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Kawasaki Ki-60

Imperial Japan (1941)
Picture of Kawasaki Ki-60 Single-Seat, Single-Engine Interceptor / Fighter Aircraft

The prototype Japanese Kawasaki Ki-60 utilized the German Diamler-Benz DB 601 series inline piston engine as the Kawasaki Ha-40.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Kawasaki Ki-60 Single-Seat, Single-Engine Interceptor / Fighter Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 7/3/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The Kawasaki Ki-60 was an ultimately abandoned interceptor/fighter design that was attempted as early as 1941 with the program born to an Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) requirement for such an aircraft in 1939. The fighter would utilize a liquid-cooled inline piston engine and refined aerodynamics to promote a strong rate-of-climb while utilizing cannon as primary armament to contend with the latest in Allied offerings - particularly the larger, heavier bomber types. The engine of choice became the German Daimler-Benz DB 601 series inline which was locally manufactured in Japan as the Kawasaki "Ha-40", set to deliver 1,175 horsepower output. Kawasaki also undertook the design and development of the airframe and this work was attributed to engineers Takeo Doi and Shin Owada. Doi ultimately participated in several notable Japanese aircraft designs including the Ki-45 "Toryu" heavy fighter and Ki-100 fighter.

The Ki-60 was to become a part of a two-phase program, the Ki-60 representing the heavier, cannon-armed interceptor against the lighter, machine gun-armed fighter in the Ki-61 "Hien". Work on the Ki-60 began in February of 1940 and led to a completed, flyable form by March of 1941. By this time, the Japanese Empire was fully embroiled in the World War against the major parties of the Pacific Theater, primarily the British along with her commonwealth allies (it would not be until December of 1941 that the United States would officially declare war on Japan).

The Ki-60 was originally intended to carry 2 x 0.50 caliber Ho-103 heavy machine guns in the nose and 2 x 20mm Mauser MG 151 cannons in the wings which would have given it formidable firepower against any modern aircraft type of the period. The nose guns were synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades and installed slightly offset from one another - the left-side gun projecting slightly further than the right-side installation. The Mauser cannons were fitted in the wings, one gun to a wing. While slower firing and with a limited ammunition supply compared to the machine guns, cannons were excellent in bringing down larger bomber aircraft whose frames were keen to absorb much punishment from machine gun weapons. A single cannon shell could wreak havoc through a direct hit on an engine, therefore putting the entire bomber in jeopardy. As an interceptor, the Ki-60 did not require provision for external munitions such as bombs and no mention of aerial rockets was made.

The Ki-60 was of a largely conventional external configuration with the engine set within a forward compartment, the cockpit at the middle and a tapered empennage. The inline engine drove a three-bladed propeller assembly which was synchronized with two machine guns mounted in the cowling. The cockpit was set just ahead of midships with adequate views over the nose and to the sides. The canopy was lightly frames with a raised spine aft, though the aft section was completed as transparent to improve views to the "six". The raised spine projected a deep fuselage for the aircraft, as did the radiator installation between the wing main units. Each main wing unit was straight in its design with rounded tips and housed a cannon or machine gun installation with their applicable ammunition supply. The tail unit sported a single vertical fin (rounded) and low-set horizontal planes. The undercarriage included a pair of retractable main legs (single wheeled) and a tail wheel. This presented the aircraft with a "nose up" appearance when at rest and, coupled to the poor visibility out of the cockpit, made for tricky ground running and taxiing for the pilot.

As built, the prototype Ki-60 tested below expectations, proving too heavy and sluggish at the controls than expected and providing some dangerous flight characteristics to boot. Her top recorded speed was just 350 miles per hour. As such, the follow-up prototypes were revised while they were still under construction at Kawasaki. The Mauser cannons were dropped to reduce weight and replaced by lighter Ho-103 heavy machine guns instead - in effect reducing the interceptor's general effectiveness in combat to just four machine guns. The wing area was increased for better stability and general aerodynamic refinements to the fuselage were made. A second and third prototype were ultimately completed to this new standard but only managed to increase maximum speed by 10 miles per hour while their climb rate was pedestrian for an interceptor type - reaching 16,000 feet in six minutes. The listed operating ceiling was a useful 32,800 feet.

With the Imperial Japanese commitment now spread into Asia and across the vast Pacific, troublesome projects like the Ki-60 were abandoned - only the three prototypes ever completed. The Ki-61 "Hien" fighter continued development (borrowing some of the lessons learned in the Ki-60 development) and managed to be built in 3,159 examples for the IJAAF, the first batches beginning service in 1943. This model also begat the Ki-100 fighter which appeared in 395 examples in the early part of 1945. The IJAAF used the Nakajima Ki-44 "Shoki" fighter as an interceptor to replace the original Ki-60 specification and these aircraft emerged in 1942 and saw 1,225 produced before the end of the war in September of 1945.

Any available statistics for the Kawasaki Ki-60 Single-Seat, Single-Engine Interceptor / 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).




General Assessment (BETA)
Firepower  
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Performance  
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Survivability  
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Versatility  
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Impact  
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Rating: 52 (of 100)
The rating is an internal assessment derived from forty factors pertaining to this entry.
Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (348mph).

    Graph average of 300 miles-per-hour.
Aviation Era
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Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
3
3


  * 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: 1941
Type: Single-Seat, Single-Engine Interceptor / Fighter Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Kawasaki - Imperial Japan
Production: 3
Status: Cancelled
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-60 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
27.56 ft


Meters
8.4 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
32.09 ft


Meters
9.78 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
9.02 ft


Meters
2.75 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
10,362 lb


Kilograms
4,700 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
14,110 lb


Kilograms
6,400 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Kawasaki Ha-40 (Daimler-Benz DB 601) liquid-cooled inverted V12 inline piston engine developing 1,175 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
348 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
560 kph


Knots
302 kts


Performance
CEILING


Feet
32,808 ft


Meters
10,000 m


Miles
6.21 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
2,000 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
610 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
Armament - Hardpoints (0):

ORIGINAL:
2 x 12.7mm Ho-103 heavy machine guns in engine cowling, synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.
2 x 20mm Mauser MG 151 cannons in wings

REVISED:
2 x 12.7mm Ho-103 heavy machine guns in engine cowling, synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.
2 x 12.7mm Ho-103 heavy machine guns in wings
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Ki-60 - Base Series Designation; three prototypes completed before project cancellation.