STATUS: Retired, Out-of-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Kawasaki - Imperial Japan
OPERATORS: Imperial Japan (cancelled)
LENGTH: 26.57 feet (8.1 meters)
WIDTH: 26.25 feet (8 meters)
HEIGHT: 10.01 feet (3.05 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 4,255 pounds (1,930 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 5,071 pounds (2,300 kilograms)
ENGINE: 1 x Diamler-Benz DB601A V-12 inverted liquid-cooled inline piston engine developing 1,550 horsepower.
SPEED (MAX): 435 miles-per-hour (700 kilometers-per-hour; 378 knots)
RANGE: 373 miles (600 kilometers; 324 nautical miles)
CEILING: 26,247 feet (8,000 meters; 4.97 miles)
Detailing the development and operational history of the Kawasaki Ki-78 (KEN III) High-Speed Single-Seat, Single-Engine Research Aircraft.
Entry last updated on 7/16/2018.
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.
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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.
Relative Maximum Speed Rating
This entry's maximum listed speed (435mph).
Graph average of 375 miles-per-hour.
Graph showcases the Kawasaki Ki-78's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
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