STATUS: Retired, Out-of-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Kawasaki - Japan
OPERATORS: Imperial Japan
LENGTH: 29.33 feet (8.94 meters)
WIDTH: 39.37 feet (12 meters)
HEIGHT: 12.14 feet (3.7 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 5,798 pounds (2,630 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 7,650 pounds (3,470 kilograms)
ENGINE: 1 x Kawasaki Ha-40 V-12 piston engine developing 1,180 horsepower.
SPEED (MAX): 367 miles-per-hour (590 kilometers-per-hour; 319 knots)
RANGE: 1,118 miles (1,800 kilometers; 972 nautical miles)
CEILING: 32,808 feet (10,000 meters; 6.21 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 2,343 feet-per-minute (714 meters-per-minute)
Detailing the development and operational history of the Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien (Tony) Single-Seat, Single-Engine Monoplane Fighter / Interceptor Aircraft.
Entry last updated on 5/19/2018.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien (meaning "Swallow" and codenamed "Tony" by the Allies) was another of the oft-forgotten yet impressive Japanese-brand fighter designs of the Second World War, joining the equally impressive Kawanishi N1K1-J Shiden - in this author's opinion. Not without its developmental problems early on, the Ki-61 nonetheless forged into a well-oiled killing machine with a potent armament, sufficient armor for pilot and fuel alike and impressive performance numbers to rival anything offered up by the Allies at the time.
The Ki-61 became a design reality by 1940 and was the brainchild of Shin Owada and Takeo Doi. Their previous design experiences saw them working under German aircraft designer Richard Vogt and the German influence in the Ki-61 could readily be seen to the aviation-educated eye. Additionally, the German mark on this series of aircraft was made ever moreso with the inclusion of a license-produced Daimler-Benz DB 601A which were being fielded under the recognizable Japanese label of Ha-40 under the Kawasaki brand. The prototype would be ready to fly by 1941 with full production beginning in 1943.
From an external design standpoint, the Ki-61 featured a sleek and slender fuselage design. The engine was placed well ahead of the cockpit, with the latter being situated in the center-forward position of the upper fuselage. The wings were of a monoplane low-mounted type with rounded edges, as were the horizontal and vertical tail surfaces adorning the empennage. Power was derived form a single Kawasaki V-12 piston engine, offering up performance statistics including a 367 miles per hour top speed, a 16,404 foot ceiling limit and an equally impressive 1,118 mile operational range. To the trained observer, the Ki-61 definitely shared some similarities to other nation aircraft designs, almost always compared favorably as a meshing of the German Messerschmitt Bf 109 and the American North American P-51 Mustang. The nose design could easily be associated with either design, as can the placement of the cockpit, smallish tail section and the under-fuselage scoop.
The Ki-61 proved a worthwhile platform in service through to the end of the war. The system was actually one of the few Japanese aircraft to be able to engage the Boeing B-29 Superfortress at its normal operating altitude and was capable of handling it with some power thanks to the Hien's powerful 4 x 20mm cannon array. Joining the ranks of capable fighters in World War 2, the Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien certainly is a worthy mention in any discussion - at the very least earning the title of one of the better Japanese-branded fighters of the conflict. Some 3,000 Hiens in various forms were produced.
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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 (367mph).
Graph average of 300 miles-per-hour.
Graph showcases the Kawasaki Ki-61-1 KAIc Hien (Tony)'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