Skip navigation

Nakajima Kikka

Japan's interest in jets increased in the month of September 1944, when the  Japanese air Attache in Berlin sent a large number of detailed reports on the German Me262 program. Japanese Navy ordered Nakajima company to design a bomber similar but with more modest requirements (speed, load, etc. ..) as the Japanese industrial capacity was not prepared for it. The Nakajima Kikka was designed by Kazuo Ohno and Kenichi Matsumura.

The Kikka first design studies envisaged the use of 440 lb. thrust TSU-11 units which were based on the Campini principles and employed the Hitachi Hatsukaze (Fresh wind) piston engine to drive a ducted fan compressor.

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

The first mock-up of the Kikka was inspected by Naval Officials on January 28, 1945, but estimated performance with the NE-12 turbo jet was uninspiring, and it was decided to make a further power plant change, supplanting the NE-12 with the more powerful NE-20.

Nakajima_Kikka_01.jpg
Ishikawajima NE-20 fitted on Kikka No1
Nakajima_Kikka_02.jpg
Nakajima_Kikka_03.jpg

First flight

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.

Technical characteristics

Type

Single-seat twin-jet attack bomber, of all-metal construction with fabric-covered tail surfaces.

Accommodation

Pilot in enclosed cockpit.

Powerplant

Two Ne-20 axial-flow turbojets, rated at 1,047-lb. of static thrust.

Dimensions and weights

Wingspan32ft.9.11/16in.
Length26ft.7.7/8in.
Height9ft.8.5/32in.
Wing area142.083sq. ft.
Empty weight5,071lb.
Loaded weight,7,716lb.
Maximum weight8,995lb.
Wing loading54.3lb./sq. ft.
Power loading3.7lb./lb. s. t.

Estimated Performances

maximum speed387mphat sea level
maximum speed433 mphat 32,810 ft.
climb to 32,810 ft.26minutes
service ceiling39,370ft.
Nakajima_Kikka_04.jpg
Nakajima_Kikka_17.jpg
Kikka No2 in the Navy Base of Patuxent River, Maryland. 1946

Kikka No1

Nakajima_Kikka_06.jpg
Nakajima Kikka. Source : RAF Flying Review, April 1955
Nakajima_Kikka_07.jpg
Nakajima_Kikka_05.jpg
Nakajima Kikka prepared for his second flight
Nakajima_Kikka_08.jpg
On this Photo, you can see the RATO rockets used for lift-off.

Kikka No2

Nakajima_Kikka_09.jpg
Kikka No2 in the Navy Base of Patuxent River, Maryland. 1946
Nakajima_Kikka_10.jpg
More detailed view with a focus on NE-20 jet engine

Unassembled Kikka in Nakajima's factory.

The second prototype was almost ready for its own first flight when the war ended on August 15. Between 18 and 25 more airframes were under construction.

Some of these were two-seat trainers.

Nakajima_Kikka_11.jpg
Nakajima Kikka, probably the 2d. prototype. Source : RAF Flying Review, April 1955
Nakajima_Kikka_14.jpg
Other picture of the Kikka 2d. prototype. Source : RAF Flying Review, April 1955
Nakajima_Kikka_15.jpg
Nakajima_Kikka_12.jpg
Unassembled Kikka in Nakajima's factory.
Nakajima_Kikka_13.jpg
Unassembled Kikka in Nakajima's factory.
Nakajima_Kikka_16.jpg

Survivors

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.

SourceRCAF War Prize Flights, German and Japanese Warbird Survivors. Harold A.Skaarup