POWER PLANT: One Nakajima Ha-44 radial engine, rated at 2,450 hp
PERFORMANCE: 442 mph at 39,370 ft (estimated)
COMMENT: In mid-1942, the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force wanted to obtain a high-altitude fighter fitted with a pressure cabin and capable of reaching a top speed of 497 mph and having a maximum range of 1,850 miles. As these performance requirements were rather stringent, the Koku Hombu decided to instruct Tachikawa to proceed with the design of the aircraft designated Ki- 94 while they placed a contract with Nakajima for another high-altitude fighter, the Ki- 87, with less stringent range requirements.
The initial aircraft was a large twin-boom monoplane with two engines mounted in tandem driving four-blade tractor and pusher propellers. But it was judged that the design was too complex and in 1943 Tachikawa submitted a new proposal to meet the same requirements as the competitive Nakajima Ki-87. The new aircraft was a single-engine high-altitude fighter of conventional design with laminar-flow wing and featuring a pressure cabin mounted in the fuselage behind the wing trailing edges. The aircraft was to be powered by a fan-cooled turbo-supercharged 2,400 hp Nakajima radial engine driving a six-blade propeller. This design was approved by the Koku Hombu, and the aircraft was designated Ki-94-II (the scrapped earlier Ki-94 design was named the Ki-94-I). An order was placed for one static test airframe, three prototypes, and eighteen pre-production aircraft. Only two prototypes were built in the event; the first was equipped with a single 2,541 hp Nakajima Ha-219 (Ha-44) engine, driving a four-blade propeller because the six-blade one was not ready. The second prototype was to be fitted with a six-blade propeller. The war’s end however stopped the construction of the second prototype and also found the first prototype still being readied for its intended maiden flight, the Ki-94-II never taking to the air (Ref.: 1, 24).
POWER PLANT: One Focke-Wulf T.1 radial turbojet engine, rated at 600 kp
PERFORMANCE: 515 mph at 29.530 ft
COMMENT: The Focke-Wulf 190TL was one of the earliest jet projects of the Focke-Wulf Company. First design studies began in 1941 on the basis of a standard Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighter then in production. The original BMW 803 radial piston engine was replaced by a Focke-Wulf T. 1 turbojet engine. This comprised a two-stage radial compressor, an annular combustion chamber and a single-stage turbine. The exhaust passed through an annular outlet streaming around the surface of the fuselage. Further work on this project was cancelled in 1942.
POWER PLANT: Two Bristol “Mercury” XXX radial engines, rated at 920 hp
PERFORMANCE: 266 mph at 11,800 ft
COMMENT: In 1940, a new specification, Spec B. 6/40, was issued by the U.K. Air Ministry to redesign the Bristol “Blenheim” Mk. IV. The major changes included the replacement of the “Mercury” XV engines with the uprated “Mercury” XXX engines, a re-designed nose area, extra armor and a new oxygen system. On February 1941, two prototypes were ready for flight at the Bristol factory. One prototype was a three-seat, high-altitude day bomber. This version had a semi-glazed, asymmetrical nose with a rear-facing blister housing two machine guns. The second prototype was a two-seater close-support aircraft, with solid nose containing four more Browning machine guns, initially known as Bristol “Bisley” (after shooting competitions held at Bisley). This latter variant was not required, probably due to the advent of the single-seater close-support fighters then under development such as the Hawker “Typhoon”. A major improvement of the “Blenheim” Mk. V over its earlier predecessors was the new Bristol B. X. upper gun turret, which was fitted with two machine guns. This turret was capable of high-speed traverse and continuous rotation in either direction. The day bomber type went into production and, by June 1943, a total of 940 aircraft had been produced for the RAF. Manufacture of the “Blenheim” Mk. V was undertaken by the firm of Rootes Security Ltd, at their “shadow” factory at Blythe Bridges, Staffordshire. Although the “Blenheim” Mk. V served in North Africa and the Far East until 1943, its lack of success resulted in many aircraft converted to dual-control and being used as trainers and target tugs (Ref.: MPM).
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