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Kayaba Katsuodori

Imperial Japan (1945)
Picture of Kayaba Katsuodori Ramjet-and-Rocket Powered Interceptor Proposal

Since 1937, Japanese engineers were working on the ramjet concept that was to power the proposed Kayaba Katsuodori ramjet-and-rocket-powered interceptor of World War 2.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Kayaba Katsuodori Ramjet-and-Rocket Powered Interceptor Proposal.  Entry last updated on 5/15/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

Aircraft propulsion by way of the "ramjet" had been on the minds of aeronautical engineers for some time leading up to World War 2 (1939-1945). Its history lay in the years surrounding World War 1 (1914-1918) but the concept was too advanced for the materials of the time. The arrangement essentially called for the engine to use its forward motion to compress incoming air and produce the needed forward thrust (in this way it would not depend on an axial compressor arrangement to pressurize gasses). One of the inherent restrictions of the powerplant was its inability to produce thrust at zero airspeed - thus negating its value during the take-off phase and requiring use of a supporting thrust package, such as that offered by rocket motors.

Prior to World War 2, scientist around the world were delving into the prospect of ramjet-powered flight and its mysteries did not evade the interest of Japanese engineers. During 1937, teams were formed to explore the concept further with the intent of producing a viable, low-cost aircraft for military service. This work spanned into the war years and the need for such an aircraft only grew once American bombers began appearing over Japanese cities with some regularity.

The Kayaba Katsuodori was the result of this endeavor, a single-seat, ramjet-powered interceptor-minded platform which utilized a short, tailless fuselage configuration with swept-back wing mainplanes. The cockpit would be held well-forward and offered exceptional vision for the pilot. The mid-mounted mainplanes were affixed ahead of midships with each tip capped by small vertical stabilizers. The ramjet propulsion system was buried within the tubular fuselage and a rocket-assist scheme (consisting of four externally-held rocket pods) was to be used. The rocket pods were installed under the wing roots and jettisoned once their usefulness had run out. Having achieved the required speeds, the aircraft would then continue on under ramjet power with a flying window of about 30 minutes being estimated. To aspirate the ramjet, the nose section featured an intake. No conventional undercarriage was to be fitted, instead the aircraft would glide back home powerless and land on a belly-mounted skid. The ramjet under consideration for the project became the Kayaba Model 1 which promised 1,655lb thrust output.

Since the aircraft never achieved prototype form, performance specifications were estimated and this included a maximum speed of 560 miles per hour with a rate-of-climb around 11,000 feet-per-minute. The latter would prove a good quality to have in interception sorties. The service ceiling was listed at 49,215 feet. Dimensions were an overall length of 14.7 feet, a wingspan of 29.5 feet and a height of 6 feet. Empty weight was 1,875 lb with a listed loaded weight of 6,615 lb.

As an interceptor attempting to tackle very large, slow-moving (but well-defended) targets, it was seen to arm the jet appropriately through 2 x 30mm Ho-301 series cannons - this was a suitable arrangement to counter even the high-flying and technologically advanced Boeing B-29 "Superfortress" which had made its presence known since mid-1944. The cannons would have been embedded in the sides of the nose.

Design work on the Katsuodori progressed into 1943 and plans were underway to begin construction of a working prototype for the following year. However, Japan's fortunes in the war had worsened into 1944 and the attention of authorities turned to more viable military weapons such as the Rikugun Ki-202 "Sharp Sword", a rocket-powered interceptor based on the German wartime Messerschmitt Me 163 "Komet".

This spelled the end of the line for the little ramjet-powered interceptor.

Any available statistics for the Kayaba Katsuodori Ramjet-and-Rocket Powered Interceptor 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).






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 750mph
Lo: 375mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (559mph).

    Graph average of 562.5 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Kayaba Katsuodori's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
0
0


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
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Origin: Imperial Japan
Year: 1945
Type: Ramjet-and-Rocket Powered Interceptor Proposal
Manufacturer(s): Kayaba - Imperial Japan
Production: 0
Status: Cancelled
Global Operators:
Imperial Japan (cancelled)
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Kayaba Katsuodori model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
14.76 ft


Meters
4.5 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
29.53 ft


Meters
9 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
6.07 ft


Meters
1.85 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
1,874 lb


Kilograms
850 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
6,614 lb


Kilograms
3,000 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Kayaba Model 1 ramjet engine developing 1,653 lb of thrust; 4 x Rocket boosters for take-off.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
559 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
900 kph


Knots
486 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
249 mi


Kilometers
400 km


Nautical Miles
216 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
49,213 ft


Meters
15,000 m


Miles
9.32 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
3,333 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
1,016 m/min

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Armament - Hardpoints (0):

PROPOSED:
2 x 30mm Ho-301 cannons in nose
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Katsuodori - Base Series Name; design work only.