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Kawanishi N1K1-J, N1K2-J Shiden Kai (George)
Technical Information

Background
The George was a derivative of the N1K1 Kyofu (Rex), a rather unusual case wherein the origins of this land based fighter came from a seaplane. This Japanese fighter was produced during the last year of WW II. The airplane proved to be one of the best "all-round" fighters operational in the Pacific.

A unique design feature was wing flaps which operated automatically to increase "lift" when necessary during extreme maneuvers. The device, operated with electricity and oil pressure using a U-shaped tube containing mercury, was an important factor in the aircraft's maneuverability in combat.

However, it did not have sufficient performace at altitude to make it an effective interceptor against B-29 raids, primarily due to engine development difficulties.

Each N1K1-J and N1K2-J aircraft had only one large droppable fuel tank under the fuselage body.

N1K1-J Model 11
The float fighter "Mighty Wind" Model 11 (Kyofu 11 Gata or Kyofu Model 11 or Rex 11) was designated N1K1. The fighter derived from the N1K1 was designated "Violet Lightning" Model 11 or Shiden 11 Gata or Shiden Model 11 or N1K1-J or George 11. Only the N1K1-J served in the Philippines.

N1K2-J Model 21
The modified and improved version that followed was designated "Violet Lightning" Model 21 or Shiden 21 Gata or Shiden Kai or N1K2-J or George 21. If you use the project designations, you will not be wrong: N1K1, N1K1-J, and N1K2-J.

As for the Shiden Model 21, the first 100 planes assembled at Naruo could carry two 30- or 60-kg bombs or two 250-kg bombs.Beginning with the 101st plane, facilities were provided to permit the carrying of four 30- or 60-kg bombs or two 250-kg bombs. This was the Shiden Model 21 Kou (N1K2-J Kou or N1K2-Ja in all English).

Factories that were to produce the N1K2-J, in addition to Kawanishi were Aichi, Mitsubishi, Hiro Naval Depot, Showa and Omura Naval Depot.

N1K2-Ja and Shiden Model 21 Kou are more detailed and specific terms. The detailed terms probably did not appear on the plane's nameplates and may not have appeared in its log books. The use of terms like N1K2-Ja and Shiden Model 21 Kou were more often seen in technical papers, training papers, and maintenance papers. There is a possibility that these detailed designations are of post-war origins, as well, and were never used during the war.

The N1K2-J was held in Japan for interceptor work. It was flown by pilots of Air Group 343 and by pilots of the Yokosuka Air Group.

Production
Because of initial production problems, plus shortages of parts resulting from B-29 raids on the Japanese homeland, only 428 were produced.

The N1K1-J was produced between 1943 and 1945 with the deliveries to the navy as follows:

April 1943 to December 1943 = 71 planes
January 1944 to December 1944 = 824 planes
January 1945 to June 1945 = 112 planes
TOTAL 1,007

The N1K2-J was produced mainly in 1944 and 1945, with deliveries to the navy as follows:

December 1943 = 1 plane
January 1944 to December 1944 = 67 planes
January 1945 to July 1945 = 332 planes
TOTAL 400

Thanks to Jim Long for additional information
Technical Details
Crew  One (pilot)
Engine  Nakajima NK9H Homare 21
Span  12 m (39' 4.5")
Length  9.35m (30' 8")
Height  3.96m (13')
Maximum Speed  370 mph
Range  805 km
Armament  4 x 20mm cannons
Bombload  2 x 550 lb. bombs under wings or two drop tanks
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