By the fall of 1944, the direction of the war had changed, and Japan no longer needed a high-speed reconnaissance aircraft. The R2Y1 Keiun was all but cancelled when the design team suggested the aircraft could easily be made into a fast attack bomber. In addition, the Aichi [Ha-70] power plant would be discarded, and one 2,910 lb (1,320 kg) thrust Mitsubishi Ne 330 jet engine would be installed under each wing. A fuel tank would be installed in the space made available by the removal of the piston engine. This jet-powered attack bomber had an estimated top speed of 495 mph (797 km/h). The project was approved, and the new aircraft was designated R2Y2. The decision was made to finish the nearly completed R2Y1 airframe and use it as a flight demonstrator to assess the flying characteristics of the aircraft. With pressurization, the turbocharger, and the intercooler omitted, the R2Y1 prototype was completed in April 1945 and transferred to Kisarazu Air Field for tests. Ground tests revealed that the aircraft suffered from nose-wheel shimmy and engine overheating. Yokosuka R2Y1 Keiun taking off from Kisarazu Air Field for its first an only flight. Adjustments were made to overcome the issues, and the Keiun took to the air on May 29, 1945 (date varies by source and is often cited as May 8, 1945), piloted by Lt. Commander Kitajima. The flight proved to be very short because the engine quickly overheated, and a fire broke out in the engine bay. Lt. Commander Kitajima quickly returned to the field, and the R2Y1 suffered surprisingly little damage. On May 31, during a ground run to test revised cooling, the engine was mistakenly run at high power for too long and overheated. The engine was removed from the aircraft to repair the damage. The R2Y1 sat awaiting repair for some time before it was destroyed by Japanese Naval personnel to prevent its capture by American forces (some say it was destroyed in an Allied bombing raid). Because of the end of the War, the second R2Y1 prototype was never completed nor was the design work for the R2Y2.

johnbr, Dec 17, 2012
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