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Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate (Frank) Fighter Aircraft

The Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate was one of the more important Japanese fighters in the final year of World War 2.

 Updated: 9/3/2015; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

Out of the many fine fighters available to the Japanese Army in the closing months of World War 2, none were of greater import than the arrival of the Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate (meaning "gale" and known as "Frank" to the Allies. The single engine fighter was a respected performer capable matching up against the Allied North American Mustangs while fielding enough firepower to take down the high-flying and well-defended Boeing B-29 Superfortresses. Though Japan had developed various capable platforms towards the end of the war, the Ki-84 Hayate was really one of the only designs to ever see production quantities of note, for some 3,500 examples were produced up until the final days of the war - this production covering just about a year and a half.

Like all late-stage Japanese fighter designs, the Hayate was designed with superior views from the cockpit, a powerful and proven engine, slender and aerodynamic fuselage and armament consisting of a mix of machine gun and cannon. The heart of the system was a Nakajima-brand Ha-45 type radial piston engine capable of delivering some 1,800 horsepower. The engine allowed for a top speed of nearly 400 miles per hour, a service ceiling of close to 35,000 feet and an operational range of just over 1,000 miles. Additionally, the airframe and powerplant proved the Ki-84 to be quite maneuverable in a dogfight even when sparring against the best American counterparts. Base armament of early models included a 2 x 12.7mm machine gun array in the upper forward fuselage part of the nose and 2 x 20mm cannons buried in the wings. Later models - in particular the Ki-84-III "bomber destroyer" - would sport an even more impressive 2 x 20mm cannon setup in the fuselage nose and 2 x 30mm cannons in the wings. Bombs could also be carried under wing and would be of the 551lb variety.

Ultimately, the avoidance of the Allied bombing campaign became impossible and as such, production and resources were in short supply. The number of Hayates in service performed admirably yet those in service were in such constant use that the series suffered reliability issues as a whole. Despite this, the Nakajima Ki-84 was of a stellar design and, given more in the way of numbers and time, might have made more of an impact in defense of Japan. The Ki-84 was in service until the last few days of the conflict.

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Nakajima Ki-84-Ia Hayate (Frank) Technical Specifications

Service Year: 1944
Type: Fighter Aircraft
National Origin: Imperial Japan
Manufacturer(s): Nakajima - Japan
Production Total: 3,500

Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

Operating Crew (Typical): 1
Overall Length: 32.55 feet (9.92 meters)
Overall Width: 36.88 feet (11.24 meters)
Overall Height: 11.12 feet (3.39 meters)

Weight (Empty): 5,864 lb (2,660 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 8,576 lb (3,890 kg)

Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

Propulsion: 1 x Nakajima Ha-45 radial piston engine developing 1,800 horsepower.

Maximum Speed: 392 mph (631 kph; 341 knots)
Maximum Range: 1,053 miles (1,695 km)
Service Ceiling: 34,449 feet (10,500 meters; 6.52 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 2,780 feet-per-minute (847 m/min)

Armament / Mission Payload

2 x 12.7mm Ho-103 machine guns in fuselage nose
2 x 20mm Ho-5 cannons in wings

2 x 551lb bombs under wings

Global Operators / Customers

Imperial Japan

Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

Ki-84-I - Base Series Designation
Ki-84-Ia - Fitted with Nakajima Ha-45 radial piston engine of 1,800hp; 2 x 12.7mm machine guns in nose and 2 x 20mm cannons in wings.
Ki-84-Ic - Converted Dedicated "Bomber Destroyer" Variant; fitted with 2 x 20mm nose cannon (in place of the standard 12.7mm machine guns) and 2 x 30mm wing cannons.
Ki-116 - Final Production Series Model; based on the Ki-84-Ia model.