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Kawanishi Baika (Ume Blossom)

Imperial Japan (1945)
Picture of Kawanishi Baika (Ume Blossom) Pilot-Guided, Pulsejet-Powered Expendable Suicide Aircraft

Powered by a pulsejet engine, the Kawanishi Baika was to serve in the kamikaze attack role - none were built by the end of World War 2.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Kawanishi Baika (Ume Blossom) Pilot-Guided, Pulsejet-Powered Expendable Suicide Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 5/22/2016. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The Japanese benefitted greatly from the alliance struck with Nazi Germany during World War 2 (1939-1945). The Germans sent complete examples of both aircraft and engines along with engineering paperwork to Japan in an effort to help their ally in the Pacific region stave off elimination during the years-long war. The Japanese were only able to do so much amidst a worsening war situation and copied several designs (including the Messerschmitt Me 163 "Komet" rocket-powered fighter and the Messerschmitt Me 262 "Schwalbe" jet-powered fighter) while beginning development of offshoots based on these German concepts. Among the technologies passed onto Japanese engineers was the pulsejet engine.

The pulsejets offered considerable performance improvements over traditional piston-powered aircraft types. They were also lighter and less complex than turbojets of the period. However, one limitation lay in the inability for the pulsejet to generate its own thrust from zero airspeed, requiring an additional, external power source such as rocket booster to achieve take-off. Once at a certain minimum airspeed, the rockets were jettisoned and the pulsejet could take over.

Pulsejets produced their thrust by way of its own forward motion with air being drawn through the intake at front and exhausted as hot gas through the rear port. In between, valves ensured a proper closure of the combustion chamber where ignition of the air mixed with fuel took place. The result was forward thrust suitable for use in high-speed military aircraft delivered in pulses, hence its name - Pulsejet.

The German Argus As 014 pulsejet came to the Japanese and it was this propulsion system that was featured in the V-1 terror rockets killing London citizens in the war. The manned counterpart of the V-1 was the Fieseler Fi 103R "Reichenberg" which retained the basic form and function of the V-1 but added a single-seat cockpit. The same engine would be used to power a new Japanese suicide attack platform in the Kawanishi "Baika" ("Ume Blossom") - itself developed as a single-seat, single-engine attack platform similar to the Fi 103R.
While the Kawanishi aircraft took on a largely conventional appearance with its low-set monoplane wings, mid-set cockpit, single-finned tail unit and tail-dragger (jettisonable) undercarriage, a pulsejet engine installation was installed over the aft dorsal section of the fuselage. Rocket boosters would have given it the take-off power needed. It was intended for service with the Imperial Japanese Navy whose power during the war was ebbing away weekly. The original design was known as Type I.

Type II followed and was a revision of the basic approach, the pulsejet engine moved slightly forwards over the dorsal spine. This variant was intended for launching from IJN submarines giving the weapon and a direct line to vital American and British warships operating in the theater. From this came the final proposed iteration of the Baika concept - the Type III. This design was more of a radical departure from the previous two offerings, its pulsejet engine to be mounted ventrally and, lacking any undercarriage system, was to be air-launched by a Japanese bomber.

Regardless of the planning and physical work put into the Baika project, nothing came of it save for prototypes of the Argus pulsejet engine - known locally as the Maru Ka 10 series and promising an output rating of 795 lb thrust. The end of the war ended all work on these suicide aircraft and their respective engines.

Estimated performance included a maximum speed of 405 mph, a cruising speed of 300 mph, a range out to 175 miles and a service ceiling of 6565 feet. As its intended over-battlefield role was in kamikaze strikes, high altitude operation was of little concern. Armament was to become a 550lb explosive warhead built into the airframe. As with other kamikaze weapons of the war, the pilot was to sacrifice himself along with his aircraft - a costly investment in war.






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: 500mph
Lo: 250mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (404mph).

    Graph average of 375 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 Kawanishi Baika (Ume Blossom)'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
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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: Pilot-Guided, Pulsejet-Powered Expendable Suicide Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Kawanishi Aircraft - Imperial Japan
Production: 0
Global Operators:
Imperial Japan
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 Kawanishi Baika (Ume Blossom) model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
22.80 ft


Meters
6.95 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
21.65 ft


Meters
6.6 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
13.12 ft


Meters
4 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
1,653 lb


Kilograms
750 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
3,153 lb


Kilograms
1,430 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Maru Ka 10 (Argus As 014) pulsejet engine developing 795 lb of thrust; 2 or 4 x Rocket boosters for take-off (estimated).

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
404 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
650 kph


Knots
351 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
174 mi


Kilometers
280 km


Nautical Miles
151 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
6,562 ft


Meters
2,000 m


Miles
1.24 mi

Supported Weapon Systems:

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

1 x 550 lb explosive warhead payload.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Baika - Base Project Name
• Type I - Jettisonable undercarriage; conventional take-off capable (rocket-assisted); pulsejet engine fitted dorsally behind cockpit position.
• Type II - Sans undercarriage; submarine-launch capable; pulsejet engine relocated slightly forwards when compared to Type I offering.
• Type III - Sans undercarriage; air-launched; pulsejet engine moved to ventral position.