Ki-43-III otsu

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This page is about the Japanese fighter Ki-43-III otsu. For other versions, see Ki-43 (Family).
Ki-43-III otsu
GarageImage Ki-43-III otsu.jpg
ArtImage Ki-43-III otsu.jpg
Ki-43-III otsu
4.3 4.0 4.7
Research:18 000 Specs-Card-Exp.png
Purchase:47 000 Specs-Card-Lion.png
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The Ki-43-III otsu Hayabusa is a rank III Japanese fighter with a battle rating of 4.3 (AB), 4.0 (RB), and 4.7 (SB). It was introduced in Update 1.45 "Steel Generals".

The Ki-43-III otsu is as a rank three aircraft in the Japanese Army Air Force line. Like its rank two brethren, it is an extremely manoeuvrable and lightweight aircraft. It has exceptional climb and roll rate making it a fairly hard target to hit in the hands of a skilled player. The trade-off, however, is its extremely fragile nature - a good hit even from a plane equipped with rifle-calibre guns could do some serious damage if one doesn't push the plane to its limits in any of the game modes. On the other hand, the rather modest pair of fuselage-mounted 12.7 mm Ho-103s of the Ki-43-II have been replaced with a pair of the hard-hitting Ho-5 20 mm cannons, which for its battle-rating gives the Hayabusa the power it needs to take down anything it opposes. Like many of the Japanese fighters, dogfighting is the key to staying alive. By using the combat flaps and throttle in a optimal manner, this aircraft can get behind nearly every opponent it meets in a low to mid altitude dogfight. With a modest ammo load of 300 rounds, trigger discipline is important here. It is best to get up close (200-500 m is optimal) and then let off several short bursts, firing until the enemy is critically damaged or the plane is destroyed.

General info

Flight performance

Max speed
at 6 800 m574 km/h
Turn time16 s
Max altitude11 000 m
EngineNakajima Ha-115-II
Cooling systemAir
Take-off weight3 t
Characteristics Max Speed
(km/h at 6,800 m)
Max altitude
Turn time
Rate of climb
Take-off run
Stock 546 528 11000 16.2 17.2 11.3 11.3 200
Upgraded 610 574 15.8 16.0 24.1 16.6


Combat flaps Take-off flaps Landing flaps Air brakes Arrestor gear
Wings (km/h) Gear (km/h) Flaps (km/h) Max Static G
Combat Take-off Landing + -
661 330 387 371 250 ~10 ~8
Optimal velocities (km/h)
Ailerons Rudder Elevators Radiator
< 370 < 350 < 450 > 296

Survivability and armour

Crew1 person
Speed of destruction
Structural0 km/h
Gear330 km/h
  • 12 mm Steel plate behind pilot

Modifications and economy

Repair costBasic → Reference
AB875 → 1 099 Sl icon.png
RB1 979 → 2 485 Sl icon.png
SB3 092 → 3 883 Sl icon.png
Total cost of modifications19 700 Rp icon.png
32 100 Sl icon.png
Talisman cost980 Ge icon.png
Crew training13 000 Sl icon.png
Experts47 000 Sl icon.png
Aces400 Ge icon.png
Research Aces280 000 Rp icon.png
Reward for battleAB / RB / SB
50 / 130 / 270 % Sl icon.png
136 / 136 / 136 % Rp icon.png
Flight performance Survivability Weaponry
Mods aerodinamic fuse.png
Fuselage repair
1 300 Rp icon.png
2 100 Sl icon.png
130 Ge icon.png
Mods radiator.png
1 300 Rp icon.png
2 100 Sl icon.png
130 Ge icon.png
Mods compressor.png
1 100 Rp icon.png
1 800 Sl icon.png
110 Ge icon.png
Mods aerodinamic wing.png
Wings repair
1 700 Rp icon.png
2 800 Sl icon.png
170 Ge icon.png
Mods new engine.png
1 700 Rp icon.png
2 800 Sl icon.png
170 Ge icon.png
Mods metanol.png
Engine injection
2 100 Rp icon.png
3 400 Sl icon.png
210 Ge icon.png
Mods armor frame.png
1 100 Rp icon.png
1 800 Sl icon.png
110 Ge icon.png
Mods armor cover.png
2 100 Rp icon.png
3 400 Sl icon.png
210 Ge icon.png
Mods pilon bomb.png
7 in (mod20)
1 300 Rp icon.png
2 100 Sl icon.png
130 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 0.png
Mods ammo.png
1 100 Rp icon.png
1 800 Sl icon.png
110 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 1.png
Mods pilon bomb.png
10 in (mod24)
1 100 Rp icon.png
1 800 Sl icon.png
110 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 0.png
Mods pilon bomb.png
12 in (mod30)
1 700 Rp icon.png
2 800 Sl icon.png
170 Ge icon.png
Mods weapon.png
2 100 Rp icon.png
3 400 Sl icon.png
210 Ge icon.png

