Kawanishi N1K4-J

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Kawanishi N1K4-J 32 Shiden-Kai (試製紫電改三)
The Kawanishi N1K4-J is one of the last modifications to the Kawanishi N1K, which included strengthening the armament and fitting a better and more reliable engine. Two prototypes were built.
The Kawanishi N1K2-J was one of the best IJN aircraft, but it had a lot of problems with engine failures. Therefore, in 1945 the Kawanishi Kokuki K. K. factory in Naruo decided to convert the N1K2-J aircraft numbered 517 and 520 into new fighters equipped with Nakajima NK9H-S Homare 23 engines and to strengthen their armament with a 13mm cannon in the nose of the machine.The new aircraft was designated N1K4-J and was built and tested before the Japanese surrender. The tests were successful, but the Homare 23 engines were needed by the Army for its Ki-84 aircraft, so mass production did not begin.

Photo Kawanishi N1K4-J

Structure description

Modifications to the Kawanishi N1K4-J compared to the N1K2-J:

  1. The nose has been lengthened by 150 mm
  2. Instead of the NK9H Homare 21 engine, it used the NK9H-S Homare 23 engine with a low-pressure fuel injection system
  3. In the nose of the machine there are 2 type 3 machine guns of 13.2 mm caliber
  4. Automatic flaps were installed to assist inexperienced pilots
  5. A fire extinguishing system was installed that worked on the engines and fuel tanks.

These were all the modifications that distinguish the Kawanishi N1K4-J aircraft from its other versions.

Sketch of Kawanishi N1K4-J

Fire extinguishing system

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 8.885 m (29 ft 2 in)
  • Wingspan: 12 m (39 ft 4 in)
  • Height: 3,96 m (13 ft)
  • Wing area: 23.5 m2 (253 sq ft)
  • Empty weight: 2,657 kg (5,857 lb)
  • Gross weight: 4,000 kg (8,818 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 4,857 kg (10,707 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Nakajima NK9H-S Homare 23 (Ha-45-23) eighteen-cylinder, air-cooled,
    two-row radial engine with take-off power of 1,973 hp, 1,864 hp at 6,070 feet, and 1,603 hp at 20,000 feet


  • Maximum speed: 669 km/h at an altitude of 19,030 ft (5,800 m)
  • Range: 1,716 km (1065.6 mi , 926 nmi)1065.6
  • Service ceiling: 10,760 m (35,301 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 6,100 m (20,014 ft)/6 m 6 s


  • Guns:
    4 × 20 mm Type 99 Mark 2 machine guns in the wings (800 or 900 shells )
    2 x 13,2 Type 3 machine guns in the nose (480 rounds)
  • Bombs:
    The maximum bomb load is 500 kg
    2× 30 kg bombs or 2× 60 kg bombs or 2× 250 kg bombs

The Kawanishi N1K4-J would be a very strong and interesting addition to the Japanese Air Force. The additional 13.2mm cannons will add even more firepower to this deadly machine. The new engine will also provide extra power to escape from some enemies. As for me, it is also a very nice plane with elegant shapes, which is eager to fight. I encourage you to discuss in the comments and to share your own knowledge on this topic.
Finally, I apologize for the linguistic and logical errors because unfortunately English is not my main language and I had to use google translator.

Internet Sources

紫電改 - Wikipedia
Kawanishi N1K - Wikipedia
Kawanishi N1K1-J (wardrawings.be)
Kawanishi N1K4-J George - Passed for Consideration - War Thunder - Official Forum
Уголок неба ¦ Kawanishi N1K-J Shiden (airwar.ru)
Kawanishi N1K1-J Shiden (Violet Lightning) and N1K2-J Shiden Kai (combinedfleet.com)
Kawanishi N1K4-J Model 32 Shiden KAI 3 / 試製紫電三二型(N1K4-J) : Kawanishi / Shin Meiwa (armedconflicts.com)
紫電改 - 航空軍事用語辞典++ (mmsdf.sakura.ne.jp)

Book Sources
  • Japanese Aircraft of Wolrld War II : 1937-1945 ,Thomas Newdick, Edition 2 2017, page 49

Japan has been lacking additions to Tier IV for a while. This would be quite good, especially with the Type 3 MGs (which are amazing) and an improved engine.

The N1K4-A might be more interesting since it has a tail hook for carriers, but the difference is small.

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N1K2-J already had automatic flaps and fire extinguishers. Also I don’t think wing ammo load was dropped from 900 to 800. Did some source state so?

Likewise I’d somewhat prefer N1K4-A, even if it might not make much difference at all.


A +1 from me, more N1Ks would be nice to see

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