Kawasaki Ki-60 Interceptor / Fighter Aircraft
The prototype Japanese Kawasaki Ki-60 utilized the German Diamler-Benz DB 601 series inline piston engine as the Kawasaki Ha-40.
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The Kawasaki Ki-60 was an ultimately abandoned interceptor/fighter design that was attempted as early as 1941 with the program born to an Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) requirement for such an aircraft in 1939. The fighter would utilize a liquid-cooled inline piston engine and refined aerodynamics to promote a strong rate-of-climb while utilizing cannon as primary armament to contend with the latest in Allied offerings - particularly the larger, heavier bomber types. The engine of choice became the German Daimler-Benz DB 601 series inline which was locally manufactured in Japan as the Kawasaki "Ha-40", set to deliver 1,175 horsepower output. Kawasaki also undertook the design and development of the airframe and this work was attributed to engineers Takeo Doi and Shin Owada. Doi ultimately participated in several notable Japanese aircraft designs including the Ki-45 "Toryu" heavy fighter and Ki-100 fighter.
The Ki-60 was to become a part of a two-phase program, the Ki-60 representing the heavier, cannon-armed interceptor against the lighter, machine gun-armed fighter in the Ki-61 "Hien". Work on the Ki-60 began in February of 1940 and led to a completed, flyable form by March of 1941. By this time, the Japanese Empire was fully embroiled in the World War against the major parties of the Pacific Theater, primarily the British along with her commonwealth allies (it would not be until December of 1941 that the United States would officially declare war on Japan).
The Ki-60 was originally intended to carry 2 x 0.50 caliber Ho-103 heavy machine guns in the nose and 2 x 20mm Mauser MG 151 cannons in the wings which would have given it formidable firepower against any modern aircraft type of the period. The nose guns were synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades and installed slightly offset from one another - the left-side gun projecting slightly further than the right-side installation. The Mauser cannons were fitted in the wings, one gun to a wing. While slower firing and with a limited ammunition supply compared to the machine guns, cannons were excellent in bringing down larger bomber aircraft whose frames were keen to absorb much punishment from machine gun weapons. A single cannon shell could wreak havoc through a direct hit on an engine, therefore putting the entire bomber in jeopardy. As an interceptor, the Ki-60 did not require provision for external munitions such as bombs and no mention of aerial rockets was made.