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Tachikawa Ki-54 / Y-59




The Ki-54was a 1939 design by Ryokichi Endo of the Tachikawa Hikoki K K, as an advanced trainer/crew trainer, and made its first flight in mid-1940. It was a twin-engined, low-wing monoplane of all-metal construction (except for the control surfaces, which were fabric-covered) and had retractable landing gear. It was powered by two wing-mounted Hitachi Ha-13a radial engines. Successful testing led to the initial version intended primarily for pilot training, ordered during 1941 as the Army Type 1 Advanced Trainer Model A (Tachikawa Ki-54a).

The initial military version, which entered production in 1941, was the Ki-54a or Army Type 1 Advanced Trainer Model A. Both the prototype and the Ki-54a were powered by two 510-hp Hitachi Ha-13a nine-cylinder radial engines, each driving a two-blade variable-pitch propeller. Intended for pilot train-ing, the Ki-54a was built in fairly small numbers before being supplanted by the Model B (Ki-54b), the most widely used version. Both models could carry from five to nine occupants. In the case of the Ki-54b (a bomber crew trainer) there were four stations for gunnery trainees who could each operate a free 7.7-mm (0.303-in) Type 89 machine-gun. The installation was characterized by twin dorsal turrets, a distinctive recognition feature of the Ki-54b.

Its operating reliability and roomy fuselage made the Ki-54 an obvious candidate for light transport and communications duties, and these were the functions of the third production version, the Ki-54c, or Army Type 1 Transport Model C. It differed from the previous variants in being unarmed, and therefore having no turrets on the fuselage. The Ki-54c carried a flight crew of two and eight passengers. Production included about two dozen civil examples (designated Y-59), some of which were used in Manchuria.

A fourth model, the Ki-54d antisubmarine patrol version, or Type 1 Patrol Bomber Model D, could carry an offensive load of 480 kg (1060 lb) of depth charges, but was not built or used in great numbers. Three devel-oped versions of the Ki-54 were not finished before the end of the war. Completion of the Ki-110 prototype - a wooden construction version of the Ki-54 - was prevented by US air attack. The Ki-114, a development of the Ki-110, and the projected Ki-111 flight-refuelling tanker development of the Ki-59 were never built.

The Ki-54 was the standard aircrew trainer of the Second World War for the pilots of multi-engined aircraft, navigators, bomb aimers, radio operators and air gunners. It. Between 1940-45, Tachikawa produced 1368 examples - 1342 of them for the Japanese army air force - in a variety of models, all of which were given the name Hickory under the Allied Pacific codename system.

Engines: 2 x Hitachi Ha-13a, 380kW
Span: 17.9 m (58 ft 9 in)
Length: 11.94 m (39 ft 2 in)
Height: 3.58 m / 12 ft 9 in
Wing area: 40 sq.m / 430.56 sq ft
Empty weight: 2954 kg / 6512 lb
Gross weight: 3897 kg (8590 lb)
Maximum speed: 376 km/h (234 mph)
Ceiling: 7180 m / 23550 ft
Range: 960 km / 597 miles
Crew: 2
Passengers: 8
Armament: 4 x 7.7mm machine-guns

Tachikawa Ki-54



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