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Kawanishi N1K-J Shiden (George)

Fighter Aircraft

Kawanishi N1K-J Shiden (George)

Fighter Aircraft

OVERVIEW
SPECIFICATIONS
ARMAMENT
VARIANTS
HISTORY
IMAGES
Overview



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.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: Imperial Japan
YEAR: 1943
MANUFACTURER(S): Kawanishi - Japan
PRODUCTION: 1,435
OPERATORS: Imperial Japan
National flag of Imperial Japan
JPN
Technical Specifications



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.
CREW: 1
POWER: 1 x Nakajima NK9H Homare 21 radial piston engine developing 1,990 horsepower.
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Armament



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
Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Variants / Models



• 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.


History



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.




Media







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

Graph average of 300 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
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  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 (1,435)
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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Supported Roles
A2A
Interception
UAV
Ground Attack
CAS
Training
ASW
Anti-Ship
AEW
MEDEVAC
EW
Maritime/Navy
SAR
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
VIP
Passenger
Business
Recon
SPECOPS
X-Plane/Development
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
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 pioneering aircraft
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 representing modern aircraft
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 War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.


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