Ki-61-Ib (USA)

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This page is about the Japanese fighter Ki-61-Ib (USA). For other versions, see Ki-61 (Family).
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The ▃Ki-61-Ib Hien is a premium rank II American fighter with a battle rating of 3.7 (AB/RB) and 3.3 (SB). It has been in the game since the start of the Open Beta Test prior to Update 1.27. This aircraft is an American-captured version of the Ki-61-I otsu found in the Japanese tech tree.

Armed with four 12.7 mm Ho-103 machine guns and plenty of ammunition, the Ki-61-Ib is a more than capable fighter. As a continuation of the Japanese army tree, the Ki-61 is the successor of the earlier Ki-43 Hayabusa. The Hien is faster, has a higher rate of climb, and features a better armament. Utilize these three aspects when facing planes like the Ki-43. In realistic battles, one of the major advantages the Ki-61-Ib has is its climb rate. The stat card may be misleading, but this plane can reach altitudes no enemies will be close to (unless of course, the enemy is another Hien). This allows the Hien to choose when and where it wants to fight. Instead of simply "turning and burning" the Ki-61 is very good at energy fighting, or Boom & Zoom. Once at a high altitude the Hien pilot may choose to dive lower to attack an enemy. If the enemy is not destroyed on the first pass, it is recommended to climb sharply and gain altitude. By doing this, the Hien sets itself up for another attack while not being in the range of the enemy's guns.

General info

Flight performance

Max speed
at 5 000 m587 km/h
Turn time20 s
Max altitude10 000 m
EngineKawasaki Ha-40
Cooling systemWater
Take-off weight3 t

Unlike its more manoeuvrable and agile counterpart, the A6M Reisen, the Ki-61 is more of what one would call an "energy fighter". Compared to the "Zero" it is faster, has a higher climb rate and handles better at higher speeds. This allows the Ki-61 to force the enemy into long fights where it can maintain its energy more easily.

Characteristics Max Speed
(km/h at 5,000 m)
Max altitude
Turn time
Rate of climb
Take-off run
Stock 567 552 10000 21.1 21.7 7.9 7.9 420
Upgraded 609 587 19.9 20.3 14.9 11.0


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 + -
850 250 292 282 230 ~11 ~8
Optimal velocities (km/h)
Ailerons Rudder Elevators Radiator
< 360 < 350 < 460 > 315

Survivability and armour

Crew1 person
Speed of destruction
Structural0 km/h
Gear250 km/h
  • 16 mm (12°) steel plate - Pilot's headrest
  • 12 mm (12°) steel plate - Pilot's seat
  • 8 mm (48°) steel plate - Above the liquid cooling system

The lack of armour over the engine/fuel tanks makes fires and leaks more likely to happen.

Modifications and economy

Repair cost
AB1 053 Sl icon.png
RB2 781 Sl icon.png
SB1 028 Sl icon.png
Crew training3 400 Sl icon.png
Experts23 000 Sl icon.png
Aces180 Ge icon.png
Research Aces380 000 Rp icon.png
Reward for battleAB / RB / SB
Talisman.png 2 × 40 / 110 / 150 % Sl icon.png
Talisman.png 2 × 118 / 118 / 118 % Rp icon.png
Flight performance Survivability Weaponry
Mods aerodinamic fuse.png
Fuselage repair
Mods radiator.png
Mods compressor.png
Mods aerodinamic wing.png
Wings repair
Mods new engine.png
Mods metanol.png
Engine injection
Mods armor frame.png
Mods armor cover.png
Mods ammo.png
Mod arrow 1.png
Mods weapon.png


Offensive armament

Weapon 14 x 12.7 mm Ho-103 machine gun
Ammunition1 000 rounds
Fire rate900 shots/min
Main article: Ho-103 (12.7 mm)

The Ki-61-Ib (USA) is armed with:

  • 2 x 12.7 mm Ho-103 machine guns, nose-mounted (400 rpg = 800 total)
  • 2 x 12.7 mm Ho-103 machine guns, wing-mounted (500 rpg = 1,000 total)

Usage in battles

The Ki-61's instrument panel.