The stock 20 mm cannon belts are weak, consisting of 1/3 "practice" shells. Research the "Offensive 20 mm belts" as quickly as possible. Otherwise there is not a lot necessary to upgrade, mainly performance modules. The engine and compressor modules do wonders. Payload unlocks should be considered last. The Ki-43 is a fighter, and not a ground attacker like the B7A2.


Offensive armament

Weapon 12 x 20 mm Ho-5 cannon
Ammunition300 rounds
Fire rate948 shots/min
Main article: Ho-5 (20 mm)

The Ki-43-III otsu is armed with:

  • 2 x 20 mm Ho-5 cannons, nose-mounted (150 rpg = 300 total)

Suspended armament

List of setups (3)
Setup 12 x 50 kg Army Type 94 GPHE bomb
Setup 22 x 100 kg Army Type 94 GPHE bomb
Setup 32 x 250 kg Army Type 92 GPHE bomb

The Ki-43-III otsu can be outfitted with the following ordnance:

  • Without load
  • 2 x 50 kg Army Type 94 GPHE bombs (100 kg total)
  • 2 x 100 kg Army Type 94 GPHE bombs (200 kg total)
  • 2 x 250 kg Army Type 92 GPHE bombs (500 kg total)

Usage in battles

Like the Zeros, the Ki-43 is exceptionally light and manoeuvrable. Unlike the Zeros, the Ki-43 has a ridiculous roll rate making it the closest one can get to playing an arcade-esque plane in RB.

Unfortunately, this comes at a cost. The Ki-43 sees primarily American planes which are far faster in both level flight and dive while having significantly better armament. Evading fire becomes difficult when facing planes such as the P-47N-15 which has 8 x M2 Browning .50 cals which are extremely deadly and have a ridiculous volume of fire.

As such, the Ki-43 is almost entirely dependent on siphoning kills from unwary pilots, pilot errors, manoeuvre kills, and pilot frustration which makes it quite a difficult plane to play. However, if played right, and abusing its insane roll rate and turn time, you can take down multiple enemies with your cannon and force others to crash out of frustration and over-eagerness. Note that this aircraft will experience severe rudder lockup when faster than around 450 km/h, resulting in awkward aiming adjustments if the target manoeuvres, so you need to cut throttle appropriately to control your speed.

While having sufficient flight characteristics, the Ki-43 is extremely fragile and can get critically damaged by almost all guns. From the hard-hitting M2 Browning to the fast-firing MG 15, any gun can badly hurt the Ki-43 especially on the engine, fuel tanks, and pilot which can always lead to a later crash. Before attacking try to get an altitude advantage and perform deflection shots. To maximise the damage aim for their wings and engines, as the fuselage usually soaks up lots of bullets. Only fire when the target passes in front of your guns. This short window might seem inadequate to do anything, but an accurate burst can blow off some control surfaces / damage the engine. And sometimes it only takes one bullet to set the target aflame, if you are lucky. Short bursts also maximize your limited ammo capacity; with 150 rounds per gun, you only have 9.5 seconds of firing time.


