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Nakajima AT27

Single-Seat, Twin-Engine Fighter Concept

Imperial Japan | 1942

"Lacking credible intel at the start of World War 2, American authorities thought the Nakajima AT27 to be a real in-service fighter for Japan."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 09/14/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The Nakajima AT27 was a pure concept fighter aircraft originating in the early part of World War 2 (1941-1945). The aircraft was spotted in a Japanese publication (of April 1941) under the article heading "Dreams of Future Designers" and appeared as a streamlined single-seat, twin-engine design of extremely slim profile - making for both a low-drag product and a small target at range. The design was later covered in the American publication "Flight" (of December 1941) which led American intelligence - which lacked credible sources on Japanese air power at the start of the war - to assume the AT27 was a very real fighter/interceptor now in service with the Imperial Japanese air branches. As such, and in keeping with other Japanese aircraft of the period, the Americans assigned it a nickname - in this case "Gus".

Beyond its super-slim appearance, one of the more interesting design qualities of the AT27 was in its planned propulsion scheme: power was to stem from 2 x Vee-type 12-cylinder, liquid-cooled engines developing 1,250 horsepower each, for a grand output total of 2,500 horsepower, to drive a pair of three-bladed propeller units centered at the nose. The blades would spin in contra-rotating fashion, generating considerable pull ability, giving the AT27 exceptional straight-line performance. Estimated maximum speed was to reach 410 miles-per-hour while range would have topped at 1,250 miles. Compared to contemporaries, it can assumed that the AT27's service ceiling would have teased near 40,000 feet - requiring some sort of cockpit pressurization and oxygen supply for operating at such altitudes.

The AT27 exuded sleek styling and clean lines, keeping aerodynamic efficiency at the forefront of its design. The single-seat cockpit was positioned slightly ahead of midships under a low-profile, framed canopy. The pilot's placement was bookended by the engine pairing, one fore with the other aft, and shafts were used to drive the propeller units at the nose. Tapering aft, the fuselage grew evermore slim until terminating at the conventional, single-finned tail unit. A tail-dragger undercarriage, though not detailed, is assumed for the aircraft. The low-mounted mainplanes were to be set ahead of midships and were drawn up as straight appendages with rounded tips and tapering edges. Operating weights were estimated with an empty rating of 8,000lb and a loaded weight near 11,600lb. No structural dimensions were given.

While armament was unknown, the AT27 would most likely have fallen in line with other fighter-interceptors of the mid-war period: perhaps 4 x 20mm automatic cannons or a mix of 2 x 20mm automatic cannons and 12.7mm Heavy Machine Guns (HMGs) - installed within the cowling and/or wing mainplanes.

It was only later that American intelligence realized their mistake in believing the AT27 was a real design, as the Japanese shown their hand with each passing month, and the Gus name fell from intelligence reports for the duration of the war- leaving the AT27 as nothing more than a fantasy IJA/IJN design.

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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 Nakajima AT27 Single-Seat, Twin-Engine Fighter Concept.
2 x Vee-type 12-cylinder, liquid-cooled inline piston engines developing 1,250 horsepower each driving 2 x Three-bladed propeller units at the nose in contra-rotating fashion.
410 mph
660 kph | 356 kts
Max Speed
39,370 ft
12,000 m | 7 miles
Service Ceiling
1,252 miles
2,015 km | 1,088 nm
Operational Range
2,500 ft/min
762 m/min
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 Nakajima AT27 Single-Seat, Twin-Engine Fighter Concept.
36.1 ft
11.00 m
O/A Length
44.3 ft
(13.50 m)
O/A Width
13.1 ft
(4.00 m)
O/A Height
8,003 lb
(3,630 kg)
Empty Weight
11,607 lb
(5,265 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 Nakajima AT27 Single-Seat, Twin-Engine Fighter Concept .
4 x 20mm Ho-5 automatic cannons

2 x 20mm Ho-5 automatic cannons.
2 x 12.7mm Ho-103 Heavy Machine Guns (HMGs).
Notable series variants as part of the Nakajima AT27 family line.
AT27 "Gus" - Base Design Designation; aircraft appearing in Japanese and American publications only.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Nakajima AT27. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 0 Units

Contractor(s): Nakajima - Japanese Empire
National flag of modern Japan

[ Imperial Japan ]
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Image of the Nakajima AT27
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Developments of similar form-and-function, or related, to the Nakajima AT27 Single-Seat, Twin-Engine Fighter Concept.
Going Further...
The Nakajima AT27 Single-Seat, Twin-Engine Fighter Concept appears in the following collections:
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