Ki-44-II hei (China)

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RANK 5 SWEDEN
SAAB J-29D PACK
␗Ki-44-II hei Shoki
ki_44_2_hei_china.png
AB
RB
SB
General characteristics
Brief
Detailed
3.0/2.7/2.0BR
Class
1 personCrew
3 tTake-off weight
1.97 kg/sBurst mass
Flight characteristics
9800 mCeiling
Nakajima Ha-109Engine
RadialType
airCooling system
Speed of destruction
850 km/hStructural
300 km/hGear
Offensive armament
4 x 12.7 mm Ho-103 machine gunWeapon 1
1000 roundsAmmunition
900 shots/minFire rate
Suspended armament
2 x 50 kg Army Type 94 GPHE bombSetup 1
2 x 100 kg Army Type 94 GPHE bombSetup 2
Economy
9200 Rp icon.pngResearch
22000 Sl icon.pngPurchase
Sl icon.png2400 / 3012/2800 / 3514/1040 / 1305Repair
6300 Sl icon.pngCrew training
22000 Sl icon.pngExperts
180 Ge icon.pngAces
118 % Rp icon.pngReward for battle
240 % Sl icon.png160 % Sl icon.png40 % Sl icon.png
This page is about the Chinese fighter Ki-44-II hei (China). For other uses, see Ki-44 (Family).

Description

GarageImage Ki-44-II hei (China).jpg


The ␗Ki-44-II hei Shoki is a rank II Chinese fighter with a battle rating of 2.0 (AB), 2.7 (RB), and 3.0 (SB). It was introduced in Update 1.91 "Night Vision". It has identical performance to the original Japanese Ki-44-II hei.

The "Shoki" was named after a powerful king of demons in Chinese mythology, Zhong Kui, said to have a grotesque appearance. The squat and stubby Ki-44 will not be winning any beauty contests, especially not with its degraded camouflage in Chinese service, but it has incredible flight performance for its rank and can be a dangerous opponent in the hands of a skilled pilot. Pilots familiar with the earlier CW-21 will find some similarities in its performance and tactics. This machine was built for speed and climb, but as can be expected for Japanese fighters, its agility is still good compared to planes from other nations.

General info

Flight performance

A very good energy fighter that turns decently and has a very high top speed when fully upgraded of 606 km/h at 6,000 m, being able to reach that height in 5 minutes at a 21-degree angle at 98% throttle. The Ki-44 will maintain a >25 m/s climb rate with WEP below 4,000 m. However, the engine will overheat on WEP very quickly below 5,500 m if manual engine controls are not used.

It is a fast plane, being able to match the speed of almost anything it meets. This is coupled with excellent acceleration, energy retention, high rip speed and low control stiffening, allowing it to pursue after planes that other fighters cannot. The Ki-44 retains the iconic Japanese agility of its country, being able to turn-fight most fighters it encounters, with its high roll rate serving well to keep its targets in sight and to shake off enemies. It is also equal or superior in energy fights to anything it faces, flying loops and energy trapping its foes on a whim.

Characteristics
Stock
Max Speed
(km/h at 5,200 m)
Max altitude
(meters)
Turn time
(seconds)
Rate of climb
(meters/second)
Take-off run
(meters)
AB RB AB RB AB RB
582 566 9800 20.9 21.5 14.3 14.3 320
Upgraded
Max Speed
(km/h at 5,200 m)
Max altitude
(meters)
Turn time
(seconds)
Rate of climb
(meters/second)
Take-off run
(meters)
AB RB AB RB AB RB
632 606 9800 19.7 20.0 24.5 18.8 320

Details

Features
Combat flaps Take-off flaps Landing flaps Air brakes Arrestor gear
X X
Limits
Wing-break speed
(km/h)
Gear limit
(km/h)
Combat flaps
(km/h)
Max Static G
+ -
400 ~12 ~8
Optimal velocities
Ailerons
(km/h)
Rudder
(km/h)
Elevators
(km/h)
Radiator
(km/h)
< 400 < 400 < 450 > 335
Compressor (RB/SB)
Setting 1
Optimal altitude 100% Engine power WEP Engine power
1,386 m 1,420 hp 1,613 hp
Setting 2
Optimal altitude 100% Engine power WEP Engine power
4,443 m 1,300 hp 1,477 hp

Survivability and armour

  • 10.5 mm Steel plate behind the pilot
  • 10.5 mm Steel plate - headrest

While it lacks bulletproof glass or self-sealing fuel tanks, the rear armor is helpful for preventing untimely pilot-snipes from low-caliber machine guns when being chased. Head-ons should be avoided and attacks on bombers should be made with caution.


