Kawanishi N1K1-J "Shiden"
General Historical Information
Place of origin Japan
Speed 594 km/h
Category Fighter
General Ingame Information
Used by Japan
Guns 4x 20mm Type 99-1 Mod 4
Historical Picture
Kawanishi N1K-J Shiden
800px-Kawanishi N1K2-J George USAF

Kawanishi was still engaged in 1941 in design of attractive float-equipped fighter, the Kawanishi N1K1, intended as a naval fighter to support an island hopping conquest in the Pacific without dependence on carriers or shore bases; in due course 98 of these fighters (Allied reporting name 'Rex') were produced. However, while their design was still in progress Kawanishi undertook a wheel-landing gear version, designated the N1K1-J "Shiden" (violet lightning). The prototype of the new fighter was flown on 27 December 1942 powered by the new 18-cylinder Nakajima Homare radial. Production got under way in 1943 of the N1K1-J with Homare 21 radial and an armament of two 7.7-mm nose guns and four 20-mm wing cannon (two of which were carried in underwmg fairings). Despite being plagued by constant engine troubles and an inherently weak landing gear, the Shiden was an excellent aircraft in combat, proving an equal match for the Hellcat; given the reporting name "George" by the Allies, it was widely considered to be one of Japan's best wartime fighters. Three other main production versions were produced: the N1K1-Ja with nose guns deleted and all cannon mounted inside the wings; the N1K1-Jb with underwmg racks for two 250-kg bombs; and the N1K1-Jc with racks for four 250-kg bombs. A new version, the N1K2-J, with improved landing gear, redesigned airframe structure and cleaner engine cowling, appeared during the last year of the war and proved even better than the N1K1; an instance occurred when a single Japanese pilot, Warrant Officer Konsuke Muto, fought off 12 Hellcats, shooting down four. A total of 1,435 N1K Shiden landplane fighters was produced.

Source: Aviaster

  • N1K2

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