Nakajima Ki-44 Shoki (Tojo)
Nicknamed Shoki (demon or devil-queller in
Japanese). Designed in parallel with the Ki-43 Oscar, the Ki-44 was designed as an interceptor,
with emphasis on speed versus climb and manuverability.
Accepted for service in the JAAF in September 1942, the Ki-44-I and
was first encountered in China, Burma and Malaya. The Ki-44-II, with a more
powerful engine went into production in October 1942.
by pilots, and
deadly to less experienced pilots, the Shoki was moderately successful
in the interception role. Although fitted with armor protection and the
self-sealing tanks, both were still largely ineffective against Allied 50-cal
The later Ki-44-III variant, with heavier armament of 2
x 20mm and 2 x 37mm cannons was used in Japan home defense. The Ki-44
was sucessful against unescorted B-29s.
when a small force of Ki-44's intercepted 120 B-29's on February 19, 1945
them. Many other Shokis expended themselves in suicide ramming attacks
the long-ranging B-29s.
Production included 40 Ki-44-I and 1,167 Ki-44-II and Ki-44-III models.
It was phased out by the Ki-84 Hayate (Frank) which came into production
in December 1944.