TYPE: Twin engine heavy fighter
ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only
POWER PLANT: Two Mitsubishi Ha-12-11 radial engine, rated at 1,500 hp
PERFORMANCE: 391 mph at 31,170 ft
COMMENT: The great success of the Kawasaki Ki-45-KAI Toryu (Dragon Slayer, Nick) encouraged the Kawasaki Company to initiate work on a refined, more powerful derivative of the Ki-45. Compared with its forerunner an aerodynamically improved fuselage, a larger square-tipped vertical tail surface, and more powerful engines were provided. In 1943 work on the Ki-96 gained tempo and in September that year the first prototype was completed. In the meantime it became obvious that a second crew member was superfluous in a high-performance twin-engined fighter. So the second cockpit of the first prototype was faired over and the two other prototypes under construction were finished as single-seater. Flight test were most satisfactory, the Ki-96 combining good handling characteristics with performance exceeding design estimates. However, the Army’s interest in the potential of single-seat twin-engined fighters was to prove short-lived and consequently the Ki-96 had only a brief live as an aerodynamically prototype for the two-seat Kawasaki Ki-102 which supplanted it (Ref.: 1, 5).