Nakajima Ki-58

The Nakajima Ki-58 was a long range escort fighter based on the Nakajima Ki-49 Donryu heavy bomber. It was similar in concept to the American B-40 and B-41 escort fighters, which were produced from the B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator, and were designed to make up for a lack of long range fighter aircraft. Just as the American bombers suffered heavy losses over Europe, the Japanese Mitsubishi Ki-21 (Army Type 97 Heavy Bomber) was suffering heavy losses over China. As no fighter with sufficient range was then in production, Nakajima designed the Ki-58 to provide some support for the Ki-49, which was about to enter service.

The Ki-58 carried five flexible 20mm Ho-I cannons and three 12.7mm Ho-103 machine guns, some in a ventral gondola that replaced the bomb bay. On operations they would have flown on the flanks of the bomber formations, providing some extra protection. Three prototypes were constructed between December 1940 and March 1941, but they never entered service. Instead the problem was solved by the service entry of the Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa Army Type 1 Fighter, which had the range to escort the bombers.

Engines: Two Nakajima Ha-109s
Armament: flexible 20mm Ho-I cannon and three 12.7mm Ho-103 machine guns

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (1 December 2008), Nakajima Ki-58, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_nakajima_ki-58.html

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