TYPE: Long-range fighter
ACCOMMODATION: Pilot and navigator
POWER PLANT: Two Mitsubishi Ha 211 Ru (Ha-43) radial engines, rated at 2,070 hp each
PERFORMANCE: 438 mph at 32,180 ft
COMMENT: The Mitsubishi Ki-83 was designed as a long-range heavy fighter. The design was a response to a 1943 specification for a new heavy fighter with great range. The first of four prototypes flew on 18 November 1944. The machines displayed remarkable maneuverability for aircraft of their size and carried a powerful armament of two 30 mm and two 20 mm cannon in its nose. Despite the bomb-ravaged Japanese manufacturing sector, plans for the Ki-83 to enter production within were underway when Japan surrendered on 15 August 1945.
Both the existence and performance of the Ki-83 were little known during the war, even in Japan. It was completely unknown in Allied military aviation circles – as demonstrated by the fact that the Ki-83 had not been given a reporting name. Most early photographs of the type were taken during the post-war occupation of Japan, when the four prototypes were seized by the USAAF and re-painted with USAAF insignia. When they were evaluated by US aeronautical engineers and other experts, a Ki-83 using high-octane fuel reached a speed of 473 mph at an altitude of 23,000 ft (Ref.: 24).