Nakajima Ki-43-II KAI ‘Hayabusa’, (‘Peregrine Falcon’, ‘Oscar’), 50th Sentai, 3rd Chutai, (Hasegawa)

TYPE: Interceptor fighter, fighter bomber


POWER PLANT: One Nakajima Ha.35/21 air-cooled radial engine, rated at 1.130 hp

PERFORMANCE: 320 mph at 19,680 ft

COMMENT:  Combat experiences with the Ki-43-I dictated a number of changes in the design of the aircraft that led to the development of the Nakajima Ki-43-II-KAI. It entered service in summer 1943 and served over every theatre to which the JAAF was committed. The Ki-43-II-KAI was capable to out-maneuvering every Allied fighter it encountered and its element was dog-fighting, but the Lockheed P-38 ‘Lightning’, the Republic P-47 ‘Thunderbolt’ and the north American P-51 ‘Mustang’ could all out-dive and out-zoom the Japanese fighter which could not withstand the greater firepower of the Allied types, frequently disintegrating in the air when hit. More than 5.000 Ki-43-II ‘Hayabusa’ were built by Nakajima and Tachikawa (Ref.: 13)