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Tachikawa Ki-36 Ida / Ki-55 Ida


In 1937 army air headquarters authorized the construction of two prototypes of a two-seat army cooperation aircraft developed by Ryokichi Endo's design team from Tachikawa Hikoki K K (Tachikawa Aircraft Company).

The first of two prototypes was flown on 20 April 1938 flew from Tachikawa airfield, the Tachikawa Ki-36 was a cantilever low-wing monoplane of all-metal basic structure, covered by a mix of light alloy and fabric. Landing gear was of fixed tailwheel type, the main units enclosed in speed fairings, and power was provided by a 336kW (450-hp) Hitachi Ha-13 radial engine. The two-man crew was enclosed by a long 'greenhouse' canopy and both men had good fields of view, that of the observer being improved by clear-view panels in the floor.

The aircraft was very sensitive to the controls and fully satisfied the army, although later production aircraft incorporated a 2' wing washout to counter a tendency to stall which had become apparent during very tight manoeuvring.




The type was ordered into production in November 1938 as the Army Type 98 Direct Co-Operation Plane. Generally similar to the prototypes, the type was armed with two 7.7mm (0.303-in) Type 89 machine guns, one in the engine cowling synchronized to fire through the propeller, and the other on a flexible mounting operated by the observer, and introduced the more powerful Hitachi Ha-13a engine. Up to 150 kg (330 lb) of bombs were carried on underwing racks. In 1939 Kawasaki joined the production programme.



When construction ended in January 1944, a total of 1,334 had been built by Tachikawa (862) and Kawasaki (472).

The handling characteristics and reliability of the Ki-36 made the army realize that it was ideal for use as an advanced trainer, resulting in development of the Ki-55, intended specifically for this role and having armament reduced to a single forward-firing machine-gun. Following the testing of a prototype in September 1939, the army ordered this aircraft as the Army Type 99 Advanced Trainer; when production was terminated in December 1943 a total of 1,389 had been built by Tachikawa (1,078) and Kawasaki (311).

Tachikawa Ki-55

Both versions were allocated the Allied codename ‘Ida’, and the Ki-36 was first deployed with considerable success in China. However, when confronted by Allied fighters at the beginning of the Pacific War it was found to be too vulnerable, being redeployed in China where it was less likely to be confronted by such aircraft.

Ki-36s were employed against the Allies from December 1941, but were withdrawn from 1943 onwards, in which role, with wheel spats removed and necessary equipment modifications, they were very successful, so much so that production as the Army Type 99 Advanced Trainer or Ki-55 was initiated by both Tachikawa and Kawasaki. In the closing months of the war, many examples of both versions were pressed into service as suicide bombers carrying a 250-kg (550-1b) or 500-kg (1100-lb) bomb. Allied name for all models was Ida.

Twenty-four Ki-55 served with the RTAF throughout the period of Japanese ascendancy and the immediate post war period. One survives.

Engine: one 380-kW (510-hp) Hitachi Ha- l3a radial
Maximum speed 348 km/h (216 mph) at 1800 m(5905 ft)
Cruising speed 235 km/h (146 mph)
Service ceiling: 8l50 m (26740 ft)
Range 1235 km (767 miles)
Empty weight 1247 kg (2749 lb)
Maximum take-off 1660 kg (3,660 lb)
Wing span 11.80 m (38 ft 8.6 in)
Length 8.00 m (25 ft 3 in)
Height 3.64 m (11 ft 11.3 in)
Wing area 20.00 sq.m (215.29 sq.ft)
Armament: two 7.7-mm (0.303-in) machine-guns
Bombload: 150 kg (331 lb)
Crew: 2

Engine: 1 x Hitachi Ha-13a, 380kW
Span: 11.8 m (38 ft 9 in)
Length: 8 m (26 ft 3 in)
Height 3.64 m (11 ft 11.3 in)
Wing area 20.00 sq.m (215.29 sq.ft)
Empty weight: 1292 kg / 2848 lb
Gross weight: 1721 kg (3794 lb)
Maximum speed: 348 km/h (216 mph).
Cruising speed 235 km/h (146 mph)
Ceiling: 8200 m / 26900 ft
Range: 1060 km / 659 miles
Crew: 2

Tachikawa Ki-36 IDA

Tachikawa Ki-55




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