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Kawanishi N1K1-J / N1K2 Shiden-Kai


In 1941 Kawanishi was still designing the float-equipped N1K1, and 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 underwing 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 Grumman F6F Hellcat. Given the reporting name 'George' by the Allies, 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 were produced.

The N1K2-J was the final and simplified version of a landplane fighter derived from the N1K1 Kyofu.

Engine: 1 x Nakajima NK9H "Homare 21", 1365kW
Max take-off weight: 4000-4860 kg / 8819 - 10715 lb
Empty weight: 2657 kg / 5858 lb
Wingspan: 12.0 m / 39 ft 4 in
Length: 9.35 m / 30 ft 8 in
Height: 3.96 m / 12 ft 12 in
Wing area: 23.5 sq.m / 252.95 sq ft
Max. Speed: 585 km/h / 364 mph
Cruise speed: 365 km/h / 227 mph
Ceiling: 10760 m / 35300 ft
Range: 1700 km / 1056 miles
Crew: 1
Armament: 4 x 20mm cannons, 500kg of bombs






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