The Nakajima Ki-27 was the Imperial Japanese Army equivalent of the Imperial Japanese Navy Mitsubishi A5M.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
Credit: Image from the Public Domain.
The Nakajima Ki-27 "Nate" (known early on as "Abdul") was a successful low-monoplane, all-metal with stressed skin fighter design employed by the Empire of Japan throughout the Second World War. Initially conceived of as a private venture design by the Nakajima corporation, the Ki-27 was soon debuted and accepted by the Japanese Army.
The single-engine, one-man fighter was Japan's first monoplane design, becoming a sort of bridge from the old and new fighter development strategies. Qualities that showcased the Ki-27 to the old ways of fighter design including the very identifiable static land gears. A tail skid was still being used when the Ki-27 reached full production. At the cost of self-sealing fuel tanks, pilot protection and other aircraft amenities at the time, the Ki-27 became a nimble and fast fighter, armed with 2 x 12.7mm heavy machine guns.
In the early years, the Ki-27 enjoyed a period of success against the Chinese and Allied fighter pilots in the Pacific. As Allied fighter designed continued to improve, aircraft like the Ki-27 would begin to lose out to the advanced technologies and be relegated to homeland defense, pilot training or kamikaze use.
In the end, the decision to not protect the pilot nor his fuel tanks became the premise for the aircrafts undoing. The light and nimble Ki-27 would cease to become a factor, in much the same way that its A6M Zero counterpart did, and help the Allied make their push throughout the Pacific. Nevertheless, the Ki-27 enjoyed a long period of success when it was initially delivered and would stay a major part of the Japanese Army movements until the end of the war - albeit in limited fashion by then.
Status Retired, Out-of-Service
[ 3,368 Units ] : Nakajima Aircraft Company - Japan
24.70 ft (7.53 m)
37.11 ft (11.31 m)
10.66 ft (3.25 m)
(Showcased structural dimension values pertain to the Nakajima Ki-27a production model)
2,447 lb (1,110 kg)
3,946 lb (1,790 kg)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the Nakajima Ki-27a production model)
1 x Nakajima Ha-1b air-cooled radial piston engine developing 710 horsepower driving a two-bladed propeller unit at the nose in puller arrangement.
(Showcased powerplant information pertains to the Nakajima Ki-27a production model)
292 mph (470 kph; 254 kts)
39,862 feet (12,150 m; 7.55 miles)
395 miles (635 km; 343 nm)
2,953 ft/min (900 m/min)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Nakajima Ki-27a production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
2 x 7.7mm machine guns.
2 x 7.7mm machine guns.
4 x 55lb conventional drop bombs.
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Nakajima Ki-27a production model)
PE - Private Venture Prototype Model
Army Type 97 Fighter Model A - Service Model Designation.
Ki-27a - Production Model Company Designation; fitted with uprated Ha-1b engine with faired-metal canopy.
Ki-27b - Provision for ground attack role in the form of 4 x underwing hardpoints; "clear-vision" canopy.
Ki-27 KAI - Experimental Lightweight Fighter Variant.
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