History of Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate (Frank)

Of the many excellent fighters available to the Japanese Army during the final months of WWII, none was more important than the arrival of the Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate (meaning "Storm", known as "Frank") .Yes). This single-engine fighter was a respectable fighter capable of fighting the Allied North American Mustang while still having enough firepower to take out the high-flying and well-defended Boeing B-29 Superfortress.

The Ki-84 Hayate was indeed one of the few mass-produced designs, as around 3,500 copies were made by the last days of the wara production that only lasted about a year and a half.

Like all later Japanese fighter designs, the Hayate was designed with excellent cockpit visibility, powerful and proven engines, a sleek and aerodynamic airframe, and a mix of machine guns and cannons. At the heart of the system is a Nakajima Ha-45 radial piston engine with an output of approximately 1,800 horsepower. The engine has a top speed of nearly 400 mph, a service ceiling of nearly 35,000 feet, and a range of just over 1,000 miles. Additionally, the airframe and engine proved the Ki-84 to be reasonably maneuverable in dogfights, even when fighting the best of its American counterparts. The basic armament of the early models consisted of a 2 x 12.7mm machine gun assembly located in the upper part of the nose forward fuselage and 2 20mm cannons buried in the wings.

Later models - especially the "bomber destroyer" Ki-84-III - will have a more powerful 2 x 20mm gun configuration in the front of the fuselage and 2 x 30mm guns in the wings. Bombs can also be carried under the wings and weigh 551 pounds.

Allied bombing raids were ultimately unavoidable, so production and resources became scarce. The number of Hayates in service performed admirably, but those in service were so consistent that the entire series suffered reliability issues. Nonetheless, the Nakajima Ki-84 was an excellent design, and with more numbers and time, it could have had a greater impact in defending Japan.

The Ki-84 remained in service until the last days of the conflict.

Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate (Frank) Specification

Basic

Year:
1944
Status:
Retired, out of service
Staff:
1

Production

[ 3,500 units ] :
Nakajima - Empire of Japan

Roles

- Fighter

Dimensions

Length:

9.92m

Width:

11.24m

Height:

11.12 ft (3.39 m)

Weight

Curb Weight:

2,660 kg

MTOW:

3,890 kg

(difference: +2,712 pt)

Performance

1 x Nakajima Ha-45 radial piston engine, 1,800 hp.

Performance

Maximum Speed:

392 mph (631 km/h; 341 knots)

Service Limit:

34,449 ft (10,500 m; 6.52 mi)

Maximum range:

1,053 miles (1,695 km; 915 nmi)

Rate of climb:

2,780 ft/min (847 m/min)

Armor

Default:

2 x 12.7 mm Ho-103 machine guns at the front of the fuselage

2 x 20mm Ho-5 wing cannons

Optional:

2 x 551lb bombs under the wings

Changes

Ki-84-I - name of the basic series

Ki-84-Ia - Nakajima Ha-45 radial piston engine with 1,800 hp; nose 2 x 12.7mm machine guns and wings 2 x 20mm cannons.

Ki-84-Ib

Ki-84-Ic - Modified dedicated "Bomber Destroyer" variant; equipped with 2 x 20mm nose cannons (instead of standard 12.7mm machine guns) and 2 x 30mm wing cannons.

Ki-84-II

Ki-116 - Final production series model; based on the Ki-84-Ia model.

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