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Kawanishi N1K-J Shiden 'George'  

Kawanishi N1K Shiden 'George'

In late 1941, while design work on the N1K1 Rex floatplane fighter was underway, the Kawanishi design team proposed a land-based version of the aircraft. The first N1K1-J prototype flew on Dec. 27, 1942 (less than eight months after the maiden flight of the Rex). The plane suffered problems with early engines and the undercarriage, but when aloft the plane demonstrated excellent maneuverability. The aircraft was redesigned and simplified; the N1K2-J model used many N1K1 components and was almost 500 pounds lighter. The first of these models flew on Dec. 31, 1944, but despite several production facilities sharing this project, raids by B-29 Superfortess bombers disrupted the program and only 428 of the models were completed. A few N1K2-K two-seat trainers were also produced. The N1K1-J was the first mid-wing Japanese fighter aircraft that, with its large engine, bore some resemblance to U.S. fighters. It was the first Japanese naval aircraft to have "adequate" fuel and pilot armor, according to U.S. estimates. The powerful engine led to an exceptionally long undercarriage, which caused problems and the pilot had poor visibility when taxiing. The revised N1K2-J was a low-wing aircraft, with a more streamlined fuselage and reshaped fin and rudder. There were several armament "packages" for these aircraft : the N1K1-J had two 20 mm wing cannon and two 7.7 mm fuselage mounted machine guns; the N1K1-Ja/b models had only the four wing cannon as did the N1K2-J with differing arrangements. When employed as a fighter-bomber the aircraft could be fitted with racks for two 551 pound bombs.

 Specifications

Full Name

Kawanishi N1K1-J SHiden 'George'

Type

Fighter

Origin

Japan

Manufacturer

Kawanishi

Wingspan

12 m

Length

8.88 m

Height

4.06 m

Weight

Empty: 2897 kg

Maximum Speed

581 km/h

Range

2544 km

Engine

1 x 1990 hp Nakajima NK9H Homare 21

Armament

2 x 20mm cannn, 2 x 7.7mm machine guns, plus a bomb load of 120 kg

Crew

1

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