Kawasaki Ki-102 Randy
|NIGHT FIGHTER, ATTACKER||Virtual Aircraft Museum / Japan / Kawasaki|
Derived from the Ki-96 twin-engine single-seat fighter, development of which was abandoned after three prototypes had been completed, the Kawasaki Ki-102b was intended as a two-seat attack fighter for primary deployment in the close-support role. Some assemblies of the Ki-96 prototypes were incorporated into the three Ki-102 prototypes, the first of which was completed in March 1944. A cantilever mid-wing monoplane with a conventional tail unit, retractable tailwheel landing gear and two Mitsubishi Ha-112-11 radial engines, the Ki-102 accommodated its two-man crew in separate enclosed cockpits in tandem, Completion of the prototypes was followed by the construction of 20 preproduction aircraft and in October 1944 the type was ordered into production. With the Imperial Japanese Army still anxious to procure a twin-engine high-altitude fighter, Kawasaki modified six of the preproduction Ki- 102s to serve as prototypes of such an interceptor. This differed from the attack fighter by having improved two-seat accommodation, a revised tail unit and Mitsubishi Ha-112-IIru engines with turbochargers. Successful testing of this version in mid-1944 resulted in a high-priority production order, but problems with the turbocharged engine resulted in only about 15 being delivered to the army before the war ended. The design had also been revised to produce a night-fighter version under the designation Ki- 102c, but there was only time to complete two examples. These had increased wing span, a lengthened fuselage, redesigned tail surfaces, primitive AI radar, and armament comprising two 30mm Ho-105 cannon in the underfuselage and two 20mm Ho-5 cannon mounted obliquely in the fuselage to fire forward and upward. Ki-102b aircraft, which were allocated the Allied codename 'Randy', saw comparatively little service, some being used in action over Okinawa, but the majority were held in reserve in Japan.