How good was Japanese aviation?

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Airman 1st Class
Feb 17, 2005
Hey, sometimes, or maybe often I heard Japanese were (are) simply copy cats; their technology were simply derived largely from others (German) and with little mdification. Of course, this is simply a mix of superfical and of racial discrimination toward Asians. We all know that Chinese were the most technological civilization on Earth for almost 2000 years (CIA World Fact Book), and westerners copied lots of most fundamenal stuffs from all of neighbors.....

Anyway, did Japan develop any outstanding aircraft (other than the famous Zero) that rival European most sophisticated fighter/bomber???
The Ki-84 Frank and N1K2-J Shiden were fantastic fighters and rivaled some of the very best American planes...Ill have a look for some info on them for you...
Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate "Frank"

Single-seat interceptor and fighter-bomber
Origin: Nakajima
Allied Code Name: Frank
First Flight: N/A
Service Delivery: Summer 1944
Final Delivery: N/A
Number Produced: 3,514

Ki-84 Ia:
Model: Nakajima Ha-45
Type: Radial piston engine
Number: One Horsepower: 1,900 hp

Wing span: 36 ft. 10½ in.(11.24m)
Length: 32 ft. 6½ in. (9.92m)
Height: 11 ft. 1½ in. (3.39m)
Wing Surface Area: 226.05 sq. ft. (21m²)

Empty: 5,864 lbs. (2660 kg)
Max. Take-Off: 8,576 lbs. (3890 kg)
Maximum Speed: 392 mph (631 km/h) at 20,080 ft.
Initial climb: N/A
Service Ceiling: 34,350 ft. (10,500m)
Range: 1,347 Miles (2168 km)
Endurance: N/A

Two 12.7mm machine guns.
Two 20mm Cannon.

Four 20mm Cannon.

Two 30mm Cannon.
Two 20mm Cannon.

Bomb Load:
Wing racks for two 551 lb (250 kg) bombs

Kawanishi N1K1-J/N1K2-J Shiden "Violet Lightning"

Type: Single-seat land-based intersecptor
Origin: Kawanishi
Allied Code Name: George
First Flight: December 27, 1942
Service Delivery: Early 1944
Final Delivery: N/A
Number Produced: N/A

N1K1-J Prototype:
Model: Nakajima Homare 11
Type: Radial piston
Number: one Horsepower: 1,820 hp

Production N1K1-J N1K2-J:
Model: Nakajima NK9H Homare 21
Type: Radial piston
Number: one Horsepower: 1,990 hp

Production N1K4-K:
Model: Nakajima Homare 23
Type: Radial piston
Number: one Horsepower: 2,000 hp

Production N1K5-J:
Model: Mitsubishi MK9A
Type: N/A
Number: one Horsepower: 2,200 hp

Capacity: N/A
Type: N/A

Wing span: 39 ft. 4½ in. (12m)
Length: 30 ft. 8 in. (9.353m)
Height: 13 ft. 0 in. (3.96m)
Wing Surface Area: 252.96 sq. ft. (23.50m²)

Empty: 5,858 lbs. (2657 kg)
Max. Take-Off: 10,714 lbs. (4860 kg) Performance:
Maximum Speed: 370 mph (595 km/h) at 18,370 ft.
Initial climb: N/A
Service Ceiling: 35,300 ft. (10,760m)
Range: 1,451 Miles (2335 km)

Two 7.7mm machine guns
Four 20mm Cannon in wings.

Four 20mm Cannon in wings.

N1K1-Jb, N1K2-J:
Four 20mm Cannon in wings.
Wing racks for two 551 lb bombs or 6 air-to-ground rockets.

Four 20mm Cannon in wings.
Wing racks for four 551 lb bombs.

Four 20mm Cannon in wings.

N1K3-J, N1K4-J:
Four 20mm Cannon in wings.
Two 13.2mm Machine Guns in fuselage.

N1K1-J: Prototypes and initial production version.
N1K1-Ja: Same as N1K1-J except machine guns deleted.
N1K1-Jb: Wings modified to internalize cannon and addition of bomb racks.
N1K1-Jc: Fighter-bomber variant.
N1K2-J: Production version.
N1K2-K: Two-seat trainer.
N1K3-J: Modified engine mounts and addition guns.
N1K3-A: Proposed carrier-based aircraft. Not built.
N1K4-J: Two prototypes with new powerplant.
N1K4-A: Single prototype of carrier-based variant.
N1K5-J: Single prototype with more powerful powerplant, destroyed in air raid by USAAF before completion.


