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Kawasaki Ki-100

Imperial Japan (1945)
Picture of Kawasaki Ki-100 Fighter Aircraft

The Kawasaki Ki-100 was the definitive high-performance fighter for Imperial Japan, oft-regarded as the best fighter the country fielded by the end of the war in 1945.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Kawasaki Ki-100 Fighter Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 4/5/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

Despite being produced in severely limited numbers (thanks in large part to the Allied bombing campaigns in the Pacific), the Kawasaki Ki-100 is often regarded as one of the best Japanese production fighters available in the closing months of the war. The system was designed as an off-shoot of the semi-successful Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien yet it offered up better high-altitude performance that allowed for the interception of the high-flying American B-29 Superfortresses. The Ki-100 proved to be a valued and capable performer, which in itself was a triumph considering the series did nothing more than attach a successful powerplant to an existing airframe (Ki-61-II models) done in initially by its own engine shortage.

The Ki-100 would have not been a development had the Allied bombing campaign put an end to the factory supplying a new-breed Kawasaki engine powering the Ki-61 series. As a result, Kawasaki found itself with a bounty of empty airframes in need of a powerplant and it was decided to mate the airframes with a proven Mitsubishi-type albeit with a little modification to the Ki-61 design. The result was the Kawasaki Ki-100 fighter series with the Mitsubishi Ha-112-II of 1,500 horsepower. With three such examples produced, the aircraft tested positively and forced the conversion of over 270 airframes of equal design. Combat results were equally favorable, earning the Ki-100 a grand reputation and offering the Japanese Army a true performer in equal terms with American aircraft ingenuity.

Externally, the resulting Ki-100 shared little in resemblance to the preceding Ki-61 design. Still of a low-monoplane wing layout, the noticeable difference was in the enlarged fuselage, particularly at forward, where room was made to accommodate the larger Mitsubishi powerplant. The cockpit was situated high and above the wings, offering up a tremendous view from all sides and to the rear. the cockpit, incidentally, was of an original design related to the proposed Ki-61-III but never executed until the need for the Ki-100 arose. Armament consisted of a pair of 12.7mm machine guns mounted in the fuselage with a single instance of 20mm cannon in each wing. The armament combination offered up good bomber-destroying capabilities that were lacking in most of the earlier Japanese designs. Two under-wing hardpoints provided the system with an optional pair of 551 pound drop bombs for ground attack duties or drop tanks for increased operational range.
Performance from the Mitsubishi Ha-112-II 14-cylinder radial piston engine offered up tremendous capabilities in top speed, ceiling limit and range. Top speed was reported at some 367 miles per hour while, more importantly, the ceiling limit was tabbed at nearly 33,000 feet. maximum range topped out at over 1,200 miles beating out both of the other favorable Japanese fighter designs in the Kawanishi N1K1-J Shiden and the Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien. The success of the Ki-100 necessitated an improved offering that sought to mate a more powerful Ha-112-II in the form of the Ha-112-IIru engine to the design with an integrated turbocharger. The resulting mix would have made for a more capable high-altitude performer but, alas, only three such prototypes (with the series designation of Ki-100-II) were produced before war's end.

The Allied bombing campaign - as it was in Europe - proved successful to derailing further development and improvement to most Axis aircraft creations. Such was the case with the exceptional Ki-100 which, had it been produced in greater numbers, might have provided Japan with a much-needed interceptor to curtail the Allied bombing effort. As it was, however, the Kawasaki Ki-100, though not limited in performance or capability, was done in by the fact that it simply appeared too late in the Pacific Theater to make much of a difference in the outcome that was 1945.






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 (367mph).

    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 Kawasaki Ki-100-Ib's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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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
374
374


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


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Origin: Imperial Japan
Year: 1945
Type: Fighter Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Kawasaki - Japan
Production: 374
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 Kawasaki Ki-100-Ib model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
28.87 ft


Meters
8.8 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
39.37 ft


Meters
12 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
12.30 ft


Meters
3.75 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
5,952 lb


Kilograms
2,700 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
8,091 lb


Kilograms
3,670 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Mitsubishi Ha-112-II 14-cylinder radial piston engine developing 1,500 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
367 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
590 kph


Knots
319 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
772 mi


Kilometers
1,243 km


Nautical Miles
671 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
35,007 ft


Meters
10,670 m


Miles
6.63 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
1,640 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
500 m/min

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft heavy machine gun
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Armament - Hardpoints (2):

STANDARD:
2 x 12.7mm Ho-103/Type 1 machine guns
2 x 20mm Ho-5 cannons in wings

OPTIONAL:
2 x 551lb bombs OR 2 x external drop tanks for increased range.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Ki-61-II - Base Airframe Models on which the design of the Ki-100 is based on; three initial prototypes converted for testing; fitted with Mitsubishi Ha-112-II engines.
• Ki-100-Ia (Army Type 5 Fighter Model 1A) - New Series Designation; 272 examples converted from Ki-61-II airframes.
• Ki-100-Ib - Second Production Offering with subtle design changes; shortened fuselage; redesigned canopy; 99 examples produced before war's end.
• Ki-100-II - Proposed "Improved" Ki-100 Series; only three prototypes produced; fitted with Mitsubishi Ha-112-IIru engines plus turbocharger for improved high-altitude performance capabilities.