When using the Ki-43-III otsu, do remember this plane can easily out manoeuvre anything it may face. Do not try to go head on with enemy planes as even a single round can damage your plane. Instead, position for a head on, but pull off about 1.2 km out, go under the enemy aircraft, and loop around for a shot. You may need to repeat this manoeuvre several times to secure a firing position.

  • In Simulator, the Ki-43 is overall a decent plane. It has very forgiving characteristics such as good over-the-nose visibility, a clear bubble canopy without much framing and good backwards visibility. This increases your chance of spotting, tracking, and/or dodging since you can see targets from almost every direction with ease (except the underside, of course). It is recommended to set keybind for moving your head vertically to make full use of the great forward vision in a dogfight. However, its wings are located directly below the cockpit meaning that you cannot see what is below your sides which can lead to you losing track of the enemy. You should get used to searching towards your 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10 o'clock, avoiding the wings.
  • Note that when taking off the Ki-43 will shift severely to the left due to the propeller torque, so it is recommended to set keybinds for left and right brakes to effectively control your direction on the runway. Using rudder alone will not work at low speed and you will either circle around or lose control and crash into nearby structures like tents/hangars.
  • Landing is very beginner-friendly too. It is able to decelerate quickly while also having low stall speed, allowing you to quickly slow down and descend onto the runway. Takeoff and landing flaps do not lift up the nose a lot so you can easily remain overall parallel to the ground. It also performs great when braking as its nose will not usually dip into the ground, so you can keep braking until it fully stops (given that you deflect elevators fully upwards) which is vital for preparing the next fight quickly.
  • It has very good handling at most speeds. It does not wobble a lot which is an advantage over the biplanes and early monoplane fighters, making it easier to smooth the aim. You should familiarise the shape of those that you should not turn with: the Spitfires have long, straight nose with an inline engine, rather large and elliptical wings. The Zeros have an overall cylindrical fuselage that merges into a pointy tail after the stabilisers, a radial engine and are usually painted white (early models). If you see them on your tail try outrunning them by diving at around -40 degrees. The Ki-43 still remains responsive handling at 500 km/h, but its speed retention is poor, meaning it will start to lose speed quickly and the enemy might catch up. If you are near a friendly airfield, great. If not, then hope for the best and run towards the friendly side. Don't forget to pitch up and down a little to mess up their aim.

Specific enemies worth noting

Most Allied opponents at the battle rating can outrun the Ki-43 with ease. Most concerning are planes such as the P-47D/N or F4U Corsair, as both planes are over 80 km/h (50 mph) faster on the deck and also possess exceptional .50 cal armament. Use the Ki-43's manoeuvrability to dodge shots and try to slowly drain the energy of your opponent and force mistakes.

When facing the Ki-43-III otsu do remember that it is very manoeuvrable and that it can easily out turn what it faces therefore try to apply Boom & Zoom tactics against a Ki-43-III otsu.

  • It will be very challenging when facing against the Chinese/American Ki-43, as both of you have the same characteristics. You cannot outrun each other and cannot out-turn each other, so the fight will be a combination of various manoeuvres and techniques, and of course, the pilot's skills. However, now you have a better chance of critically damaging them within a short firing window which is always an advantage. Note that the Ki-43 has similar appearance as the Ki-44 and can be misjudged as a Ki-44 or a Zero which are also in the Chinese/American tree. Comparing to the Ki-43, the Ki-44 has a slightly bigger engine and the canopy is shifted backwards. The Chinese Zero is painted dark brown with a silver spinner, while the American one is in greyish-blue. They all turn well and have accelerate well in a dive.
  • When it comes to intercepting ground pounders or bombers, the Ki-43 generally performs poorly since the targets are all quite robust against your weak guns. Some examples are the IL-2 which is commonly seen in Sim. It can get mistakenly seen as other aircraft from a distance due to its common appearance. But up close you will see two bomb-like structures underneath its wings and triangular stabilisers with rounded tips. The early IL-2s have no defensive guns so it is safe to sit behind and carefully aim. They are heavily armoured in the cockpit and engine so avoid aiming at these areas. Instead target the tail to hope for disabling their tail control. The late IL-2s, however, have a rear-facing Berezin UB which is something you definitely want to avoid. Perform deflection shots from oblique angles (e.g. sides, top & bottom) or just disengage.
  • Typhoon Mk Ib/L: this is a very capable opponent, it is quite fast, climbs well, has reasonable manoeuvrability, and has 4 x 20 mm cannons that can fatally damage the Ki-43. If you are attacking, get an altitude advantage first and BnZ it. If you are being attacked by it, evade its first pass and immediately start a turnfight. You need to deploy combat / takeoff flaps, or even landing flaps if needed to push your turn rate to the limit. Several circles are needed, don't panic to see the Typhoon keeping up with your turns at first. With appropriate flaps, the Ki-43 will slowly out turn it, allowing you to get onto its tail. The Typhoon overall resembles a Hurricane, except its symbolic giant intake below the engine.