Arcade battles

The Ki-61 is a jack of all trades, with the guns, speed and turning rate providing most of your kills, and your armour being a secondary advantage in comparison with the Hien's other attributes. The Hien is surprisingly durable for a fighter with little to no armour, but don't count on that to save you.

The four 12.7 mm Ho-103 guns are highly effective: they can easily destroy a plane with a few bursts. But only if you load the right rounds, either being Stealth or Air targets, with both being interchangeable. However the Ki-61 lacks bombs to use against ground targets, which limits your versatility.

The Ki-61 is a multirole fighter that can escort, shoot down bombers or just attack other fighters. However do not try and ground pound because you have no suspended armament.

Realistic battles

The Ki-61-Ib utilized four 12.7 mm Ho-103 Japanese machine guns. Generally, they are unreliable and it often takes hundreds of rounds to destroy an enemy plane. This is due to the lack of primer in the rounds themselves. 12.7 mm rounds fired by the M2 Browning may seem to do more damage because they have more primer which dictates how fast the round will exit the barrel. Due to this, it is necessary to get up close to enemies. Aim for the engine, pilot, or fuel tanks if the location is known. Remember to lead with these machine guns, as the rounds are not high velocity.

The Hien is best utilized as a multi-purpose fighter. Although proficient at energy fighting, the Ki-61 is also generally average at standard manoeuvres. It may lose turn fights with some enemy aircraft like the A6M2, but nonetheless it can still be used in multiple roles. The Hien is your standard "jack of all trades". It's not incredibly good at anything it does but it is even across the board. This allows the Hien pilot to choose what role he or she wants to play in the battle. One could play the reserved, high flying energy fighter, or the aggressive low flying dogfighter. The Ki-61 allows these choices.

Its armament is not so flexible, as the American captured version is unable to equip bombs or ground targets ammunition. Its weapons, four Ho-103 12.7 mm machine guns, are considered by many to be unreliable and unwieldy. However, with accuracy and shot placement, the large ammunition pool can work to your advantage.

If caught in a sticky situation, the Hien pilot may choose to do several things. Depending on your altitude, executing rolling scissors or an overshoot may be a valid tactic. Try to make the enemy pilot feel pressured to disengage. Depending on the enemy's aircraft, use your speed to your advantage and try to get away. The surest tactic would be communicating with teammates to ensure your assailant's death. Once tailed, the Hien pilot can "set up" an enemy by nosing up about 70 degrees so the entirety of the enemy plane is shown. At this stage, ideally, your teammate is arriving to save the day.

Simulator battles

In Sim, the Ki-61 can be used in BnZ fighting, turn fighting, intercepting (to some extent) and some ground pounding. The Ki-61 is overall a pretty friendly plane to fly. It is quite fast, handles nicely at all speeds, has decent visibility especially over the nose, climbs great and has lots of ammo. However its disadvantages are the weak protection and poor damage of the 4 machine guns.

Before taking off, bring at least 30 minutes of fuel for longer patrol time. Set the convergence to around 250 m since your MGs have low velocity, therefore dealing less damage at longer range.

If you are not using MEC, use around 95% throttle when cruising below 3,000 m since the engine will slowly heat up at full throttle. But full throttle is fine at higher altitudes.

Only elevator trim is available, so when the stick is at its deadzone, the Ki-61 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. Usually, a trim of around -7% is enough. But when carrying the 2 x 250 kg bombload, no negative trim is needed.

For dogfighting, it is always safer to enter with an altitude advantage. Most dogfights in sim happen below 3,000m so the Ki-61 can easily climb up to that altitude. As mentioned in the description, its climb rate is actually great, don't get misled by the stat card. Once at an advantageous height, boom & zoom the enemies. The Ki-61 can easily accelerate to more than 550 km/h in a dive which is decently fast but requires more precise manoeuvres to get the correct lead, since the faster you go the smaller the shooting window is. A successful pass will not usually cripple the enemy given you weak firepower, so multiple attacks are needed to destroy one plane. Aside from BnZ, the Ki-61 is also excellent at turn fighting - with the appropriate opponent, of course. Except a few dedicated turn fighters, the Ki-61 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. Note that the Ki-61's roll rate is very average so avoid manoeuvres like scissors.

