Kyushu J7W Shinden
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Kyushu J7W Shinden

The first flight of the unique Kyushu J7W Shinden (magnificent lightning), a canard-configuration single-seat fighter, was made on 3 August 1945, but the end of World War II later that month brought an end to development and production plans. Designed by a team under the leadership of Captain Masaoki Tsuruno of the Imperial Japanese Navy, the configuration of this aircraft had been effectively confirmed by the flight testing of three specially designed and built MXY6 gliders. The construction of two J7W1 prototypes followed, these each having a slender fuselage and mounting in a mid-position on the nose a short-span foreplane incorporating elevators at the trailing edge. The rear-mounted cantilever monoplane wing was set low on the fuselage, had moderately swept leading edges and conventional ailerons with, just inboard of these on each wing, a fin and rudder extending above and below the trailing edge. The landing gear was of retractable tricycle type; the pilot was accommodated in an enclosed cockpit, directly above the leading edge of the wing; and power was provided by a 1588kW Mitsubishi MK9D radial engine, mounted in the rear fuselage to drive a six-blade pusher propeller. By the end of the war the second prototype had been completed but not flown.

The J7W1 spanned 11.11m, had a maximum take-off weight of 5288kg, and was estimated to have a maximum speed of 750km/h. Armament was four nose-mounted 30mm Type 5 cannon. In the planning stage was the J7W2 version to be powered by a 900kg thrust Ne-130 turbojet.

Kyushu J7W Shinden

 ENGINE1 x Mitsubishi Ha-43, 1600kW
    Take-off weight4928 kg10864 lb
    Empty weight3645 kg8036 lb
    Wingspan11.1 m36 ft 5 in
    Length9.66 m32 ft 8 in
    Height3.92 m13 ft 10 in
    Wing area20.5 m2220.66 sq ft
    Max. speed750 km/h466 mph
    Cruise speed420 km/h261 mph
    Ceiling12000 m39350 ft
    Range850 km528 miles
 ARMAMENT4 x 30mm cannons

Kyushu J7W ShindenA three-view drawing (752 x 1204)

Comments1-20 21-40
Ron, 10.10.2014

I like this one best of all the canard WW 2 era designs.
This was intended to be turbojet powered all along but prop would do, temporarily. So it overheated, vibrated, had strong torque pull, and long undercarriage. Not so the J7W3 jet version (which never flew)!

Barry, 16.08.2012

Lets put the pilot ejection problem to bed. The first plane to feature ejection seats was the Heinkel He219 Uhu, and yes the Dornier 335 did also have an ejection system. By the time that the Shiden was being developed the quantity and the quality of pilots was at a very low level and I think one will find that some very inexperienced recruits were selected for "kamakazi" operations more experienced pilots were required to fight and defend the homeland. Hence, even the Japanese would have installed some sort of pilot recovery system be it exploding propellor blades or a rudimentary ejection seat.

Jim, 17.12.2011

Does anybody know what city the Kyushu airplane factory was located on Kyoshu Island ?

huawuke, 18.06.2011

It was fast and agile, had it appeared before the war was over, it would have been a huge threat against allied fighters and bombers.

, 18.06.2011

likely scrapped.

reppu, 09.06.2011

To all wondering about pilot ejection, the Shinden DID have that covered: there was a small charge located on the tail which blew off the propeller before ejection.

What was more of an issue was the spent ammo casings. A problem unique to the Shinden was that you can't just throw them out, instead they had to be contained within the plane, which was at best, a waste of space and at worst, a jamming problem waiting to happen.

Thamer, 28.05.2011

Sorry! My mistake... You are completely right. Was the Shiden KAI...not SHINDEN....

y.k, 28.05.2011

Saburo Sakai fought with Shiden(N1K2-J),not Shinden(J7W).
Too confusing.

Thamer (from Brasil), 27.05.2011

Saburo Sakai, great japanese ace, says in your book "SAMURAI", about himself in WWII, the Shinden was fight really in march, 19 of 1945 in battle involving this airplane and american Hellcat's. More than 40 airplanes Shinden was involving in this fight.... (excuse my errors in writing: I don't know the english language...)

Klaatu, 29.04.2011

Several countries experimented with fighters in this configuration, including Sweden, Italy and the United States. It has one major drawback: how does the pilot get out in the event of an emergency? If he Bailed out he'd get pureed the propeller. There were no ejector seats yet. The first such seat was invented by the Germans at just about that time, for use in the Dornier Do335.

Jonathan Glenister, 11.01.2011

This is the aircraft that gave Burt and Dick Rutan the inspiration to build some their amazing aircraft as their father first saw this aircraft as an officer in the occupying forces in Japan at the end of WW2.

Mike Conatser, 29.09.2010

If i remember correctly, they were testing it with a prop to see how it would handle. this plane was designed to fly with a jet engine.

Jackie, 08.08.2010

The Kyushu J7W Shinden was meant to be used in raids against the high flying B-29 Superfortresses. It was fast and agile, had it appeared before the war was over, it would have been a huge threat against allied fighters and bombers.

Scott Lockhart, 29.05.2010

Hasegawa has a 1/48th scale model of the Shinden available through most online hobby shops. A limited run, 1/32nd scale model is available from Zoukei-Mura, Inc. More information is available on their web site. The Zoukei-Mura model will also have options for the jet engine version.

trax, 25.03.2010

This plane looks well designed, Looks Like They were ahead of time! Would love to have a Model of this Plane!!

Rail Baron, 09.03.2010

I would like a set of plans for this aircraft in 80 inch wingspan for use with a G-38 gas/oil engine. Then, could put video camera and transmitter in cockpit for pilot's eye view.

Scott Williams, 22.01.2010

There are plans available for the Shinden from R/C Modeller magazine. Plans are by Col. Robert Thacker. Scaled to a 60" wingspan, the only problems I found were his somewhat unorthodox construction methods, and his cg location was much too far aft. The plans should still be available via the R/C Modeller magazine website. It's designed for glow engine, mods to electric would involve significant restructuring for weight savings.

Klaatu83, 18.01.2010

A lot of people seem to think this was a pretty good design, very innovative and all that. However, it simply makes me wonder how the pilot was supposed to get out in the event of an emergency without getting sliced into sushi by the propeller. Then again, Japanese fighter pilots were supposed to be happy to die for their Emperor, so I don't suppose the designer ever gave the matter much thought.

Orion, 14.05.2009

Only two Shinden prototypes were completed before the surrender; only one of those flew. As mentioned below one is stored at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum; I'm not sure what happened to the 2nd prototype though it was likely scrapped.

Hiroyuki Takeuchi, 30.01.2009

This plane is stored at the Smithonian NASM, but is in storage and not on regular display.

1-20 21-40

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