Manual Engine Control

MEC elements
Mixer Pitch Radiator Supercharger Turbocharger
Oil Water Type
Not controllable Controllable
Auto control available
Not auto controlled
Not auto controlled
Separate Controllable
2 gears
Not controllable

Pros and cons


  • Excellent rate of climb
  • Decent level & dive speed at its place
  • Extremely manoeuvrable
  • Quick roll rate
  • Good armament
  • Decent ammo capacity
  • Low stall speed
  • Useful flaps in a turnfight
  • Good all-round cockpit visibility in simulator
  • Forgiving landing characteristics


  • Lightly armoured
  • Can catch fire easily due to the lack of armoured fuel tanks
  • Can feel a bit like a paper airplane handling-wise
  • Extremely slow, at 507 km/h on the deck
  • Poor high-alt performance
  • Energy retention and dive speed is abysmal
  • Wing rips can happen very easily if one performs high speed manoeuvres (~11 G)
  • Rudder locks up at around >=450 km/h, meaning that you will miss quite some passes due to the aim not being able to adjust horizontally


In early 1937 the Army recognized the need for a new single seat fighter. Instead of going through the normal process of requesting manufacturers to submit designs, the Army contracted with Nakajima directly to produce a replacement for their Ki-27 (Army Type 97) fighter. The requirements laid out to Nakajima for this new fighter was for it to have a top speed of 311 mph, to be able to reach 16,405 ft within five minutes, to have a minimum range of 500 miles, it was to be armed with two 7.7 mm machine guns, and to not lose any of the manoeuvrability of the Ki-27. The first prototype of what was to become the Ki-43 was completed in December 1938 with 2 more following soon after in 1939, however upon testing it was found that these airplanes did not live up the Army's expectations. The complaints from test pilots included that the plane was not manoeuvrable enough, hard to control, and had visibility issues.

Following the evaluation of the initial 3 prototypes, Nakajima would develop 10 testing aircraft with various modifications in order to address the armies concerns. The changes tested included giving the fighter the HA-105 engine, replacing the 7.7 mm machine guns with 12.7 mm machine guns, upgrading the outer skin to a treated duralumin, narrower fuselage, redesigned tail surfaces, modifications to the wing design, and the introduction of butterfly flaps. The last improvement in particular helped the plane to overcome its lack of manoeuvrability that the Army had issue with. After these designed prototypes were tested the Army settled on what they saw was the optimum configuration and requested that it be equipped with the Nakajima Ha-25 engine. The plane entered production as the Ki-43-Ia (Army Type 1 Fighter Model 1A) with the first example completing production in April 1941. This model was soon replaced with the Ki-43-Ib (Army Type 1 Fighter Model 1B) which replaced one of the 7.7 mm machine guns with a 12.7 mm machine gun which was also soon replaced by the Ki-43-Ic (Army Type 1 Fighter Model 1C) which was equipped with two 12.7 mm machine gun.

