Military Factory logo

Kawasaki Ki-88

Imperial Japan (1943)

Detailing the development and operational history of the Kawasaki Ki-88 Fighter Aircraft Proposal.

 Entry last updated on 4/5/2017; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©

  Kawasaki Ki-88  
Picture of Kawasaki Ki-88 Fighter Aircraft Proposal

The Kawasaki Ki-88 failed to impress during its mock-up stage that it was not ordered into production for the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force.

Concerned about the slow progress in getting the complex Kawasaki Ki-64 Heavy Fighter into the air (with its tandem engine arrangement), Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) authorities thought it best to allow development of an interim, or insurance-minded, fighter aircraft which became the Kawasaki "Ki-88" of simpler form and function. However, the aircraft only reached a mockup stage by which time its performance was estimated to be no better than existing Japanese service fighters so the Ki-88 was never officially adopted nor ordered for serial production.

Work began as soon as August 1942 and took no more a conventional design approach than the Ki-64 in that it utilized a rear-mounted engine driving a forward-mounted propeller. The engine was connected to the propeller unit by way of a drive shaft running under the cockpit floor - similar in concept to the classic American Bell P-39 "Airacobra" (detailed elsewhere on this site). In similar fashion, a 37mm cannon was fitted to fire through the propeller hub as the forward compartment of the fuselage lay empty thanks to the rear engine placement. The cockpit was seated aft of the cannon and wing mainplanes mounted low and ahead of midships. The tail was a conventional, single-finned unit being used while the undercarriage was made up of a "tail-dragger" configuration. Beyond its 37mm gun, the aircraft was also slated to carry 2 x 20mm cannons in the lower nose section, offering frontal battery against any and all enemy warplanes fielded across the Pacific Theater.

The end of the road for the Ki-88 came when the design was reviewed in its mock-up stage during 1943 and found that it would be no more faster than some of the fighters already in use or beginning to come online in number. Since nothing could be gained from the Ki-88 project, it was abandoned in favor of other, more promising ventures needed by the Japanese military going forward.

As designed, the Ki-88 featured a length of 33.5 feet and a wingspan of 40.7 feet. Gross weight was listed at 8,600 pounds. Power was to come from a Kawasaki Ha-140 18-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine developing 1,500 horsepower. Calculated maximum speed was 375 miles per hour and no other estimated performance specifications were offered.
Any available statistics for the Kawasaki Ki-88 Fighter Aircraft Proposal are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).
Kawasaki Ki-88 Specifications
National Flag Graphic
Imperial Japan
Year: 1943
Type: Fighter Aircraft Proposal
Manufacturer(s): Kawasaki - Imperial Japan
Production: 0
Supported Mission Types
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Airborne Early Warning
Electronic Warfare
Aerial Tanker
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Special Forces
Crew: 1
Width: 40.68 ft (12.40 m)
MTOW: 8,598 lb (3,900 kg)

Installed Power
1 x Kawasaki Ha-140 18-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine developing 1,500 horsepower and mounted in fuselage rear.

Standard Day Performance
Maximum Speed: 373 mph (600 kph; 324 kts)

1 x 37mm cannon firing through the propeller hub
2 x 20mm cannons in lower nose

Operators List
Imperial Japan (cancelled)

Series Model Variants
• Ki-88 - Base Series Designation; only reached mock-up stage.

Supported Weapon Systems
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon