Aviation of World War II

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High Altitude Fighter

Kawasaki Ki-94

Ki-94. The Japanese Air Force needed high-altitude interceptor fighters to counter American bombing raids. Their development began back in 1942. The Tachikawa company proposed two variants of high-speed and well-armed high-altitude fighters - Ki-94 and Ki-94-II, which could become a serious threat to the "flying fortresses". Work on them continued until the end of World War II, but none of them took to the skies, the aircraft remained in history only as projects and prototypes.

Ki-94, later designated Ki-94-I, already stood out for its unusual design and appearance in those years. The interceptor fighter was a large double-boom monoplane powered by two Mitsubishi Ha-211 Ru 18-cylinder radial air-cooled engines developing 2200 hp. The engines were installed in front and behind the cockpit and propelled two four-bladed propellers - pulling and pushing, respectively. The planned armament of the new fighter was very powerful and consisted of two 37-mm Ho-203 aircraft cannons and two 30-mm Ho-105 cannons, a suspension of 2 500-kg bombs was provided. The maximum speed of the aircraft at an altitude of 10 thousand meters was supposed to be 780 km / h.

A full-size wooden model of the Ki-94 aircraft was ready at the end of 1943, but the development of a high-altitude fighter was curtailed, since the technical department of the air headquarters decided that the project was still very difficult to master and manufacture, and the design characteristics of the aircraft seem overly optimistic. The preference was given to the simpler Nakajima Ki-87 high-altitude fighter. At the same time, the Main Command of the Japanese Air Force was still interested in continuing work on this design topic. Tachikawa was ordered a new version of the high-altitude fighter, which was designated Ki-94-II.

Photo Description
Drawing Ki-94

Drawing Ki-94

Ki-94 II
High Altitude Fighter

Tachikawa Ki-94 II

Ki-94 II . Working on the Ki-94-II aircraft, Tachikawa proceeded from a new application, which assumed the satisfaction of the same flight performance requirements as the competing aircraft Nakajima Ki-87. The new Ki-94-II high-altitude fighter project was developed under the leadership of Chief Designer Tatsuo Hasegawa. The new aircraft was a single-seat single-engine high-altitude fighter, this time of an ordinary design with a laminar wing and a pressurized cabin.

The new fighter was planned to be equipped with a powerful, cooled fan, a turbocharged 18-cylinder radial engine Nakajima - Ha-44-12, with a capacity of 2400 hp. The engine power, which drove the fighter's six-blade propeller, was 2450 hp. from. on takeoff, 2350 hp from. - at an altitude of 1100 meters, 2200 liters. from. - at an altitude of 4400 meters and 2040 liters. from. - at an altitude of 11,000 meters. The armament placed in the wing of the aircraft was supposed to include two 30-mm automatic aircraft Ho-105 and two 20-mm aircraft guns Ho-5, it was provided for the suspension of one 411-kg bomb or light bombs weighing up to 500 kg. From the characteristics of the heavily armed aircraft, it can be seen that it was optimized for high-altitude interception of American B-29 "super-fortresses".

The first Ki-94-II high-altitude fighter was supposed to be ready on July 20, 1945, but the construction of the aircraft was delayed. In the end, he was ready two weeks behind schedule. The six-blade propeller planned for the aircraft was never ready, so it was decided to equip the aircraft and begin testing the first prototype with a four-blade propeller temporarily installed on it. Tests were scheduled to begin on August 18, 1945. The second prototype of the Ki-94-II fighter-interceptor, designed to install a six-blade propeller, while the first aircraft was still preparing for the intended first flight, was only in the production stage, but the end of World War II prevented its completion. A further development of the project of this Japanese high-altitude fighter was to be the Ki-104 aircraft, which remained only in the form of paper drawings.

The only built prototype of the Ki-94-II fighter was exported by the Americans to the United States, in 1949 the plane was transferred to one of the country's aviation museums, but then its trace is lost.

Tachikawa Ki-94 Ki-94 II
Crew 1
Wing span, mм 15.00 14.00
Wing area, m² 37.00 27.96
Length, m 13.05 12.00
Height, m 3.85 4.61
Piston Engine Mitsubishi
2×Ha-211 Ru
Power h.p. 2×2172 1×2420
Weight, kg
Empty 5,200 4,690
Gross weight 9,400 6,956
Maximum speed, km/h 780 712
Cruising speed, km/h 548 440
Service ceiling, m 14,000 14,680
Service range, km 2,100
Photo Description
Drawing Ki-94 II

Drawing Ki-94 II


  • "Experimental Japanese aircraft of the Second World War" / Evgeny Aranov /
  • "Encyclopedia of military engineering" /Aerospace Publising/
  • "Aviation of Japan."/ Andrey Firsov /

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April 12, 2019
Ki-94 I scheme with tandem engines borrowed from the Dutch Fokker D.XXXIII captured by the Germans as a war trophy during a five-day military campaign on May 10-14, 1940. The problem of low power Fokker liquid engines was solved by installing powerful radial engines, leaving the aircraft in an emergency was carried out through the lower hatch in the niche of the front landing gear with the blades removed. However, nobody canceled Newton's laws. In an emergency landing, kinetic energy in the form of half the mass of the rear engine times the SQUARE of speed will tend to crush the cockpit.

Siemens Schuckert DDr 1

Siemens Schuckert DDr with 1 MV tandem Powerplant

November 28, 2019
Let's dwell on table of flight characteristics of Dornier aircraft with a tandem engine layout. For Do 355B-1 with two DB 603 E-1 engines with 1800 hp each the maximum speed is indicated at 760 km / h. For the Japanese Ki-94-I with a power plant of 2 × 2172 hp, with a power of 744 hp. more than that of the Do 335, the predicted speed should be higher, however, it remained in history only in the wooden model. Subsequent variants of the combined power plant made sense only with the placement of the jet engine behind, hoping to achieve high speed and range at the same time.

November 27, 2019
Ki-94-I was developed according to the scheme with a tandem arrangement of engines in the fuselage, patented by K. Dornier in 1937, and used by him in the German "Arrow" Do-335 . Compared to the "Pfeil" on the Ki-94, the engines were located at a small distance from each other and were separated only by the cockpit, which obviously reduced the moment of inertia and improved the maneuverability of the aircraft.
Obviously, with such a scheme, the engines rotated through 90° had the opposite rotation, which solved the problems with the reaction of the propeller, in addition, the air-cooled engines, which have a large midship, well protected the pilot in front and behind from attacks in the front and the rear hemisphere.
The beams and the wing easily accommodated powerful cannon armament outside the plane of the propeller throwing.
Small midsection of the power plant with its capacity of 4344 hp. from. promised a significant increase in speed up to 780 km / h at an altitude of 10,000 m.