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Kawanishi N1K-J Shiden (George)

Imperial Japan (1943)
Picture of Kawanishi N1K-J Shiden (George) Fighter Aircraft
Picture of Kawanishi N1K-J Shiden (George) Fighter Aircraft Picture of Kawanishi N1K-J Shiden (George) Fighter Aircraft
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By all accounts, the Kawanishi Shiden was an outstanding performer - regarded by many as the best Japanese fighter of World War 2 - and compared favorably to the American Ace-making Grumman F6F Hellcat.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Kawanishi N1K-J Shiden (George) Fighter Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 6/14/2016. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

Despite some early setbacks in design, the Kawanishi N1K1-J "Shiden" (or "violet lightning" - codenamed "George" by the Allies), was an exemplary fighter that was capable of going head-to-head with even the fabled American F6F Hellcat series. Operating from land-bases, the Shiden featured a powerful engine, streamlined fuselage and potent armament display that provided Japanese forces with a fast and heavy-hitter in the latter stages of the Pacific War. Despite their successes, the system was only fielded in 1,400+ examples, limiting their reach and overall potential to an extent.

The Kawanishi design bureau had already been at work on a versatile floatplane and saw an opportunity to extend that design into a land-based variant. Using the same developed airframe, the N1K1-J was born from the existing N1K1 floatplane and featured an all-new Nakajima radial piston engine along with a newly-engineered landing gear system. The prototype N1K1-J premiered in late 1942 with production beginning the following year.

Kawanishi produced a very slender, almost featureless, design making for one streamlined airframe. Wings were low-mounted monoplanes just under and forward of the high-mounted cockpit, offering up good visibility. The engine was well forward of the cockpit and featured a large propeller hub and fitted engine cowling. All vertical and horizontal surfaces were curved and straight-edged, no doubt adding to the performance capabilities of the system. Power was derived from a single Nakajima NK9H Homare 21 radial piston engine producing an impressive 1,990 horsepower. Performance statistics reported a top speed of up to 363 miles per hour, a service ceiling of nearly 20,000 feet and an operational range of up to 890 miles. Armament consisted of a pair of 7.7mm Type 97 machine guns in the nose engine cowling and an additional 4 x 20mm cannons in the wings. Later models would feature provisions for external underwing bomb racks, adding to the already impressive armament array of this aircraft.

Entry into the war for the Shiden initially produced some mixed results as the powerplant proved to be in need of some more attention. Additionally, with new design elements on existing airframes come new problems, such being the case with the landing gear system (a system obviously not present in the floatplane design). On the combat side of things, however, the Shiden design never failed, proving to be more than a match for its American counterparts. The base N1K1-J series was produced in three follow-up variants that addressed different armament arrangements and bomb loads. An "improved" N1K1-J model was formed in the N1K1-2 series and addressed the aforementioned engine and landing issues along with other subtle design elements. By war's end, the Shiden had already made its mark as - at the very least - one of the top three Japanese fighters of the war.


Picture of the Kawanishi N1K-J Shiden (George) Fighter Aircraft
Picture of the Kawanishi N1K-J Shiden (George) Fighter Aircraft



Any available statistics for the Kawanishi N1K-J Shiden (George) Fighter Aircraft are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).






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.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (363mph).

    Graph average of 300 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 N1K1-J Shiden (George)'s operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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
1435
1435


  * 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: 1943
Type: Fighter Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Kawanishi - Japan
Production: 1,435
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 N1K1-J Shiden (George) model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
29.17 ft


Meters
8.89 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
39.37 ft


Meters
12 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
13.32 ft


Meters
4.06 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
6,387 lb


Kilograms
2,897 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
9,526 lb


Kilograms
4,321 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Nakajima NK9H Homare 21 radial piston engine developing 1,990 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
363 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
584 kph


Knots
315 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
890 mi


Kilometers
1,432 km


Nautical Miles
773 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
41,010 ft


Meters
12,500 m


Miles
7.77 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
2,523 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
769 m/min

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Armament - Hardpoints (0):

STANDARD:
2 x 7.7mm Type 97 machine guns in nose
4 x 20mm Type 99 cannons in wings

N1K1-Jb:
2 x 250kg bombs

N1K1-Jc:
4 x 250kg bombs
Variants: Series Model Variants
• N1K1 - Floatplane Design Designation; Allied codename of "Rex".
• N1K1-J - Land-Based Design Designation based on the floatplane design; Allied codename of "George".
• N1K1-Ja - Sans nose guns; all-wing gun mounts.
• N1K1-Jb - Provision for 2 x underwing stores totaling 1,102lbs of ordnance.
• N1K1-Jc - Provision for 4 x underwing stores totaling 2,204lbs of ordnance.
• N1K2-J - "Improved" N1K1 Version; revised cowling, redesigned fuselage and redesigned land gear system.