Armaments

Offensive armament

Main article: Ho-103 army (12.7 mm)

The Ki-44-II hei (China) is armed with:

  • 2 x 12.7 mm Ho-103 army machine guns, nose-mounted (250 rpg = 500 total)
  • 2 x 12.7 mm Ho-103 army machine guns, wing-mounted (250 rpg = 500 total)

The Ki-44-II hei is armed with four Ho-103 heavy machine guns, with a total of 1,000 rounds of ammunition (250 rounds per gun). The Ho-103 machine gun has a low damage output outside of 300 meters due to the low velocity, so the player should make sure to shoot within 300 meters. However, inside of 300 meters, the Ho-103 has a decent damage output easily cutting off wings and critically damaging control surfaces, but it is still weaker than the M2 Brownings or Berezin UB machine guns. The accuracy is very good overall as two of them are in the nose & the other two are in the wings. The best belts for the Ho-103 machine guns would be either Stealth or Air targets belts depending on play style.


Suspended armament

The Ki-44-II hei (China) 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)

The Ki-44 is not suited for ground attack and bomb loadouts should generally be avoided. In Ground RB the 100 kg bombs may be helpful if no alternatives aircraft are available for CAS, but they are rather weak and need to land on or very close to their target to secure kills reliably.

Usage in battles

In-game, the Ki-44 is the pinnacle of point interceptors at its battle rating. At the beginning of any match, use your amazing climb rate to get as high as you can. If you climb at around a 22° angle, you should be able to find yourself far above enemy bombers by the time you encounter them. If there are bombers, those 4 x 12.7s machine guns can do a number on a bomber, but the bombers defences can also do a lot to you. When attacking a bomber, do it in high-speed passes, giving the gunners minimal time to lock on to you. Aim for the wings of the bomber as, while not exactly high velocity, your shells can do a lot of damage to a bomber's wing.

If there are no bombers your next job is fighter interception. Attack enemy fighters using Boom & Zoom tactics to destroy fighters. Use vertical manoeuvres to maximise your energy retention while booming and zooming. As long as you keep your speed up, you should be fine. Horizontal manoeuvres are not highly recommended as it performs worse than in the vertical but will turn with most other fighters if needed especially with flaps. Do not turn fight against more maneuverable aircraft like Zeros or Spitfires. Stall climbs can also be used to great effect against opposing planes due to the incredible energy retention and climb rate.

The Ho-103 machine guns are not the best of armaments. They use a shorter cartridge than the familiar M2 Browning used by US aircraft and have a significantly lower muzzle velocity. In addition, the rounds currently have extremely high drag and the HE rounds included in certain belts are not modeled as containing any explosive filler. It is a good idea to use them at close distances as mentioned earlier and to lead the target generously when performing deflection shots. The Ki-44's excellent flight characteristics will at least provide more opportunities to attack and wear down its enemies.

Note that some planes at or below the Chinese Ki-44's rank that it can face are capable of matching it in speed. The German He 100 D-1 is still ludicrously fast (higher top speed while stock than a spaded Ki-44) and the Italian C.202 is only slightly slower, so against these opponents it pays to be more cautious. On the bright side, neither of these aircraft are particularly agile or well armed.

