Kawasaki Ki-102 (Randy) Ground Attack / Heavy Fighter / Night Fighter Aircraft
The Kawasaki Ki-102 was developed specifically to replace the Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu series of heavy fighters.
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The two-seat, twin-engine Ki-102 was classified as a close-support/heavy fighter aircraft and developed by the Kawasaki concern of Imperial Japan. To the Allies, it was known under the codename of "Randy" and in official Imperial Japanese Army Air Force nomenclature, it existed as the "Army Type 4 Assault Aircraft". The aircraft was developed from the preceding Kawasaki "Ki-96" twin-engine heavy fighter of which only three prototypes were produced, intending to ultimately replace the twin-engine Kawasaki Ki-45 (Toryu) "Nick" heavy fighter in both production and operational service. First flight of the Ki-102 prototype was recorded in 1944 though the end of the war for Japan in August of 1945 signified the end of development and production of the Ki-102 for the long-term. The type was eventually evolved into three distinct forms to include a dedicated fighter, dedicated night-fighter and dedicated ground attack platform. Some Ki-102s (Ki-102b production models) saw limited combat service while most were stationed on the Japanese mainland for defensive purposes prior to the anticipated Allied invasion (which never occurred). A total of 238 examples were manufactured by Kawasaki Aircraft Engineering and saw service from 1944 to the end of the war in 1945.
With the apparent success of their Ki-45 "Toryu" twin-engine heavy fighter line, Kawasaki turned to developing an improved form as a private venture. Development ensued in 1942 and more or less followed the same design principles inherent in the Ki-45 before it. The new design included a twin-engine configuration with a crew of two, the fuselage intended to fit heavy cannon-minded armament to counter the American bomber presence. However, the Japanese Army requested the type be designed as a single-seat heavy fighter which forced Kawasaki to rework the design. A revised prototype went airborne in September of 1943 while a further two prototypes soon followed. The Japanese Army liked what it saw from the new Ki-96 performance-wise though a new initiative requested the Ki-96 be redesigned as a two-seat, twin-engine heavy fighter - essentially the original Ki-96 vision. The design was once again reworked, this time to become the new "Ki-102" which retained the former design's wing and tail assemblies while incorporated new additions where needed. Ki-96 development was, therefore, discontinued with only three prototypes completed.