After some time in the field, the Ki-43 was to receive a major upgrade based on feedback from pilots, which included replacing the Ha-25 engine with the more powerful Ha-115 engine, a two stage supercharger, pilot armour, self-sealing fuel tanks and many more minor improvements. The first prototype of what was to become the Ki-43-II (Army Type 1 Fighter Model 2) was completed in February 1942. The last major modification of the Ki-43 was done in 1944, combining the minor modifications of the IIa and IIb with the more powerful Nakajima Ha-115-II engine. These minor modifications over the Ki-43-II included a reduced wing-span (improving the plane's low and medium speed performance), increased pilot armour, improved oil cooler, and modified carburetor intake. This new Ki-43-IIIa (Army Type 1 Fighter Model 3A) entered production in October 1944 with approximately 1,000 being completed before the war ended. The Ki-43 would become the most numerous of all the Japanese Army's fighters. While operating in Malaysia and Burma the plane received the codename "Jim" and in the Pacific Theatre it received the allied codename "Oscar". The codename "Oscar" was eventually selected as the official code name for the airplane by the Allies.



See also

Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:

  • reference to the series of the aircraft;
  • links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.

External links

Nakajima Aircraft Company (中島飛行機株式会社 )
Fighters  Ki-27 otsu · Ki-27 otsu Tachiarai
  Ki-43-I · Ki-43-II · Ki-43-III otsu
  Ki-44-I · Ki-44-I 34 · Ki-44-II otsu · Ki-44-II hei
  Ki-84 ko · Ki-84 otsu · Ki-84 hei
Hydroplanes  A6M2-N*
Interceptors  J1N1 · J5N1
Bombers  B5N2
  B6N1 Model 11 · B6N2 Model 12 · B6N2a Model 12Ko
  G5N1 · G8N1
  Ki-49-I · Ki-49-IIa · Ki-49-IIb · Ki-49-IIb/L
Recon  E8N2
Jet Fighters  Kikka
Captured  ␗Ki-27 otsu · ▃Ki-43-II · ␗Ki-43-III ko · ␗Ki-44-II hei · ␗Ki-84 ko
  *Refit of the Mitsubishi A6M2 mod. 11
See also  Fuji Heavy Industries (1957-2017)

Japan fighters
Carrier-based fighter 
A5M  A5M4 · Hagiri's A5M4
A6M  A6M2 mod. 11 · A6M2 · A6M3 · A6M3 mod. 22 · A6M3 mod. 22Ko · A6M5 · A6M5 Ko · A6M5 otsu · A6M5 Hei · A6M6c
A7He  A7He1*
A7M  A7M1 (NK9H) · A7M2
Land-based Fighter 
J2M  J2M2 · J2M3 · J2M4 Kai · J2M5 · J2M5 (30 mm)
J6K  J6K1
J7W  J7W1
N1K-J  N1K1-Ja · N1K2-J · N1K2-Ja
Fighter seaplane 
N1K  N1K1
A6M-N  A6M2-N
Ki-10  Ki-10-I · Ki-10-I C · Ki-10-II · Ki-10-II C
Ki-27  Ki-27 otsu · Ki-27 otsu Tachiarai
Ki-43  Ki-43-I · Ki-43-II · Ki-43-III otsu
Ki-44  Ki-44-I · Ki-44-I 34 · Ki-44-II otsu · Ki-44-II hei
Ki-61  Ki-61-I ko · Ki-61-I otsu · Ki-61-I hei · Tada's Ki-61-I hei · Ki-61-I tei · Ki-61-II Otsu Kai
Ki-84  Ki-84 ko · Ki-84 otsu · Ki-84 hei
Ki-87  Ki-87
Ki-94  Ki-94-II
Ki-100  Ki-100 · Ki-100-II
Other countries  ▅F4U-1A · ▅P-51C-11-NT · ▅Bf 109 E-7 · ▅Fw 190 A-5
  *Imported designation of the He 112 (A6M was in development - A7M would take A7 designation after the cancelation of the A7He)