  • In simulator, the Ki-44 is a decent fighter that can do traditional dogfights, some bomber-hunting and some ground pounding. It has great all-round visibility, especially to the sides and the rear thanks to its clear teardrop canopy. However there are lots of thick frames at the front which can get very annoying and obstruct the target in a chase, delaying the pilot's reaction. The glass on the canopy's sides also tend to create dizzying reflections when the sun is near, reducing the visibility a lot. The over-the-nose visibility is average. The wing position (in front of the canopy) means that you cannot see anything at your low 11, 12, 1, 2 'o clock so you have to fly past the target area and look towards 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 'o clock where there is nothing to obstruct your view.
  • The handling is good in general. During a take off the Ki-44 feels nose-heavy without any flaps deployed therefore after retracting the gears and flaps you need to pitch up a bit until the plane picks up some speed. Only elevator trim is available, so when the stick is at its deadzone, the Ki-44 will roll and yaw to the left side. Therefore you always need to pull the stick to the right which can get a bit annoying. It has excellent climb rate of around 14m/s at 400 kph, with 100% throttle and no MEC. This means that it can get to an ideal altitude of around 3000m very quickly. In a dive it easily accelerates to around 550 kph while still having responsive controls, however it does not retain the speed well after leveling out. Note that its engine will overheat unbelievably fast. With WEP it heats up to >243° within 15 seconds. Thus you must utilise the WEP only when you have to, for example in a zoom climb or a high yoyo. The good news is, the engine can cool down quick enough for another 15-second WEP.
  • While being more of a BnZ fighter, the Ki-44 also performs excellent at turn fighting - with the appropriate opponent, of course. Except a few dedicated turn fighters, the Ki-44 can out-turn and get on most opponents' tail with combat flaps deployed. Note: do not turn with Spitfires or Zeros, you will never out-turn them. If you see a plane with a streamlined inline engine and large, elliptical wings (Spitfire) or something with rounded wingtips and stabiliser tips, a radial engine and a pointy tail (A6M), try some defensive manoeuvres like barrel rolls or disengage by diving towards a nearby friendly airfield. 
  • The Ki-44 has a lovely low stall-speed of around 160 kph and is also very controllable when getting out of a stall, unlike the preceding I-16. However the handling gets very sluggish when slower than 200 kph.
  • When intercepting planes, it is crucial to know what the target is. If it is a bomber/attacker with decent defensive firepower, great turret coverage, or robust protection, then you might want to disengage after some attempts if you don't want to die. From the hard-hitting M2 Browning to the fast-firing MG 15, any gun can critically damage the Ki-44 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 bomber passes in front of your guns. This short window might seem inadequate to do anything... and it usually is, unfortunately. The slow velocity, light projectiles and low one-second burst mass usually guarantee no critical damage. However sometimes it only takes one bullet to set the target aflame, if you are lucky.
  • B-25, Ju 88, IL-2, etc: These aircraft have either powerful defensive guns, for example the B-25, or wide gun coverage such as the Ju 88. The most threatening one, the B-25, is fairly easy to distinguish. It has a short and wide fuselage, twin radial engine hanging under the wings and a H-tail. Focus your fire on the engines and constantly swing sideways to avoid getting hit. A few hits from the M2 Browning is a guaranteed death. The Ju 88, on the other hand, has great underside gun coverage so attacking from below isn't a very good option. Try engaging from the sides and concentrate the fire on the front half of it, as that is where all the vital components are located. Again, never engage any of these if you have no altitude advantage. Pin them on the map and leave them to teammates with more powerful firepower.
  • A6M, Spitfire, etc: If you see them on your tail try outrunning them by diving at around -40 degrees. The Ki-44 still remains responsive handling at 600 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, the early Spitfires and A6M only have a 60-round drum per cannon which will run out fairly fast. The leftover 7.7 mm machine guns will not be as destructive.
  • F4U, F6F, P-47, etc: these planes are a huge threat to the Ki-44 as they have superior firepower, speed, dive acceleration and robust airframes. Their 12.7mm MGs can easily tear you apart or simply pilot-snipe you even when they are far away, as the M2 Brownings have great velocity and trajectory. They can also sey you aflame easily. The F4U has a long cylindrical nose and the iconic inverted gull wing. The P-47 has a huge, jug-like fuselage, bubble canopy and elliptical trailing edge that usually have invasion stripes painted on them. The F6F, on the other hand, might get confused with other planes as it looks rather average. Anyways, start a turnfight whenever you see these stubby planes.

