Monday, 15 May 2017

Saving the First for Last

The tier VI Kawasaki Ki-88 was my first premium Japanese aircraft, earned long ago during the "Getting the Goods" Mission for World of Warplanes in May 2014.

"What if the Japanese had built an aircraft along similar performance capabilities as the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and/or North American Mustang?" would be one half way to describe this particular plane. The other would be, "What if they armed it like a Soviet Yak/American Bell P-39 Airacobra?"

Although a little weak in a climb and suffering from poor energy retention and generation (compared to the 109s/Mustangs), the Ki-88 was built to be the Japanese interpretation of Boom and Zoom, performing this role rather well. Like other aircraft from this nation, armor isn't an issue, since there isn't any and the effectively short-range, large caliber cannon overheats after a few shots and takes quite a long time to cool down.

The real Kawasaki Ki-88 was originally designed in 1942 as a front engine fighter, to replace and/or compliment the already in production Ki-61 Hein. However, it was discovered the aircraft was going to be very nose heavy with the installation of the planned 1 x 37mm hub mounted and 2 x 20mm cannons in the lower nose section. Speculation is a recovered wreck of a Bell P-39 Airacobra inspired the Kawasaki engineers (Tsuchii Takeo given the most credit on this project) to move the engine to the midsection of the fuselage.

Sadly, the Ki-88 never made it past the mock-up stage. Calculations had showed a completed version wouldn't be any faster than some of the upgraded fighters already in use or the new versions leaving the factories for the front lines and was cancelled in 1943.

But, this is World of Warplanes and the plane lives....and fights!

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