Nakajima Ki-84 Frank

The Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate was a single-seat fighter used by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force in World War II. The Allied reporting name was "Frank", the Japanese Army designation was Army Type 4 Fighter. Featuring excellent performance and high maneuverability, the Ki-84 was considered to be the best Japanese fighter to see large scale operations during World War II. It was able to match any Allied fighter, and to intercept the high-flying B-29 Superfortresses. Its powerful armament (that could include two 30 mm and two 20 mm cannons) increased its lethality. Though hammered by poor production quality in later models, a high-maintenance engine, a landing gear prone to buckle,and lack of experienced pilots above all else, Hayates proved to be fearsome opponents. Exactly 3,514 aircraft were built.

Design of the Ki-84 commenced in early 1942 to meet an Imperial Japanese Army Air Service requirement for a replacement to Nakajima's Ki-43 fighter, just entering service. The specification recognized the need to combine the maneuverability of the Ki-43 with performance to match the best western fighters and heavy firepower. The Ki-84 first flew in March 1943. Although the design itself was solid, the shortage of fuel, construction materials, poor production quality, and lack of skilled pilots prevented the fighter from reaching its potential.

The first major operational involvement was in the battle of Leyte at the end of 1944, and from that moment until the end of the Pacific war the Ki-84 was met wherever the action was intense. The 22nd Sentai re-equipped with production Hayates. Though it lacked sufficient high-altitude performance, it performed well at medium and low levels. Seeing action against the USAAF 14th Air Force, it quickly gained a reputation as a fighter to be reckoned with. Fighter-bomber models also entered service. On April 15, 1945, 11 Hayates attacked US airfields on Okinawa, destroying many aircraft on the ground.

The Ki-84, Ki-100, and N1K2-J were the three Japanese fighters best suited to combat the newer Allied fighters.

General characteristics
  • Crew: One
  • Length: 9.93 m (32 ft 7 in)
  • Wingspan: 11.23 m (36 ft 11 in)
  • Height: 3.38 m (11 ft 1 in)
  • Wing area: 21 m² (226 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 2,665 kg (5,875 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 3,616 kg (7,972 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 3,898 kg (8,594 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1× Nakajima Ha-45-21 Homare 18-cylinder radial engine, 1,485 kW (1,990 hp)

  • Never exceed speed: 800 km/h (496 mph)
  • Maximum speed: 628 km/h (390 mph) at 6,100 m (20,013 ft)
  • Range: 2,155 km (1,339 mi)
  • Service ceiling: 10,500 m (34,450 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 19.25 m/s (3,790 ft/min)
  • Wing loading: 172 kg/m² (35 lb/ft²)
  • Power/mass: 0.41 kW/kg (0.25 hp/lb)

  • 2× 12.7 mm Ho-103 machine guns in nose, 350 rounds/gun
  • 2× 20 mm Ho-5 cannon in wings, 150 shells/cannon
  • 2× 100 kg (220 lb) bombs
  • 2× 250 kg (551 lb) bombs
  • 2× 200 L (53 US gal) drop tanks

** Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate - Warbird Fare

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