Nakajima Kikka

The Nakajima Kikka was a Japanese experimental jet fighter designed at the end of World War II by Kazuo Ohno and Kenichi Matsumura.

Japan's interest in jet aircraft increased in September 1944, when the Japanese air attaché in Berlin sent a large number of detailed reports on the German Messerschmitt Me262 fighter program.

Based on this information, the Japanese Navy ordered the Nakajima company to design a similar aircraft but with more modest requirements (speed, load, etc...) because the Japanese industrial capacity was not prepared for it.

Nakajima Kikka
Nakajima Kikka
Kikka (probably s/n 2) in the Navy Base of Patuxent River, Maryland. 1946

Early studies of the Nakajima Kikka called for the use of 440 lb. thrust TSU-11 units based on Campini principles and using the Hitachi Hatsukaze (fresh wind) piston engine to drive a ducted fan compressor.

However, at an early design stage, the Tsu-11 was abandoned in favor of the Ne-10 (TR-10) centrifugal flow turbojet. and later NE-12 (TR-12), which added a four-stage axial compressor to the front of the Ne-10.

The first model of the Kikka was inspected by Navy officials on January 28, 1945, but the estimated performance with the NE-12 turbojet was not impressive, and it was decided to make another engine change, replacing the NE-12 with the more powerfulIshikawajima NE20 .

Premier vol du Nakajima Kikka

Ishikawajima NE-20 jet engine fitted on Kikka No1

The prototype commenced ground tests at the Nakajima factory on 20th may 1945, and on 25th june the first Kikka was completed. The following month it was dismantled and delivered to Kisarazu Naval Air base where it was re-assembled and prepared for flight testing. Ground tests continued on this airfield until 13th July.

On the 7th August 1945, Lieutenant Commander Susumu Takaoka made the first flight, with a duration of 11 minutes. His take-off run of 2,380 ft. took 25 seconds at an all-up weight of 6,945 lb. Wind speed was 23 ft.per second. He landed in 3,280 ft.

A ceremonial official « initial » test flight was made on 11th August, four days later. For this flight, rocket assisted take off (RATO) units were fitted to the aircraft. However, because their alignment had been miscalculated, The acceleration was so heavy that the nose of the aircraft came up, the tail went down and skidded along the runway. As a result the aircraft did not take off at all and was damaged when it ran off the end of the runway.

Before it could be repaired Japan had surrendered and the war was over.

Kikka N° 1

Nakajima Kikka. Source : RAF Flying Review, April 1955
Nakajima Kikka prepared for his second flight
On this Photo, you can see the RATO rockets used for lift-off.

Kikka N° 2

Kikka No2 in the Navy Base of Patuxent River, Maryland. 1946
More detailed view with a focus on NE-20 jet engine

Unassembled Kikka in Nakajima’s factory.

Nakajima Kikka, probably the 2d. prototype. Source : RAF Flying Review, April 1955
Unassembled Kikka in Nakajima’s factory. Source : Kokufan 09.1979
Other picture of the Kikka 2d. prototype. Source : RAF Flying Review, April 1955
Unassembled Kikka in Nakajima’s factory.


The NASM’s Kikka

The NASM’s Kikka and an assortment of extra components are all that survive of this late war project. This aircraft was assembled from parts of the 25 pre-production Kikkas under construction at war’s end. 

The aircraft’s internal systems are incomplete, and the airframe shows no signs of the landing gear damage incurred when the test pilot aborted the second flight.

The Museum also has two Ne-20 engines and these could be combined with the airframe during restoration to reconstruct an example of Japan’s limited foray into jet aviation.

Source : RCAF War Prize Flights, German and Japanese Warbird Survivors. Harold A.Skaarup

Susumu Takaoka

24 févr. 1912 ? 6 févr. 1999

Test Pilot

Susumu Takaoka, In the Fuji T1F2, first Japanese Jet trainer (1958)

Susumu Takaoka was responsible for initial and development testing of several new aircraft for the Japanese Navy when he flew the Kikka for the first time on August 7, 1945.

In the 50s, after the Japanese had regained a part of their freedom in aeronautics, he flew again as a test pilot.

It was as Commander of the Experimental Air Unit when he realized the first flight of the Fuji T1F2 (January 17, 1958). It was the first jet trainer designed entirely in Japan.

He finished his career as General, having participated in many other programs, such as Mitsubishu MU-2.