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Kawasaki Ki-78 (KEN III)

Imperial Japan (1942)
Picture of Kawasaki Ki-78 (KEN III) High-Speed Research Aircraft

A single Kawasaki Ki-78 high-speed research aircraft was developed by the Japanese Empire during World War 2 - intent on challenging the World Absolute Speed Record.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Kawasaki Ki-78 (KEN III) High-Speed Research Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 5/17/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The Kawasaki Ki-78 (KENsan III) began its development as a high-speed research aircraft intended challenge air speed records of the 1930s. All-new wings were devised to trial various load factors at speed and the program was given life through a 1938 initiative under the direction of the Aeronautical Research Institute of the University of Tokyo and the aircraft manufactured by Kwasaki Kokuki Kogyo K.K. Only one flyable examples was ever completed as World War 2 (1939-1945) disrupted the project and forever changed its fortunes.

The design incorporated a sleek fuselage, devoid of any unnecessary protrusions, with fine contouring throughout and clean lines throughout. An inline piston engine was selected to power the aircraft and this installed at the nose in the usual way. The cockpit, lightly framed, was set at midships. A raised dorsal spine blocked any useful views to the pilot's rear but this was not a combat aircraft. The empennage tapered elegantly to the rear to which a single rudder and low-set horizontal planes were fitted. The tail-dragger undercarriage was retractable with the two main legs sitting under the wings. The aircraft was constructed of all-metal including its skinning.

The smallest possible cross-section, coupled with a powerful engine, was selected for the aircraft. Overall length reached 26.5 feet with a wingspan of 26.2 feet and a height of 10 feet. Empty weight was 4,255lb against an MTOW of 5,070lb.
Power stemmed from the German Daimler-Benz DB601A V-12 inverted liquid-cooled inline piston engine of 1,550 horsepower. Additional power was had by the injection of water/methanol. Performance included a maximum speed of 435 miles per hour, a range out to 373 miles and a service ceiling of 26,000 feet.

The Ki-78 was picking up speed before World War 2 began and, with interest, authorities of the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) moved to take over the Ki-78 project in full. Two prototypes were contracted for and work on the first began in September of 1941. The aircraft was completed in 1942 and recorded its first-flight on December 26th. Despite its good showing as a speedy mount, the Ki-78 held little military value and the program was ended in January of 1944. Just one aircraft was completed along with a sole mock-up. The second prototype lay incomplete before being scrapped.






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 (435mph).

    Graph average of 375 miles-per-hour.
Relative Operational Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Kawasaki Ki-78's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era Impact
Pie graph section
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
1
1


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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


Altitude Visualization
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  Compare this entry against other aircraft using our Comparison Tool  
Supported Mission Types:
Air-to-Air
Interception
Unmanned
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Training
Anti-Submarine
Anti-Ship
Airborne Early Warning
MEDEVAC
Electronic Warfare
Maritime/Navy
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Search/Rescue
Recon/Scouting
Special Forces
X-Plane/Development
National Flag Graphic
National Origin: Imperial Japan
Service Year: 1942
Classification Type: High-Speed Research Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Kawasaki - Imperial Japan
Production Units: 1
Global Operators:
Imperial Japan (cancelled)
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Kawasaki Ki-78 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
26.57 ft


Meters
8.1 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
26.25 ft


Meters
8 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
10.01 ft


Meters
3.05 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
4,255 lb


Kilograms
1,930 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
5,071 lb


Kilograms
2,300 kg

Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Diamler-Benz DB601A V-12 inverted liquid-cooled inline piston engine developing 1,550 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
435 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
700 kph


Knots
378 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
373 mi


Kilometers
600 km


Nautical Miles
324 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
26,247 ft


Meters
8,000 m


Miles
4.97 mi

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

None.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Ki-78 - Base Series Designation
• KEN III - Original project designation