand Ki-45 KAIc night-fighter platform proved a success in defense of the Japanese homeland, particularly against the new and high-level B-29 Superfortresses constantly bombarding the island. The aircraft itself was derived from IJA's own developmentally-plagued Ki-45 Toryu (translating to "Dragon Killer" and nicknamed "Nick" by the Allies) base platform that also appeared in Ki-45 KAIb heavy dayfighter form. Limitations aside, the aircraft provided some much needed defense for a nation now playing the war from a defensive standpoint.
The Ki-45 KAIc was a twin-engine two-crew aircraft built in much the same vein as the Messerschmitt BF110 and the de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito. Both engines of Mitsubishi type straddled the fuselage on low-mounted monoplane wings. The crew sat in a split greenhouse-type cockpit area in the center of the design with a single rudder fin in the aft tail assembly. Armament consisted of a single 37mm cannon with semi-automatic action in the nose. Twin 20mm cannons were mounted in an oblique upward-facing position between pilot and rear gunner in the cockpit. A single 7.92mm machine gun was fitted as a hand-held defensive measure in the rear cockpit.
Though one might wonder why the aircraft was fitted with just a single 37mm cannon in the nose it is because the intent was there to fit an AI-type radar into the nose assembly in conjunction with the armament. This never materialized due to production difficulties but the systems were nevertheless fielded as nightfighters with competent and overall promising results.