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Japan's Imperial Navy flag

Japan's Mitsubishi J8M Shusui (sword stroke) fighter

Photos

  • Mitsubishi J8M Shusui fighter

 

Design

The Mitsubishi J8M Shusui was a copy of the Messerschmitt Me. 163B, which the Japanese got license rights to manufacture.

A German submarine, which was transporting a Me 163, was sunk by the Allies. This only left the plans and an engine for the Japanese to use.

Specifications

The Imperial Japanese Navy put out a 19-Shi specification for a rocket powered jet fighter. Mijiro Takahashi of Mitsubishi lead the design effort and by September 1944 a mock-up was completed.

Army Navy Cooperation

The J8M project was one of the few that the Army and Navy cooperated on. Technicians from both services worked on building the engine.

However, each then ordered separate glider trainers to be built. Maeda Koku Kenkyujo (navy) and Yokoi Koku K.K. (army) built around 50 of the glider trainers.

Rikugun Kogugijutsu Kenkyujo developed the Ki-202 which was to be the Army version.

Prototype

Initially only a glider prototype was completed in December 1944 and it was taken to Hyakurigahara Airfield in Ibaragi where trials began on December 8, 1944. It was towed to altitude and was test flown by Lieutenant-Commander Toyohiko Inuzuka. When this proved successful two more gliders were constructed and one was turned over the the Army for research at Rikugun Kokugijutsu Kenkyujo (army aerotechincal research institute) at Tachikawa.

Only one prototype got in the air, on July 7, 1945, but it crashed on takeoff after the engine failed. Test pilot Lieutenant-Commander Toyohiko Inuzuka was killed. It was found that there was a fault in the fuel system, and this was corrected in the other prototypes but then the war ended.

Production

  • Shusui Prototypes: 7
    • Manufacturer: Mitsubishi Jukogyo K.K.
    • Production: 1945
  • Mitsubishi MXY8 gliders: 3
    • Manufacturer: Dia-Ichi Kaigun Koku Gijitsusho
  • Mitsubishi Ku-13 and Mitsubishi MXY8 gliders: 50 - 60
    • Manufacturer: Maeda Koku Kenkyujo, Yokoi Koku K.K.

Variants

  • Mitsubishi MXY8 Akigusa (autumn grass): Glider prototype.
  • Mitsubishi MXY9 Shuka (autumn fire): To be powered by the Tsu-11 (441 lb / 200 kg thrust). Never completed.
  • Mitsubishi J8M1, Navy Experimental Rocket Powered Interceptor Fighter Shusui: Navy version. Two 30 mm cannons.
  • Mitsubishi J8M2: Navy version. One 30 mm cannon. Larger fuel tanks.
  • Mitsubishi Ki-200, Army Experimental Rocket Powered Interceptor Fighter Shusui: Army version of the J8M1.
  • Mitsubishi Ki-202: Army version. Larger fuel tank.
  • Mitsubishi Ku-13: Trainer.

Usage

The J8M never became operational.

Specifications

  J8M1
Type Rocket Powered Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Toko Ro.2 KR10
Thrust 3,307 lb
1,500 kg
Dimensions  
Span 31' 2"
9.5 m
Length 19' 10", 19' 10 3/16"
6.05 m
Height 8' 10", 8' 10 5/16"
2.7 m
Wing Area 190.843 sq ft
17.73 sq m
Weight  
Empty 3,318 lb
1,505 kg
Loaded 8,565 lb
3,885 kg
Performance  
Speed at 32,810' / 10,000 m 559 mph
900 kph
Climb to 32,810' / 10,000 m 3 minutes 30 seconds
Service ceiling 39,370'
12,000 m
Endurance 5' 30"
Armament 2: 30 mm
Wings 2: 30 mm Type 5
  J8M2
Type Fighter
Crew 1
Armament  
Wings 1: 30 mm Type 5
  Ki-200
Type Rocket Powered Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Toko Ro.2 KR10
Thrust 3,307 lb
1,500 kg
Armament  
Wings 2: 30 mm Ho-105
  Ki-202
Type Rocket Powered Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Toko Ro.2 KR10
Thrust 3,307 lb
1,500 kg
Armament  
Wings 2: 30 mm Ho-105

Sources:

  1. World War II Airplanes Volume 2, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  2. Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, René J Francillon, 1970
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site