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Kawasaki Ki-96

Imperial Japan (1943)
Picture of Kawasaki Ki-96 Twin-Engine Heavy Fighter Prototype Aircraft

Only three prototypes of the Kawasaki Ki-96 twin-engined heavy fighter were ever completed before the end of World War 2.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Kawasaki Ki-96 Twin-Engine Heavy Fighter Prototype Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 7/3/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

After witnessing the successes encountered by the German Messerschmitt Bf 110 twin-engine, two-seat heavy fighter over Europe, the Empire of Japan requested similar designs. Kawasaki delivered their Ki-48 "Sokei" as a light fast bomber in 1940 and this was then followed by the excellent Ki-45 "Toryu" in 1941. While limited in several areas, the Ki-48 gave good service through to the end of the war and the Ki-45 ended the conflict as the best twin-engine heavy fighters of World War 2.

As the Ki-45 began to prove itself in practical combat heading into 1942, Kawasaki undertook a private venture to deliver an improved replacement beginning in August. The new design incorporated the basic features of the Ki-45 including its two-seat crew placement, streamlined fuselage with single vertical tail fin and twin-engine configuration. The cockpit was set well forward in the design aft of a short nose cone. The fuselage was tapered heading towards the fin and horizontal tailplanes were affixed low on the rudder. Engines were of the air-cooled radial type, each driving three-bladed propellers. The undercarriage was wholly retractable and consisted of two single-wheeled main legs under each engine nacelle and a single-wheeled tail leg - also retractable. Power was served through 2 x Mitsubishi Ha.112-II series 14-cylinder, air-cooled radial piston engines developing 1,500 horsepower each - an improvement over the Ha.102 radials of 1,050 horsepower each featured in the Ki-45. Performance indicated a maximum speed of 373 miles per hour with a range out to 995 miles and service ceiling of 37,700 feet. The aircraft recorded a climb rate of 16,400 feet in six minutes which gave it strong interception qualities. Armament was 1 x 37mm Ho-203 cannon supplemented by 2 x 20mm Ho-5 cannons. The aircraft was assigned the company model designation of Ki-96 and classified as a heavy fighter in the same vein as the German Bf 110 - intended to fulfill the same battlefield function.

After presenting their product to authorities, the type was given attention though under the request that the design be converted to a single-seat heavy fighter form, perhaps to shore up a dwindling stock of qualified pilots. Changes were quickly made and the form was completed for showing and first flew in September of 1943. However, the conversion was not entirely finished for the prototype still exhibited the full-length two-seat canopy for the now-single-seat cockpit. Nevertheless, performance was retained and the type proved important enough to the Japanese scope that development progressed. An additional two prototypes followed, though these were completed from the outset with their single-seat canopy covers which presented more of the finalized Ki-96 form.

For whatever reason, Japanese authorities returned to Kawasaki and ordered the design to be reverted back to its two-seat fighter form, presenting a major delay to the program. By this time, the situation across Japan and its territorial holdings had deteriorated to the point that development of the Ki-96 was halted altogether. The project netted just the three prototypes and no preproduction or production quality forms followed. The war ended in August after the Allied atomic bomb drops on Japan and a formal surrender followed in September, brining about the formal end of World War 2.

The Ki-102 was another possible Ki-45 replacement which did manage to see 238 production forms completed. It was of a similar twin-engine, two-crew design and classified as a heavy fighter and produced in three distinct versions - fighter, ground attack and night fighter. The line was introduced in 1944 and saw action through to the end of the war in 1945. The Ki-102 held origins in the incomplete Ki-96 design and is detailed elsewhere on this site.

Any available statistics for the Kawasaki Ki-96 Twin-Engine Heavy Fighter Prototype 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).






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: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (373mph).

    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-96'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
3
3


  * 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: Twin-Engine Heavy Fighter Prototype 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-96 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
37.57 ft


Meters
11.45 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
51.08 ft


Meters
15.57 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
12.14 ft


Meters
3.7 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
10,031 lb


Kilograms
4,550 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
13,228 lb


Kilograms
6,000 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
2 x Mitsubishi Ha112-II 14-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engines developing 1,500 horsepower each.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
373 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
600 kph


Knots
324 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
994 mi


Kilometers
1,600 km


Nautical Miles
864 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
37,730 ft


Meters
11,500 m


Miles
7.15 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
2,733 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
833 m/min

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Armament - Hardpoints (0):

PROPOSED:
1 x 37mm Ho-203 cannon
2 x 20mm Ho-5 cannons
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Ki-96 - Base Series Designation