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Kawanishi Baika (Ume Blossom)

Pilot-Guided, Pulsejet-Powered Expendable Suicide Aircraft

Imperial Japan | 1945

"Powered by a pulsejet engine, the Kawanishi Baika was to serve in the kamikaze attack role - none were built by the end of World War 2."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 08/24/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The Japanese benefitted greatly from the alliance struck with Nazi Germany during World War 2 (1939-1945). The Germans sent complete examples of both aircraft and engines along with engineering paperwork to Japan in an effort to help their ally in the Pacific region stave off elimination during the years-long war. The Japanese were only able to do so much amidst a worsening war situation and copied several designs (including the Messerschmitt Me 163 "Komet" rocket-powered fighter and the Messerschmitt Me 262 "Schwalbe" jet-powered fighter) while beginning development of offshoots based on these German concepts. Among the technologies passed onto Japanese engineers was the pulsejet engine.

The pulsejets offered considerable performance improvements over traditional piston-powered aircraft types. They were also lighter and less complex than turbojets of the period. However, one limitation lay in the inability for the pulsejet to generate its own thrust from zero airspeed, requiring an additional, external power source such as rocket booster to achieve take-off. Once at a certain minimum airspeed, the rockets were jettisoned and the pulsejet could take over.

Pulsejets produced their thrust by way of its own forward motion with air being drawn through the intake at front and exhausted as hot gas through the rear port. In between, valves ensured a proper closure of the combustion chamber where ignition of the air mixed with fuel took place. The result was forward thrust suitable for use in high-speed military aircraft delivered in pulses, hence its name - Pulsejet.

The German Argus As 014 pulsejet came to the Japanese and it was this propulsion system that was featured in the V-1 terror rockets killing London citizens in the war. The manned counterpart of the V-1 was the Fieseler Fi 103R "Reichenberg" which retained the basic form and function of the V-1 but added a single-seat cockpit. The same engine would be used to power a new Japanese suicide attack platform in the Kawanishi "Baika" ("Ume Blossom") - itself developed as a single-seat, single-engine attack platform similar to the Fi 103R.

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While the Kawanishi aircraft took on a largely conventional appearance with its low-set monoplane wings, mid-set cockpit, single-finned tail unit and tail-dragger (jettisonable) undercarriage, a pulsejet engine installation was installed over the aft dorsal section of the fuselage. Rocket boosters would have given it the take-off power needed. It was intended for service with the Imperial Japanese Navy whose power during the war was ebbing away weekly. The original design was known as Type I.

Type II followed and was a revision of the basic approach, the pulsejet engine moved slightly forwards over the dorsal spine. This variant was intended for launching from IJN submarines giving the weapon and a direct line to vital American and British warships operating in the theater. From this came the final proposed iteration of the Baika concept - the Type III. This design was more of a radical departure from the previous two offerings, its pulsejet engine to be mounted ventrally and, lacking any undercarriage system, was to be air-launched by a Japanese bomber.

Regardless of the planning and physical work put into the Baika project, nothing came of it save for prototypes of the Argus pulsejet engine - known locally as the Maru Ka 10 series and promising an output rating of 795 lb thrust. The end of the war ended all work on these suicide aircraft and their respective engines.

Estimated performance included a maximum speed of 405 mph, a cruising speed of 300 mph, a range out to 175 miles and a service ceiling of 6565 feet. As its intended over-battlefield role was in kamikaze strikes, high altitude operation was of little concern. Armament was to become a 550lb explosive warhead built into the airframe. As with other kamikaze weapons of the war, the pilot was to sacrifice himself along with his aircraft - a costly investment in war.

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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 Kawanishi Baika (Ume Blossom) Pilot-Guided, Pulsejet-Powered Expendable Suicide Aircraft.
1 x Maru Ka 10 (Argus As 014) pulsejet engine developing 795 lb of thrust; 2 or 4 x Rocket boosters for take-off (estimated).
404 mph
650 kph | 351 kts
Max Speed
6,562 ft
2,000 m | 1 miles
Service Ceiling
174 miles
280 km | 151 nm
Operational Range
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Kawanishi Baika (Ume Blossom) Pilot-Guided, Pulsejet-Powered Expendable Suicide Aircraft.
22.8 ft
6.95 m
O/A Length
21.7 ft
(6.60 m)
O/A Width
13.1 ft
(4.00 m)
O/A Height
1,653 lb
(750 kg)
Empty Weight
3,153 lb
(1,430 kg)
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Kawanishi Baika (Ume Blossom) Pilot-Guided, Pulsejet-Powered Expendable Suicide Aircraft .
1 x 550 lb explosive warhead payload.
Notable series variants as part of the Kawanishi Baika (Ume Blossom) family line.
Baika - Base Project Name
Type I - Jettisonable undercarriage; conventional take-off capable (rocket-assisted); pulsejet engine fitted dorsally behind cockpit position.
Type II - Sans undercarriage; submarine-launch capable; pulsejet engine relocated slightly forwards when compared to Type I offering.
Type III - Sans undercarriage; air-launched; pulsejet engine moved to ventral position.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Kawanishi Baika (Ume Blossom). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 0 Units

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

[ Imperial Japan ]
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Image of the Kawanishi Baika (Ume Blossom)
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Developments of similar form-and-function, or related, to the Kawanishi Baika (Ume Blossom) Pilot-Guided, Pulsejet-Powered Expendable Suicide Aircraft.
Going Further...
The Kawanishi Baika (Ume Blossom) Pilot-Guided, Pulsejet-Powered Expendable Suicide Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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