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mind you they didn't exactly need a big heavy bomber, well not until the end of the war anyway.........
Did anyone noticed, that G4M Betty had a fuselage much wider than other double-engined bombers? And I think bomb load wasn't such bad.
But I must agree that most of early war Jap planes were very easy to make a torch of them.
The G4M Betty was probably their best bomber

Actually the Mitsubishi Ki67 Hiryu was considered best from what I've seen...

This heavy bomber design was in response to a 1941 Army specification requesting a high speed heavy bomber. The Ki-67 not only met the speed requirement but did so while achieving the manueverability of a fighter. In addition, the Hiryu "Flying dragon" also sported armour and self sealing fuel tanks and was perhaps one of the best all around bomber produced by Japanese. The aircraft could be looped and it's turning radius often exceed some fighter designs. This performance inspired the development of the type into a heavy fighter, which in addition to more powerful turbocharged engines, would have a hand loaded 75mm cannon and 15 rounds of ammunition. Unfortunately (or fortunately if you are a B-29 crewman) the more powerful engines were not available and the Ki-109 was equipped with standard engines which would not allow the aircraft to reach sufficient altitude to attack the Superfortresses

The Japaness had great Fighters :!:, but they were designed souly to dogfight, and not to be able to come home full of holes !

The Japanees never build a decent bomber ! The bombers they did build, had poor payload and were notoriously weak ! The six's on a Hellcat would litterally "Rip" a betty bomber apart :!:
By the way, I heard that during the last stage of war, Japan was acutally developing their own nuclear bomb. Americans actually destoryed a ship that carried enriched nuclear materials.
This bad boy was supposed to be under development at the end of the war!
Its the Nakajima G10N1 Fugaku (Mount Fuji). It never got off the drawing board though.

The Japanese did have at least one 4 engined heavy bomber during the whole war! It was the Nakajima G5N1 Shinzan (Mountain Recess). There were 6 built in the 40 or 41. They were configured to be heavy bombers but served the entire time as transports!!

They also ended up building the Nakajima G8N Renzan (Mountain Range) ... Yep they liked to name stuff after mountains!!! There were four built and the first flight was in 1944.


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The Japanese had three major problems during the war:
1) Very few natural recources.
2) The Samuri belief that the man made/won the fight not the tools.
3) They were not prepared/intended to/able to fight a prolonged all out war with anyone in a position to fight back.

To fight/win a major war a nation must, have the recources, will, and the stubornness to see it through. Just hoping they will give up if you give them a bloody nose the first day is unrealistic. But they did. In every major war since the 1850s the aggressor has failed to take a realistic view of their opponents capabilities or their aliances and make preperations to deal properly with them.

Those are cool pictures, are there any specs. to go with them?
Lets see. The G5N Sinzan:


Four Nakajima NK7A Mamoru 11 fourteen-cylinder air-cooled radials rated at 1,870 hp for take-off, 1,750 hp at 1,400 m and 1,600 hp at 4,900 m, driving four-blade constant-speed propellers (G5N1).
Four Mitsubishi Kasei 12 fourteen-cylinder air-cooled radials rated at 1,530 hp for take-off, 1,480 hp at 2,200 m and 1,380 hp at 4,100 m, driving four-blade constant-speed propellers (G5N2).

20 mm Type 99 Model 1 cannon in the dorsal and tail turrets and one 7.7 mm Type 97 machine-gun in each of the nose, ventral port and starboard beam positions.
Bomb-load: normal 4400 lbs, maximum 8800 lbs

Max speed 260 mph @ 13,500ft
Cruise 230 mph @ 13,000ft

Ceiling 24,500 ft
Range 2,300 nautical miles

Max takeoff weight 70,400 lbs

For the Renzan:
4 x Nakajima NK9K-L "Homare-24" at 2000 hp
Max speed 367 mph
Cruise 240 mph
Ceiling 33500 ft
Range 2500 miles
Armament 6 x 20mm cannons, 4 x 12.7mm MGs, 2200-8800lbs of bombs

Powerplant: six Nakajima Ha-54 4-row 36-cylinder air-cooled radials, 5000hp
Max weight 269000 lbs
Max speed 485 mph <== I dont know if this is correct
Ceiling 50000 ft
Range 12000 miles
Armament 4 × 20mm cannon, 44000lbs of bombs
Glad that thing wasnt built!!!


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