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Heavy escort fighter


A promising long-range escort fighter Ki-83 was developed by Mitsubishi according to the specification of May 23, 1941. The maximum speed was set at 650 km/h with the possibility of subsequently bringing it up to 700 km/h. The range was determined at 1500 km plus one hour of flight. Armament requirements became more complicated as development progressed, increasing the firepower to 2 × 20 mm and 4 × 13 mm machine guns forward and one 13 mm from the shooter. By the end of 1941, the army command put forward an additional requirement to increase the Ki-83's altitude to 10 thousand meters, which automatically predetermined the use of engines with a turbocharger.

By that time, Mitsubishi had begun work on a high-altitude version of the Na-214Ru engine - a two-row 18-cylinder star with a capacity of 2300 hp, which the Tomio Kubo design team took as the basic version of the powerplant. It was decided to abandon the rear firing point. By that time, priority was given to the functions of intercepting enemy bombers, rather than escorting their own. Probably at the same time the question arose of strengthening the offensive weapons to two 30-mm and two 20-mm forward-facing cannons

In 1943, the technical department of the headquarters of the army aviation ordered to stop work on the Na-214 and Na-104 engines. As an alternative, it was proposed to use a less powerful, but more compact and lighter new Mitsubishi Na-211 engine, which it was decided to unify for both army and naval aviation as a promising engine in the class of 2000 horsepower engines.

At the same time, a high-altitude version of it was developed, equipped with a Na-211-Ru turbocharger, capable of producing 1750 hp. at an altitude of 11.5 km. It was for these engines that the prototype of the Ki-83 began to be built, however, it should be noted that in pursuit of minimizing the mass and dimensions of the Na-211 engine, an error was made in the heat removal of the cylinders, two rows of cylinders were too clamped and, as a result, the engine was constantly overheating , repeating, in general, the fate of the Soviet M-71. Until the end of the war, he did not manage to achieve his stable work.

The construction of four prototypes was planned to be completed by the end of 1943, but as a result, the first of them was completed only on October 19, 1944. On November 18, 1944, from the Kakamigahara airfield, the chief pilot of the Hayashi firm lifted the car into the air. The design speed of 700 km/h could not be reached, but, nevertheless, at an altitude of 8000 m, the aircraft developed 686 km/h, and at 5000 m - 655 km/h, which was still more than any other Japanese army interceptor.

On January 20, 1945, the 2nd prototype joined the tests. On March 22, the third was ready, and on April 2, the fourth prototype of the Ki-83.

Later, during the tests, a speed of 704.5 km/h was reached. At the same time, the aircraft, for its dimensions and weight, had amazing maneuverability - at a speed of 644 km/ h, the car made a full loop with a diameter of only 671 m in 31 seconds and allowed overloads up to 7G.

On March 9, 1945, during one of the test flights of prototype No. 2 to study the vibration of propellers, oxygen equipment failed. As a result, the chief pilot of Hayashi's firm lost consciousness in flight at an altitude of about 7 thousand meters, and the plane crashed into the forest.

The third and fourth prototypes were damaded at the Kakamigahara airfield in Gifu prefecture during the Allied air raids. By the end of the war, thus, only the first prototype survived, which was subsequently captured by the Americans.

In November 1945, the surviving Ki-83 with the inflicted American stars took to the air again. Fueled with 100-octane American gasoline instead of low-quality Japanese fuel,the aircraft reached a speed of 762 km/h at an altitude of 7000 meters and reached an altitude of 15,000 meters. And this is in the presence of aerodynamically struts under the stabilizer and a rough surface of the wings and fuselage after restoration repair. The Americans were shocked by the qualities of the Japanese machine, the existence of which they did not even suspect, which was ahead of the newly launched in the series Tigercat F7F and at least not inferior to the British DH 103 Hornet. Subsequently, when drawing up official reports already in the USA, where the Ki-83 was sent for study, the maximum speed figure was lowered to 700 km/h at an altitude of 3500 m.