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-61 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 it is better to aim for their wings and engines, as the fuselage usually soaks up quite some 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. DO NOT follow behind a bomber's 6 unless you are sure that its tail gunners are unconscious. Chasing behind a bomber makes yourself pretty much stationary for the tail gunners, and you will be showered with bullets.

Enemies worth noting:

  • Me 264: This giant is one of the few bombers who get air spawns in Sim, so it usually flies higher than you think. On top of this, the Me 264 is armed with large calibre MG and cannons all over it, therefore tailing a 264 is basically suicide unless all of their gunners are knocked out. You can treat the 264 almost like a B-29 or B-17 as they are very similar in both design and defensive capabilities. It is best to head-on the 264 if you can as you can easily knock out the pilots due to its glazed nose while also taking minimal damage. However the bomber lacks a ventral turret on its belly, making it easy to deal damage from below, but be wary of the downwards facing rear 20 mm cannon near the tail. The safest way to attack is from a higher altitude, dive at an oblique angle and focus fire on the wings and nose. Never engage if you have no altitude advantage.
  • 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-61 still remains responsive handling at 600 km/h, but its speed retention is not the best, 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.

Manual Engine Control

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

Pros and cons


  • Generally performs well in the most common tactics, both BnZ and turn-fighting, allowing flexible gameplay depending on the situation
  • Outstanding climb rate
  • Has decent dive speed, can easily out-dive slower opponents
  • Large amount of ammunition (400-500 rpg) is great for long battles or difficult targets
  • Some armour protection for the pilot means that it will not easily get pilot-sniped by small-calibre/low-penetrating guns from the back
  • Adequate over-the-nose visibility allows easier leading in Simulator


  • Rather weak firepower due to the slow velocity and light bullet mass, cannot effectively damage well-protected targets like IL-2s
  • Locks up at high speeds
  • No frontal armour, can be fatal in a head-on
  • Average roll rate which worsens as speed increases, can easily get out-rolled by Fw 190s and I-16s
  • Cannot equip bombs, limiting its capacity in certain situations


In December 1943, the US Marine Corps landed at Cape Gloucester on the island of New Britain. After capturing the temporary Japanese airfield, the Marine Corps discovered a hidden Ki-61 Model 1Ko fighter (serial number 263) from the 68th Sentai produced in April 1943.

The aircraft had been abandoned by the Japanese due to a number of engine malfunctions which were not repairable in the field. The aircraft was meticulously inspected by officers of the US Army's Technical Intelligence and sent to Australia, where it was restored to airworthy condition and had USAAF markings applied to it. This is the aircraft we currently see in-game.

Archive of the in-game description

Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien Army Type 3 Model 1Ko (NATO reporting name: Tony) single-engine army fighter

An all-metal monoplane with an enclosed cockpit and a retractable landing gear system, including tail wheel. It was created by the design bureau of Kawasaki Company, under the direction of Takeo Doi.

The aircraft had as its power unit a German-licensed Daimler-Benz DB 601Aa twelve-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine manufactured by Kawasaki Company under the designation of Ha-40.

A Ki-61 prototype got off the ground for the first time in December 1941. Full-scale production started in the summer of 1942. The aircraft was accepted for service with the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force as the Type 3 Hien ("Swallow") fighter in the spring of 1943. The Hien's combat deployment began in June 1943, on New Guinea.

The Ki-61 became one of few Japanese production planes equipped with liquid-cooled engines. The Hien stood out so much in its appearance and high flight characteristics among Japanese fighters of that period of the war that the Americans at first refused to identify it as a Japanese design.

After receiving the first reports about the new Japanese fighter with a liquid-cooled engine, the American intelligence service considered it a licensed replica of the German Messerschmitt Bf 109E fighter, so Mike was chosen as its NATO reporting name. However, after a more detailed study of pilot reports, intelligence analysts concluded that the new fighter was more similar to the Italian MC.202 Folgore. Thus, the Americans chose an Italian NATO reporting name, Tony, for the new Japanese fighter.

