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Kayaba Katsuodori


Ramjet-and-Rocket Powered Interceptor Proposal


Imperial Japan | 1945



"Since 1937, Japanese engineers were working on the ramjet concept that was to power the proposed Kayaba Katsuodori ramjet-and-rocket-powered interceptor of World War 2."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/10/2021 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
Aircraft propulsion by way of the "ramjet" had been on the minds of aeronautical engineers for some time leading up to World War 2 (1939-1945). Its history lay in the years surrounding World War 1 (1914-1918) but the concept was too advanced for the materials of the time. The arrangement essentially called for the engine to use its forward motion to compress incoming air and produce the needed forward thrust (in this way it would not depend on an axial compressor arrangement to pressurize gasses). One of the inherent restrictions of the powerplant was its inability to produce thrust at zero airspeed - thus negating its value during the take-off phase and requiring use of a supporting thrust package, such as that offered by rocket motors.

Prior to World War 2, scientist around the world were delving into the prospect of ramjet-powered flight and its mysteries did not evade the interest of Japanese engineers. During 1937, teams were formed to explore the concept further with the intent of producing a viable, low-cost aircraft for military service. This work spanned into the war years and the need for such an aircraft only grew once American bombers began appearing over Japanese cities with some regularity.

The Kayaba Katsuodori was the result of this endeavor, a single-seat, ramjet-powered interceptor-minded platform which utilized a short, tailless fuselage configuration with swept-back wing mainplanes. The cockpit would be held well-forward and offered exceptional vision for the pilot. The mid-mounted mainplanes were affixed ahead of midships with each tip capped by small vertical stabilizers. The ramjet propulsion system was buried within the tubular fuselage and a rocket-assist scheme (consisting of four externally-held rocket pods) was to be used. The rocket pods were installed under the wing roots and jettisoned once their usefulness had run out. Having achieved the required speeds, the aircraft would then continue on under ramjet power with a flying window of about 30 minutes being estimated. To aspirate the ramjet, the nose section featured an intake. No conventional undercarriage was to be fitted, instead the aircraft would glide back home powerless and land on a belly-mounted skid. The ramjet under consideration for the project became the Kayaba Model 1 which promised 1,655lb thrust output.

Since the aircraft never achieved prototype form, performance specifications were estimated and this included a maximum speed of 560 miles per hour with a rate-of-climb around 11,000 feet-per-minute. The latter would prove a good quality to have in interception sorties. The service ceiling was listed at 49,215 feet. Dimensions were an overall length of 14.7 feet, a wingspan of 29.5 feet and a height of 6 feet. Empty weight was 1,875 lb with a listed loaded weight of 6,615 lb.

As an interceptor attempting to tackle very large, slow-moving (but well-defended) targets, it was seen to arm the jet appropriately through 2 x 30mm Ho-301 series cannons - this was a suitable arrangement to counter even the high-flying and technologically advanced Boeing B-29 "Superfortress" which had made its presence known since mid-1944. The cannons would have been embedded in the sides of the nose.

Design work on the Katsuodori progressed into 1943 and plans were underway to begin construction of a working prototype for the following year. However, Japan's fortunes in the war had worsened into 1944 and the attention of authorities turned to more viable military weapons such as the Rikugun Ki-202 "Sharp Sword", a rocket-powered interceptor based on the German wartime Messerschmitt Me 163 "Komet".

This spelled the end of the line for the little ramjet-powered interceptor.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Kayaba Katsuodori Ramjet-and-Rocket Powered Interceptor Proposal.
1 x Kayaba Model 1 ramjet engine developing 1,653 lb of thrust; 4 x Rocket boosters for take-off.
Propulsion
559 mph
900 kph | 486 kts
Max Speed
49,213 ft
15,000 m | 9 miles
Service Ceiling
249 miles
400 km | 216 nm
Operational Range
3,333 ft/min
1,016 m/min
Rate-of-Climb
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Kayaba Katsuodori Ramjet-and-Rocket Powered Interceptor Proposal.
1
(MANNED)
Crew
14.8 ft
4.50 m
O/A Length
29.5 ft
(9.00 m)
O/A Width
6.1 ft
(1.85 m)
O/A Height
1,874 lb
(850 kg)
Empty Weight
6,614 lb
(3,000 kg)
MTOW
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
RANGE
ALT
SPEED
Armament
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Kayaba Katsuodori Ramjet-and-Rocket Powered Interceptor Proposal .
PROPOSED:
2 x 30mm Ho-301 cannons in nose
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Kayaba Katsuodori family line.
Katsuodori - Base Series Name; design work only.
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Kayaba Katsuodori. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 0 Units

Contractor(s): Kayaba - Imperial Japan
National flag of modern Japan

[ Imperial Japan (cancelled) ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 750mph
Lo: 375mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (559mph).

Graph Average of 563 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
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1 / 1
Image of the Kayaba Katsuodori
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
INTERCEPTION
X-PLANE
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Kayaba Katsuodori Ramjet-and-Rocket Powered Interceptor Proposal appears in the following collections:
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