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Kawanishi N1K-J Shiden (George)


Fighter Aircraft


Imperial Japan | 1943



"By all accounts, the Kawanishi Shiden was an outstanding performer - regarded by many as the best Japanese fighter of World War 2 - and compared favorably to the American Ace-making Grumman F6F Hellcat."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 06/14/2016 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
Despite some early setbacks in design, the Kawanishi N1K1-J "Shiden" (or "violet lightning" - codenamed "George" by the Allies), was an exemplary fighter that was capable of going head-to-head with even the fabled American F6F Hellcat series. Operating from land-bases, the Shiden featured a powerful engine, streamlined fuselage and potent armament display that provided Japanese forces with a fast and heavy-hitter in the latter stages of the Pacific War. Despite their successes, the system was only fielded in 1,400+ examples, limiting their reach and overall potential to an extent.

The Kawanishi design bureau had already been at work on a versatile floatplane and saw an opportunity to extend that design into a land-based variant. Using the same developed airframe, the N1K1-J was born from the existing N1K1 floatplane and featured an all-new Nakajima radial piston engine along with a newly-engineered landing gear system. The prototype N1K1-J premiered in late 1942 with production beginning the following year.

Kawanishi produced a very slender, almost featureless, design making for one streamlined airframe. Wings were low-mounted monoplanes just under and forward of the high-mounted cockpit, offering up good visibility. The engine was well forward of the cockpit and featured a large propeller hub and fitted engine cowling. All vertical and horizontal surfaces were curved and straight-edged, no doubt adding to the performance capabilities of the system. Power was derived from a single Nakajima NK9H Homare 21 radial piston engine producing an impressive 1,990 horsepower. Performance statistics reported a top speed of up to 363 miles per hour, a service ceiling of nearly 20,000 feet and an operational range of up to 890 miles. Armament consisted of a pair of 7.7mm Type 97 machine guns in the nose engine cowling and an additional 4 x 20mm cannons in the wings. Later models would feature provisions for external underwing bomb racks, adding to the already impressive armament array of this aircraft.

Entry into the war for the Shiden initially produced some mixed results as the powerplant proved to be in need of some more attention. Additionally, with new design elements on existing airframes come new problems, such being the case with the landing gear system (a system obviously not present in the floatplane design). On the combat side of things, however, the Shiden design never failed, proving to be more than a match for its American counterparts. The base N1K1-J series was produced in three follow-up variants that addressed different armament arrangements and bomb loads. An "improved" N1K1-J model was formed in the N1K1-2 series and addressed the aforementioned engine and landing issues along with other subtle design elements. By war's end, the Shiden had already made its mark as - at the very least - one of the top three Japanese fighters of the 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 N1K1-J Shiden (George) Fighter Aircraft.
1 x Nakajima NK9H Homare 21 radial piston engine developing 1,990 horsepower.
Propulsion
363 mph
584 kph | 315 kts
Max Speed
41,010 ft
12,500 m | 8 miles
Service Ceiling
890 miles
1,432 km | 773 nm
Operational Range
2,523 ft/min
769 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 Kawanishi N1K1-J Shiden (George) Fighter Aircraft.
1
(MANNED)
Crew
29.2 ft
8.89 m
O/A Length
39.4 ft
(12.00 m)
O/A Width
13.3 ft
(4.06 m)
O/A Height
6,387 lb
(2,897 kg)
Empty Weight
9,526 lb
(4,321 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 Kawanishi N1K-J Shiden (George) Fighter Aircraft .
STANDARD:
2 x 7.7mm Type 97 machine guns in nose
4 x 20mm Type 99 cannons in wings

N1K1-Jb:
2 x 250kg bombs

N1K1-Jc:
4 x 250kg bombs
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Kawanishi N1K-J Shiden (George) family line.
N1K1 - Floatplane Design Designation; Allied codename of "Rex".
N1K1-J - Land-Based Design Designation based on the floatplane design; Allied codename of "George".
N1K1-Ja - Sans nose guns; all-wing gun mounts.
N1K1-Jb - Provision for 2 x underwing stores totaling 1,102lbs of ordnance.
N1K1-Jc - Provision for 4 x underwing stores totaling 2,204lbs of ordnance.
N1K2-J - "Improved" N1K1 Version; revised cowling, redesigned fuselage and redesigned land gear system.
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Kawanishi N1K-J Shiden (George). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 1,435 Units

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

[ Imperial Japan ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (363mph).

Graph Average of 300 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
1435
36183
44000
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
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
Aviation Timeline
EarlyYrs
WWI
Interwar
WWII
ColdWar
Postwar
Modern
Future
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Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
AIR-TO-AIR COMBAT
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 Kawanishi N1K-J Shiden (George) Fighter Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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