In December 1943, the US Marine Corps landed at Cape Gloucester on the island of New Britain. After capturing the temporary Japanese airfield, the Marine Corps discovered a hidden Ki-61 Model 1Ko fighter (serial number 263) from the 68th Sentai produced in April 1943.

The aircraft had been abandoned by the Japanese due to a number of engine malfunctions which were not repairable in the field. The aircraft was meticulously inspected by officers of the US Army's Technical Intelligence and sent to Australia, where it was restored to airworthy condition and had USAAF markings applied to it. Later, the Hien was thoroughly tested in the Technical Air Intelligence Center at NAS Anacostia.

It was noted in the report on the test results that the aircraft was exceptionally easy to pilot and that it behaved well practically in all modes of flight and during all manoeuvres, so it represented quite a formidable weapon in the hands of a sufficiently qualified pilot.



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

War Thunder Forums:
Other websites:

Kawasaki Aircraft Industries (川崎航空機工業株式会社)
Biplane Fighters  Ki-10-I · Ki-10-I C · Ki-10-II · Ki-10-II C
Fighters  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-100 · Ki-100-II
Interceptors  Ki-45 ko · Ki-45 otsu · Ki-45 hei · Ki-45 tei
  Ki-102 otsu
  Ki-108 Kai
Bombers  Ki-32
  Ki-48-II otsu
Captured  ␗Ki-45 hei/tei · ␗Ki-61-I otsu · ▃Ki-61-Ib
See also  Kawasaki Shipyard Co.

USA fighters
P-26 Peashooter  P-26A-33 · P-26A-34 · P-26A-34 M2 · P-26B-35
P-36 Hawk  P-36A · Rasmussen's P-36A · P-36C · ○P-36C · P-36G
P-39 Airacobra  P-400 · P-39N-0 · P-39Q-5
P-40  P-40C · P-40E-1 · P-40E-1 TD · P-40F-10
P-43 Lancer  P-43A-1
P-47 Thunderbolt  P-47D-22-RE · P-47D-25 · P-47D-28 · P-47M-1-RE · ⋠P-47M-1-RE · P-47N-15
P-51 Mustang  P-51 · P-51A (Thunder League) · P-51C-10 · P-51D-5 · P-51D-10 · P-51D-20-NA · P-51D-30 · P-51H-5-NA
P-63 Kingcobra  P-63A-5 · P-63A-10 · P-63C-5 · ␠Kingcobra
Prototypes  XP-55
F2A Buffalo  F2A-1 · Thach's F2A-1 · F2A-3
BF2C  BF2C-1
F3F  F3F-2 · Galer's F3F-2
F4F Wildcat  F4F-3 · F4F-4
F4U Corsair  F4U-1A · F4U-1A (USMC) · F4U-1D · F4U-1C · F4U-4 · F4U-4B · F4U-4B VMF-214 · F2G-1
F6F Hellcat  F6F-5 · F6F-5N
F8F Bearcat  F8F-1 · F8F-1B
Other countries  ▃Ki-43-II · ▃Ki-61-Ib · ▃A6M2 · ▃Bf 109 F-4 · ▃Fw 190 A-8 · ▃Spitfire LF Mk IXc

USA premium aircraft
Fighters  Thach's F2A-1 · Galer's F3F-2 · F2G-1 · F4U-4B VMF-214 · P-26A-34 · P-40C · P-43A-1
  P-47M-1-RE · ⋠P-47M-1-RE · P-51A · P-51D-10 · P-51D-20-NA · ␠Kingcobra · XP-55
  ▃A6M2 · ▃Ki-43-II · ▃Ki-61-Ib · ▃Bf 109 F-4 · ▃Fw 190 A-8 · ▃Spitfire LF Mk IXc
Twin-engine fighters  XP-38G · Bong's P-38J-15 · P-38K · YP-38 · P-61A-11 · XF5F · XP-50 · F7F-3
Jet fighters  P-59A · F-86F-35 · F-89B · F-89D · F-4S Phantom II · F-5C · F-20A
Strike aircraft  A-1H · A2D-1 · AU-1 · XA-38 · AV-8A · A-6E TRAM · A-10A
Bombers  A-26C-45DT · B-10B · BTD-1 · PBM-3 "Mariner" · PV-2D