Kawasaki Ki-64 (Rob) Prototype Heavy Fighter Aircraft
First flight of the Kawasaki Ki-64 heavy fighter was undertaken in December of 1943 though the program was ultimately given up in 1944 with only one example completed.
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During the height of World War 2 (1939-1945), all major participants undertook various programs to further evolve existing weapons platforms. For the Japanese concern of Kawasaki, a 1943 initiative produced the experimental "Ki-64" single-seat, piston-driven fighter. The type managed to be constructed through only a single prototype offering and the program, as a whole, was abandoned shortly after a test flight ended in a forced landing due to fire. First flight of the Ki-64 was recorded sometime in December of 1943 and the aircraft was codenamed "Rob" by the Allies.
For all intents and purposes, the Ki-64 was of a conventional fighter aircraft design with a unique internal arrangement intended to promote excellent top-line speeds and performance essential to countering developments by the Americans in the Pacific. One of the most notable qualities of the design was its coupling of two Kawasaki Ha-40 Army Type 2 liquid-cooled, inline piston engines which, when mated, was recognized under the designation of "Ha-201". It is noteworthy that the Ha-40 was nothing more than a localized production copy of the excellent German-originated Daimler-Benz DB 601Aa series inline engine powering the equally-excellent Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter - manufacturing licenses granted to both Kawasaki and Aichi Japanese concerns. The powerplant provided the Kawasaki airframe with an output of some 2,350 horsepower allowing for top speeds of nearly 430 miles per hour and an operating ceiling near 40,000 feet. Range was out to 620 miles with a rate-of-climb of approximately 3,000 feet per minute. The airframe exhibited an empty weight of 9,000lbs and a gross weight of 11,200lbs. Kawasaki classified their Ki-64 as a "heavy" fighter as a result. The Ha-40 was later redesignated to "Ha-60" following the 1944 restructured designation system.