Military Factory logo

Kawasaki Ki-64 (Rob)

Imperial Japan (1943)
Picture of Kawasaki Ki-64 (Rob) Prototype Heavy Fighter Aircraft

First flight of the Kawasaki Ki-64 heavy fighter was undertaken in December of 1943 though the program was ultimately given up in 1944 with only one example completed.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Kawasaki Ki-64 (Rob) Prototype Heavy Fighter Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 4/5/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

During the height of World War 2 (1939-1945), all major participants undertook various programs to further evolve existing weapons platforms. For the Japanese concern of Kawasaki, a 1943 initiative produced the experimental "Ki-64" single-seat, piston-driven fighter. The type managed to be constructed through only a single prototype offering and the program, as a whole, was abandoned shortly after a test flight ended in a forced landing due to fire. First flight of the Ki-64 was recorded sometime in December of 1943 and the aircraft was codenamed "Rob" by the Allies.

For all intents and purposes, the Ki-64 was of a conventional fighter aircraft design with a unique internal arrangement intended to promote excellent top-line speeds and performance essential to countering developments by the Americans in the Pacific. One of the most notable qualities of the design was its coupling of two Kawasaki Ha-40 Army Type 2 liquid-cooled, inline piston engines which, when mated, was recognized under the designation of "Ha-201". It is noteworthy that the Ha-40 was nothing more than a localized production copy of the excellent German-originated Daimler-Benz DB 601Aa series inline engine powering the equally-excellent Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter - manufacturing licenses granted to both Kawasaki and Aichi Japanese concerns. The powerplant provided the Kawasaki airframe with an output of some 2,350 horsepower allowing for top speeds of nearly 430 miles per hour and an operating ceiling near 40,000 feet. Range was out to 620 miles with a rate-of-climb of approximately 3,000 feet per minute. The airframe exhibited an empty weight of 9,000lbs and a gross weight of 11,200lbs. Kawasaki classified their Ki-64 as a "heavy" fighter as a result. The Ha-40 was later redesignated to "Ha-60" following the 1944 restructured designation system.
Outwardly, the Ki-64 showcased a basic fighter form including straight, low-mounted wing apendages, a streamlined airframe and single, curved vertical tail fin. The undercarriage was wholly retractable of the "tail dragger" variety. The pilot sat ahead of amidships under a lightly-framed canopy with adequate views of the action. Due to the limited internal volume of the airframe (of slim design profile), one of the Ha-40 engines was fitted ahead of the cockpit in the usual way with the second engine added to a compartment just aft of the cockpit. The rear engine was connected to the forward system via a drive shaft running under the cockpit floor (similar to the American Bell P-39 Airacobra fighter). This allowed full output from both engines to be featured or the ability to fly on a single unit if need be. To the engine pairing was added 2 x three-bladed propeller systems arranged in a contra-rotating fashion, designed to take full advantage of performance output at speed. It is noteworthy that engine output was not combined to both propellers. Instead, the rear engine drove the frontal propeller assembly independently of the front engine driving the rear-set propeller. The forward propeller was of a variable pitch design while the rearward propeller was fixed pitch.

As a fighter intended to tackle enemy fighters in turn as well as Allied bombers pummeling Japanese territorial and mainland installations, Kawasaki considered their Ki-64 with a battery of 4 x 20mm Ho-5 series cannons or 2 x 20mm Ho-5 cannons supplemented by 2 x 12.7mm Ho-103 series heavy machine guns. In either case, this armament array would have been formidable in combat.

Testing of the Ki-64 continued into 1944. During its fifth flight, the rear engine installation erupted into fire which immediately sent the pilot into landing the aircraft. While the landing proved successful without loss of life, the impact of the crash damaged the test frame considerably. This proved an insurmountable setback for the program to which the Ki-64 was dropped from further development, leaving it to the pages of military aviation history.

Like many other programs begun prior to the end of the war in 1945 (be they aircraft or tank), the Ki-64 airframe was eventually captured and overtaken by the advancing Allies. Its design was then handed over to American engineers for study before being discarded to the scrapheap. Thus ended the short-lived reign of the Ki-64 heavy fighter.






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 Rating
Hi: 500mph
Lo: 250mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (429mph).

    Graph average of 375 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-64 (Rob)'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 Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
1
1


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
  Compare this entry against other aircraft using our Comparison Tool  
National Flag Graphic
Origin: Imperial Japan
Year: 1943
Type: Prototype Heavy Fighter Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Kawasaki - Imperial Japan
Production: 1
Global Operators:
Imperial Japan (cancelled)
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-64 (Rob) model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
36.09 ft


Meters
11 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
44.29 ft


Meters
13.5 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
13.94 ft


Meters
4.25 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
8,929 lb


Kilograms
4,050 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
11,244 lb


Kilograms
5,100 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Kawasaki Ha-201 (2 x Ha-40 (Daimler-Benz DB 601Aa inline)) V12 liquid-cooled, inline piston engine developing 2,350 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
429 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
690 kph


Knots
373 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
621 mi


Kilometers
1,000 km


Nautical Miles
540 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
39,370 ft


Meters
12,000 m


Miles
7.46 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
2,900 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
884 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):

PROPOSED:
4 x 20mm Ho-5 cannons OR 2 x Ho-5 cannons and 2 x 12.7mm Ho-103 heavy machine guns.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Ki-64 - Base Series Designation