Kyushu J7W1 Shinden 震電 Magnificent Lightning

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A few Canard fighter aircraft were designed during the Second World War, but only the Japanese Kyushu J7W1 Shinden was ordered into production.  While a promising design, it was a case of too little, too late and only two prototypes were completed before the end of the war.
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The Shinden was intended to fulfill an Imperial Japanese Navy specification for a land based interceptor to oppose the American B-29s which were ravaging Japan.  While its range was relatively short, it carried four 30 mm Type 5 cannon in the nose, a considerable armament for the time.
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Power was provided by a turbocharged Mitsubishi Ha-43 eighteen cylinder radial engine which produced 2,130 hp.  The engine was mounted behind the pilot and drove a six bladed pusher propeller via an extension shaft.  Cooling air was introduced through a series of inlets along the sides of the aircraft.  The prototype experienced engine overheating while on the ground, and vibration due to the length of the shaft connecting the engine and the propeller.
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The Shinden flew for the first time on 03AUG45 with CAPT Tsuruno, head of the IJN design team, at the controls.  Even before the first flight the Navy had ordered the Shinden into production, a reflection of both the design’s promise and the desperation of Japan’s military situation.
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From the beginning the Shinden was intended to be adapted to jet propulsion using an Ne-130 tubojet.  This would have solved the cooling, vibration, and torque problems associated with the Ha-43 at a stroke, but the jet engine was not ready before the war ended.
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One of the Shinden prototypes was brought to America after the war for evaluation, although it does not appear to have been flown.  The U.S. Navy transferred the aircraft to the Smithsonian in 1960.  The forward fuselage is currently on display at NASM Udvar-Hazy with the rest of the components held in storage.  (NASM color photographs)
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Cockpit layout of the J7W1 prototype.  
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Starboard side, showing the seat adjustment lever and the American-installed fire suppression system.
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Port side showing the throttle.

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