Type 4 Fighter Hayate
Type 4 Fighter Hurricane
|Coastal Defense Ship||Destroyer|
|Light Cruiser||Torpedo Cruiser|
|Heavy Cruiser||Training Cruiser|
|Aviation Cruiser||Fast Battleship|
|Light Carrier||Standard Aircraft Carrier|
|Armored Carrier||Seaplane Tender|
|Submarine||Aircraft Carrying Submarine|
|Submarine Tender||Fleet Oiler|
|Repair Ship||Amphibious Assault Ship|
Considered the best Japanese plane to see combat, the Ki-84 Hayate was born out of the IJA's design philosophy to keep developing new aircraft rather than improve existing designs like the IJN was doing. With the Ki-43 Hayabusa planned to stay in service for only 3 years, IJA engineers were quickly put to work on designing its replacement that would be capable of defeating newer Allied aircraft. Requirements included being faster than 400 mph, operate for at least 5 consecutive hours, stronger armaments than Hayabusa and include self-sealing fuel tanks, armored critical parts and bulletproof canopy, which were mandatory after pilot complaints over the Hayabusa. Incorporating the canceled plans of the Ki-62, Nakajima was able to quickly produce a prototype by early 1943 with no major problems, eventually joining the first production batch of Ki-83s in late 1943 which saw their first major action during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Under great care, it was a resoundingly powerful aircraft capable of outflying all other Allied planes and being on par with the P-47D Thunderbolt and P-51D Mustang. Unfortunately, the mounting difficulty to secure building materials and quality fuel, the rising unskilled labor, undertrained crew and inexperienced pilots significantly debilitated Hayate's full potential.
- A few Hayates were captured by the USN and extensively tested, finding that if given higher octane fuel, it could outfly the P-51D Mustang, F6F fighters and Spitfire late models.
- The increasingly dire war situation caused Nakajima to replace later plane's non-critical parts like wingtips, tail and rear fuselage with wood parts to save on construction materials. They went as far as to build 3 working prototypes entirely out of wood known as Ki-106. Although easy to build that even high school girls could be used as labor, it had lost its incredible agility and speed.
- The IJA believed in the Hayate so much that underground factories were being constructed to shelter it from the B-29 raids and the USN considered it a significant threat to prioritize bombing one of the assembly plants.
- Although not stated, the plane is the Ki-84-Ia variant.
- An authentic Hayate was used to film the movie "Never So Few" that was lent by the Ontario Air Museum painted with the 52nd Squadron markings. It was then donated to Japan's Arashiyama Museum in 1973 and then bought by the town of Chiran in 1997. It now rests in the Chiran Peace Museum for Kamikaze Pilots in flying condition as the only surviving Ki-84 Hayate.
- Nakajima Ki-84
- 四式戦闘機 - Wikipedia (Japanese site)
- The Nakajima Ki-84 - The Boxart Den
- USAAF's testing results and evaluation