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Japan's Tachikawa Ki-77 long range communication


  • Tachikawa Ki-77 long range communication



In January 1940 the Asahi Shimbun (Asahi Press) asked the Aeronautical Research Institute of the University of Tokyo to design an aircraft with the range of 9,321 miles / 15,000 km, a cruising speed of 186 mph / 300 kph, and fly in the sub-stratosphere. The aircraft was intended to make a nonstop flight from Tokyo to New York to break a long distance flying record.

In March 1940 the project was approved by the Japanese Army and designated the A-26. The A stood for Asahi Shimbun and the 26 for the year 2600 (1940).

Dr H. Kimura, of the Aeronautical Research Institute of the University of Tokyo, provided the basic design. Ryokichi Endo, of Tachikawa Hikoki K.K., made the mechanical drawings.


Initially Dr H. Kimura wanted to use two Nakajima Ha-105 (1,000 HP) engines but the Nakajima Ha-115 (1,170 HP) ended up being used.


It was decided to provide a sealed cabin so that the crew wouldn't have to wear oxygen masks at altitude for long periods of time.


The Ki-77 was of an all-metal construction.


Professor Fukazu of the University of Tokyo designed the wings with 6° of dihedral and an aspect ratio of 11 which was felt would provide ease of production along with long range flying. The fuel tanks were located in the wings.

Military Use

With the war starting in December 1941 work was put aside until the summer of 1942 when the Japanese Army wanted an aircraft that could be flown to Germany and Italy. It was designated the Ki-77.


The first prototype was completed in September 1942 and flew for the first time on November 18, 1942, with Kamada and Nagatomo flying. The engine cowlings had to be modified several times as the engines would overheat on the ground.

On April 20 - 21, 1943, the prototype flew 3,312 miles / 5,330 km non-stop from Fussa (Tokyo Prefecture) to Singapore in 19 hours and 13 minutes.

A seconds prototype started trials in May 1943. It was lost over the Indian Ocean on July 7, 1943, when it attempted to fly to Germany, possibly by British fighters.


  • Tachikawa Ki-77 prototypes: 2
  • Manufacturer: Tachikawa Hikoki K.K.
  • Production: 1942 - 1943


An attempt to break the world record for closed-circuit distance was attempted starting July 2, 1944, by flying from Sinking, Peichengtu to Harbin, Manchuria. Nineteen circuits were made for a total of 10,212 miles / 16,435 km in 57 hours 12 minutes.


  Tachikawa Ki-77
Type Long Range Communication
Crew 5
Engine (Type) 2: Nakajima Ha-115
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,170 each
Propeller blades 3 metal constant speed
Fuel Capacity 2,542 gallons
11,155 liters
Span 96' 6 21/32"
29.438 m
Length 50' 2 3/8"
15.3 m
Height 12' 7 9/16"
3.85 m
Wing area 856.373 sq ft
79.56 sq m
Empty 15,995 lb
7,237 kg
Normal load 36,872 lb
16,725 kg
Speed at 15,090' / 4,600 m 273 mph
440 kph
Climb to 19,685' / 6,000 m 24 minutes
Service ceiling 28,545'
8,700 m
Range 11,185 miles
18,000 km


  1. Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, René J Francillon, 1970
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site