Mitsubishi Ki-83
Crew 2
Wing span, m 15.50
Wing area, m² 33.52
Length, m 12.50
Height, m 3.98
2×PE Mitsubishi Na-211-Ru
Power, hp 1×2200
Weight, kg:
Empty weight 5980
Loaded weight 8930
Gross weight 9430
Maximum speed, km/h 705
Cruising speed, km/h 450
Maximum rate of climb, m/min 1273
Service ceiling 13200
Service range 2800

Armament. Two 30-mm guns No-155 (80 rounds per barrel) and two 20-mm guns No-5 (160 rounds per barrel), two 50-kg or one 250-kg bomb on an external sling.

Photo Description

Drawing Mitsubishi Ki-83

Mitsubishi Ki-83

Structurally, the Ki-83 fighter was a twin-engined all-metal monoplane. The wing of the laminar profile, in the area of ​​the center section, had a transverse V of 2 °, the consoles were straight. Automatic slats - along almost the entire leading edge of the wing. The fuselage and wing skins are made with large-area duralumin sheets to minimize the number of seams. The vertical tail was structurally borrowed from the previous Ki-46 reconnaissance aircraft.

Engines - Na-211-Ru with a takeoff power of 2200 hp, at an altitude of 6800 m they developed 2130 hp, and at 10300 meters - 1920 hp. The propellers are metal, four-blade variable pitch with a diameter of 3.5 m. The exhaust system was original. The manifolds from the cylinders through the turbocharger were brought out to the rear of the engine nacelles, without protruding beyond their dimensions and creating additional jet thrust (see photo).

Tricycle landing gear with a tail wheel, completely retracted, the main supports - in the engine nacelles, the tail - in the fuselage.

Armament was installed in the forward fuselage. Below were two 30-mm No-155 cannons with 80 rounds of ammunition per barrel, slightly higher, shifted inward - a pair of 20-mm No-5 cannons, 160 rounds per barrel. The barrels of the guns did not protrude beyond the dimensions of the glider. External suspension of a pair of 50 kg bombs or one 250 kg bombs was also allowed.

Teardrop-shaped cockpit canopy, the bullet-resistant windshield was 60 mm thick. The pilot's seat is one-piece stamped from a 12-mm armor plate with an 8-mm armored headrest. A 12-mm armor plate was located in front of the cockpit. Behind the pilot there is an 8-mm armored partition separating the cockpit from the 1560 liter main fuel tank located behind. The tank was fully sealed with 16 mm thick multi-layer rubber. Two wing tanks with a volume of 170 and 250 liters were also sealed and had the ability to transfer fuel from one tank to another. The total fuel volume was 2400 liters. All tanks had an automatic fire extinguishing system. A pair of 220-liter outboard tanks could be hung under the wings.

Closer to the tail was the second crew member's cockpit, which did not protrude beyond the fuselage contours. Only on both sides there were two small windows and a small window on top. The navigator's seat was directed along the flight path and was also made of 12 mm armor plate. From the navigator's back, she was protected by an 8-mm armored wall.

The fighter's instrumentation was quite sophisticated, including an autopilot rare for Japanese aircraft. It is unlikely that the Ki-83 fighter, if it were adopted, could have a strong influence on the outcome of the war, but it certainly could have caused a lot of unpleasant moments for American aviation.

By the time the war ended, the Japanese command planned to create a reconnaissance version of the Ki-83-Otsu on the basis of the Ki-83, another Ki-95 reconnaissance aircraft, into which one of the destroyed Ki-83 prototypes began to be rebuilt with the replacement of the tail section. The Ki-95 scout was seen as a promising replacement for the famous Ki-46.


  • "An unexpected masterpiece of samurai. Long-range fighter Mitsubishi Ki-83" / Evgeny Aranov /
  • "Japan Aviation." / Andrey Firsov /
  • "World War II Japanese aircraft." / Oleg Doroshkevich /
  • & quot; Encyclopedia of Military Equipment & quot; / Aerospace Publising /

Add Comment

November 14, 2019
Exhaust manifold with exhaust at the rear of the nacelle. This is the first time I meet this, I would like to find information, is there any real benefit from such a decision ...

November 14, 2019
It is interesting that in Japanese aviation the navigator was the commander of the crew. There was no radio semi-compass on the plane, in any case in the frame is not visible ...