Manual Engine Control

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

Modules

Tier Flight performance Survivability Weaponry
I Fuselage repair Radiator Offensive 12 mm
II Compressor Airframe 7 in (mod20)
III Wings repair Engine New 12 mm MGs
IV Engine injection Cover 10 in (mod24)

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Incredibly fast, leaves virtually any plane it faces in the dust at any altitude
  • Climb rate is better than most equivalent aircraft, at more than 25 m/s spaded
  • Excellent acceleration
  • Has an excellent roll rate and decent turn time comparing to less agile planes like the Fw 190s (utilise combat flaps for tighter manoeuvring)
  • Adequate armament for the rank
  • Good cockpit visibility in Simulator

Cons:

  • Mostly faces Japan (facing equally/more manoeuvrable planes like A6M2)
  • Engine feels like a plasma reactor, you will overheat within a minute and a half with WEP, using 100% doesn't cool it down quickly enough
  • Has Instructor issues. Rudder and ailerons are very unstable if the plane is banked or at low speed
  • Flaps cause the nose to pitch down hard if used below 150-200 km/h in a steep climb
  • Armament is tricky to use
  • Rather fragile, easily destroyed by Japanese F4U

History

The design of the Ki-44 Shoki (Allied Code Name: Tojo) traces back to Nakajima's other infamous IJAAF aircraft; The Ki-43 Hayabusa. Soon after the design of the Ki-43, Nakajima received orders from the Imperial Japanese Army for an interceptor aircraft with a precedence of speed and rate of climb over the traditional maneuverability-focused aircraft the Japanese were more known for. Nakajima set to work on the prototype immediately, choosing the company's own Ha-141 radial engine that provided 1,250 in optimal condition. It was similarly constructed to the Ki-43, retaining the excellent Butterfly Combat Flaps and basic design, and carried two 7.7 mm Type 89 machine guns and two of the recently designed 12.7 mm Ho-103 HMG's that were based on the American Browning M1921. The aircraft's first flight occurred in 1940 and was involved in tests versus Kawasaki's Ki-60 prototype, which was powered by the German DB 601 engine used in the early Bf 109's, and an imported Bf 109 E. Through the many trials and evaluations, it was found to be superior to both designs and was ordered for production under the designation "Army Type 2 Single seat Fighter Model 1A Shoki" and company designation of Ki-44-Ia. The first production variants were fitted with the same armament layout as the prototypes but was found to be lacklustre, so was changed to four Ho-103 HMG's in a model dubbed Ki44-Ib. Only some 40 odd Ki-44-Ia's were made including the improved Ib and Ic models.

The high landing speeds and comparatively limited maneuverability made it unpopular with pilots, who requested an upgraded Ki-43 instead due to the superior agility. Nakajima responded with the Ki-44-II, which sported the more powerful Ha-109 engine which powered the Ki-49 Donryu medium bomber. The variant also had other minor improvements such as a larger cockpit and a more efficient intercooler. Along side the Ki-44-IIa, the Ki-44-IIc was introduced providing a drastic improvement in firepower, comprising of either 4 x 20 mm Ho-5 cannons or 2 x 12.7 mm Ho-103 HMG's and 2 x 40 mm Ho-301 cannons, which proved to be effective when attacking heavy bombers. This improved firepower however, actually worsened the aircraft's reputation with pilots due to the heavier wing loading causing violent reactions to high speed maneuvers. It gained more respect later on in its service life due to its extreme potency as an interceptor.

By the end of World War II, relatively few Ki-44s were still in service with the IJAAF. Some of the aircraft used by disbanded Japanese squadrons stationed in China were used by Kuomintang and Communist forces in the resumed Chinese Civil War. Some may have been flown by Japanese mercenaries. After the victory of the Communists and the Kuomintang's retreat to Taiwan, surviving aircraft were used by the newly established PLAAF for a number of years afterwards, though no complete examples exist today.


Media

Excellent additions to the article would be video guides, screenshots from the game, and photos.

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

Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:

  • topic on the official game forum;
  • encyclopedia page on the aircraft;
  • other literature.


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
  Ki-87
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
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)

China fighters
British  ␗Gladiator Mk I
Japanese  ␗A6M2 · ␗Ki-27 otsu · ␗Ki-43-III ko · ␗Ki-44-II hei · ␗Ki-61-I otsu · Ki-84 ko
American  CW-21 · Hawk III · P-66 · ␗P-40E-1 · H-81A-2 · ␗P-43A-1 · ␗P-47D-28 · ␗P-51D-20 · ␗P-51K
Soviet  ␗I-15bis · ␗I-153 M-62 · I-16 Chung 28 · ␗I-16 type 5 · I-16 type 10 · ␗I-16 type 17 · ␗La-9