Nakajima Ki-43-II Ko

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Nakajima Ki-43-II Ko




The Ki-43, designed by Hideo Itokawa, who later gained fame as a pioneer of Japanese rocketry, was created in response to a December 1937 specification for an interceptor/escort fighter to succeed the popular Nakajima Ki-27. The Ki-43 prototype, designated Ki-43-I, was first produced in November 1939, with deliveries from Nakajima’s Ota factory starting in February 1941.

Prototypes for the Ki-43-II took flight in February 1942. The Ha-25 engine was upgraded with a 2-stage supercharger, transforming it into the more powerful Nakajima Ha-115 engine, which was housed in a longer-chord cowling. This new engine powered a three-bladed propeller. The wing structure, which had experienced issues in the Ki-43-I, was reinforced and equipped with racks for drop tanks or bombs. The Ki-43-II also featured a 13 mm (0.51 in) armor plate for the pilot’s head and back, along with fuel tanks coated in rubber to create a basic self-sealing tank. This was later replaced by a 3-layer rubber bladder, 8mm core construction, with 2mm oil-proof lamination.

The earliest Type I entered service on the Chinese battlefield in August 1941, while Types II and III were progressively distributed to the Japanese Army Air Force base in Northeast China. During that period, the Puppet Manchukuo Air Force also received a small number of these aircraft.

Furthermore, in 1943, a Type III from the 64th Japanese Army Group made an emergency landing in Yunnan due to a malfunction and was captured by the Chinese Air Force. The aircraft was assigned the tail number P-5017.

In October of 1945, the Kuomintang Air Force utilized Japanese military aircraft such as Ki-43-II Ko to establish the 6th Air Force Group. The 18th and 19th Squadrons, equipped with Ki-43’s, engaged in combat against the People’s Liberation Army. However, due to a shortage of spare parts, the brigade was dissolved by June of the following year.

In the fall of 1945, the Chinese Communist Party acquired 5 aircraft in the Northeast region. After undergoing repairs, these aircraft were integrated into the training fleet of the Northeast Aviation School. With the guidance of Japanese instructors, students at the Aviation School trained on Nakajima Type 2, Type 97, Tachikawa Type 99, and Nakajima Type 1 fighters. Approximately 60 fighter pilots were trained at this makeshift school in preparation for the establishment of the People’s Air Force.

Technical Data


Crew - 1

Length - 8.92 m

Height - 3.085 m

Wingspan - 10.83 m

Empty Weight - 1,975 kg

Max Takeoff Weight - 2,642 kg

Powerplant - 1 x Ha-115 Radial Engine (890 kW at 3,000 m)

Max Speed - 515 km/h

Service Ceiling - 11,215 m

Range - 1,625 km


2 x 12.7mm Ho-103 Machine Guns (250 rpg)

2 x 250 kg Bombs




(Book) Encyclopedia of Chinese Aircraft, Volume 1. (69-70)

Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa in Communist Chinese Service | Plane-Encyclopedia

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