Despite serving in limited numbers, fielded with no search-finding radar and appearing as the only Imperial Japanese Army night-fighter of the Second World War, the Kawasaki-brand Ki-45 KAIc night-fighter platform proved a success in defense of the Japanese homeland, particularly against the new and high-level B-29 Superfortresses constantly bombarding the island. The aircraft itself was derived from IJA's own developmentally-plagued Ki-45 Toryu (translating to "Dragon Killer" and nicknamed "Nick" by the Allies) base platform that also appeared in Ki-45 KAIb heavy dayfighter form. Limitations aside, the aircraft provided some much needed defense for a nation now playing the war from a defensive standpoint.
The Ki-45 KAIc was a twin-engine two-crew aircraft built in much the same vein as the Messerschmitt BF110 and the de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito. Both engines of Mitsubishi type straddled the fuselage on low-mounted monoplane wings. The crew sat in a split greenhouse-type cockpit area in the center of the design with a single rudder fin in the aft tail assembly. Armament consisted of a single 37mm cannon with semi-automatic action in the nose. Twin 20mm cannons were mounted in an oblique upward-facing position between pilot and rear gunner in the cockpit. A single 7.92mm machine gun was fitted as a hand-held defensive measure in the rear cockpit.
Though one might wonder why the aircraft was fitted with just a single 37mm cannon in the nose it is because the intent was there to fit an AI-type radar into the nose assembly in conjunction with the armament. This never materialized due to production difficulties but the systems were nevertheless fielded as nightfighters with competent and overall promising results.
Status Retired, Out-of-Service
[ 477 Units ] : Kawasaki - Japan
36.09 ft (11 m)
49.28 ft (15.02 m)
12.14 ft (3.7 m)
(Showcased structural dimension values pertain to the Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIc Toryu (Nick) production model)
8,818 lb (4,000 kg)
12,125 lb (5,500 kg)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIc Toryu (Nick) production model)
(Showcased powerplant information pertains to the Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIc Toryu (Nick) production model)
336 mph (540 kph; 292 kts)
32,808 feet (10,000 m; 6.21 miles)
1,243 miles (2,000 km; 1,080 nm)
2,343 ft/min (714 m/min)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIc Toryu (Nick) production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
1 x 37mm Type 98 cannon in forward-firing nose mount
2 x 20mm Ho-5 cannon in upward-firing fuselage position
1 x 7.92mm machine gun in hand-held dorsal gun position
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIc Toryu (Nick) production model)
Ki-45 - Prototype Model Designation
Ki-45 KAI - Prototype Model Designation and Pre-Production Model Designation.
Ki-45 KAIa - Initial Production Variant; fitted with 1 x 20mm cannon, 2 x 12.7mm machine guns and 1 x 7.92mm machine (rear cockpit).
Ki-45 KAIb - Fitted with Mitsubishi Ha-102 at 1,050 horsepower; armament consisted of 1 x 37mm forward-firing fuselage mounted cannon, 1 x 20mm cannon in nose and 1 x 7.92mm machine gun in rear cokcpit; trialled with 75mm cannon for anti-shipping duty.
Ka-45 KAIc - Dedicated Night-Fighter Variant; fitted with 1 x 37mm cannon, 2 x 20mm cannons and 1 x 7.92mm machine gun.
Ki-45 KAId - Maritime Patrol Fighter
Ki-45 II - Proposed Experimental Model
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.
Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world and WDMMA.org, the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft.