The Ki-87 is a premium rank IV Japanese fighter with a battle rating of 6.0 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.63 "Desert Hunters". Originally a pack vehicle, it was discontinued from the store after the 2018 Independence Day Sale, but was brought back for War Thunder's 7th Anniversary as a premium purchasable in-game for 6,090 Golden Eagles .
The Nakajima Ki-87 is the poster-boy of the Japanese tree, and a fighter that excels in all scenarios, even against the legendary F-80 Shooting Star. A well-played Ki-87 will be able to change the outcome of any-match. It offers a very powerful array of armament of 2 x 20 mm Ho-5 cannons and 2 x 30 mm Ho-155 cannons with a judicious 150 rounds per gun. It can also carry a single 50 kg or 250 kg bomb under the fuselage.
Using W.E.P. the Ki-87 is able to climb to just over 5,500 m in five minutes, a strong climb rate. Bombers spawn in at 3,000 m so you can quickly climb above for positional advantage for booming and zooming. If the Ki-87 retains momentum from the dive and engages the targets, it will be able to climb back up to the operational altitude it was before engaging the enemy. It is recommended to take 20 to 30 minutes of fuel; however this plane will consume a lot of fuel if left on W.E.P. so fuel starvation is very likely.
For landing, slow to at least 300 km/h (180 mph) before dropping the main gear and 250 km/h for flaps. Ideally, be about 50 m in altitude at the end of the runway and hold 200 km/h until touchdown.
|Characteristics|| Max Speed
(km/h at 10,000 m)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
|Combat flap||Take-off flap||Landing flap||Air brakes||Arrestor gear|
| Wing-break speed
| Gear limit
| Combat flap
|Max Static G|
|< ???||< ???||< ???||> ???|
|Optimal altitude||100% Engine power||WEP Engine power|
|?,??? m||??? hp||?,??? hp|
Survivability and armour
- 70 mm Bulletproof glass in cockpit front.
- 8.5 mm Steel plate behind the pilot.
The Ki-87 is armed with:
- 2 x 30 mm Ho-155 cannons, wing-mounted (150 rpg = 300 total)
- 2 x 20 mm Ho-5 cannons, wing-mounted (150 rpg = 300 total)
Japanese tier 4 aircraft are typically armed with a respectable array of guns, and the Ki-87 is no exception. Although the 20 mm Ho-5's are nothing to write home about, the 30 mm cannons are some of the most feared, respected and deadly weapons in the entire game. When armed with the Tracer belt, the Japanese 30 mm cannons have a muzzle velocity that surpasses even the M2 and M3 Browning .50 cal HMG's at a staggering 920 m/s, and when combined with the high explosive filler and large calibre, these beasts will make short work of any aircraft that's unfortunate enough to end up in their crosshairs.
The usual issue with 30 mm cannons on WW2-era propellor planes - that being their lack of sufficient ammunition capacity - is notably absent on the Ki-87, which mounts 150 round per gun instead of the usual 60 seen on other aircraft like the Ki-84 hei and J7W1. Although this increased ammunition capacity is indeed wonderful, the pilot should still take care to not be too trigger happy, as the exceptional ballistics of the cannons will prevent the need to waste copious amounts of bullets on a single target, increasing the endurance of the aircraft in the hands of a patient pilot.
The Ki-87 can be outfitted with the following ordnance:
- Without load
- 1 x 50 kg Army Type 94 GPHE bomb (50 kg total)
- 1 x 250 kg Navy Type Number 25 Model 2 bomb (250 kg total)
Usage in battles
Unlike the usual Japanese low-altitude and highly maneuverable fighter aircraft, the Ki-87 is a high-altitude bomber interceptor with impressive speed and climb rate but less impressive agility. Featuring something relatively new for a Japanese fighter, the Ki-87 has a notably visible turbo-supercharger to boost its high altitude performance at the cost of aircraft weight and size. As such, it cannot be played like most other aircraft from the Japanese tree, but rather as a reserved Boom-&-Zoom that can abuse its brutal acceleration in a dive to pick off unwary victims.
For engaging the enemy, The Ki-87 is best at boom-and-zoom tactics. Climb to around 6,000 m and fly over enemy formations, once in position roll the plane to target, maintain coordinated control and correct rudder as at that altitude it is very easy to stall. Descend fast but not so much that the controls get sluggish. Once lined up and in range fire a short burst, the very heavy armament will rip the enemy plane apart; even evasive countermeasures will be insufficient for a properly executed Boom & Zoom.
Against heavily armed aircraft such as the B-17, B-24, B-29, Tu-4 and other heavy bombers, climb at least 600 m above them use slashing boom and zoom tactic firing short bursts, once the bullets hit the target, fire longer busts then jump back up. Ideally you should aim for large critical parts such as the wings and tail plane. The cannons on the Ki-87 will make short work of essential components and being substantial offer best chance of hitting. Never attack behind and at nearly same speed as you become a perfect target for multiple weapons. The Ki-87's fuel tanks are somewhat easy to ignite, and won’t last long if they do.
Manual Engine Control
|Controllable||Not controllable||Not controllable||Not controllable||Separate||Not controllable||Not controllable|
|I||Fuselage repair||Radiator||Offensive 20 mm||7 in (mod20)|
|II||Compressor||Airframe||New 20 mm cannons||12 in (mod30)|
|III||Wings repair||Engine||Offensive 30 mm|
|IV||Engine injection||Cover||New 30 mm cannons|
|This is a premium vehicle: all modifications are unlocked on purchase|
Pros and cons
- Excels in high-altitude bomber intercepting
- Powerful armament consisting of 2 x 30 mm cannons and 2 x 20 mm cannons
- No wing-mounted fuel tanks
- Good climb rate
- High red-line speed of 840 kph
- Fast at diving
- Can equip bombs, although it will affect the aircraft's speed and turning time until your using this as a fighter-bomber
- Not as manoeuvrable as other Japanese aircraft
- Crew skills, if the crew skills are not high enough it is very easy to black out
- Fuselage fuel-tank is susceptible to fire
- HEF-T used by the 30 mm's has only a maximum penetration of 2 mm
- Begins to lock up at around 700 km/h (435 mph)
Improved metallurgy and engineering in the 1930’s saw a massive leap in aircraft performance, especially the once bulky, boxy, lumbering bombers reborn as sleek and sexy machines that left old fashioned wooden fighters in its vapour trail. It was not long before those flying rag fighters were also updated with gleaming aluminum and once again surpassed the bombers top speed. Yet bombers still had a trick up their sleeves, altitude.
Flying above 9,000 m (29,500 ft) in super cold thin air and rarefied oxygen was both a technical and physiological challenge. The long wings and large interiors of bombers offered space needed for extreme high altitude flight, example the Ju 86P/R bomber which flew above 12,000 m (40,000 ft) with impunity over England, beyond the RAFs reach for months. The B-17 and B-24 could also operate at altitudes the Bf 109 and Fw 190 had difficulty reaching.
Predicting the same for Japan, the military wisely ordered research into high altitude single engine fighters as early as 1942 and by 1943 work was underway on the future Nakajima Ki-87 and the alternate Tachikawa Ki-94. At 12,000 meters the air density is about 1/4 that of sea level necessitating a huge supercharged engine, but its internal “blower” needed an additional boost so a “turbo-supercharger” was added, powered by high velocity exhaust gas. This combination is exactly like the P-47 Thunderbolt has, except this time the turbo was mounted on the right side of nose on the prototypes and not in rear fuselage. High aspect-ratio wings were chosen for the thin air (compare Fw 190 with Ta 152), but with limited space to mount the dual pair of 30 mm and 20 mm cannons in an unusual step Nakajima chose a landing gear retraction like on P-40 Kittyhawk. High altitude flight is also extremely uncomfortable for the pilot so the cockpit was partially pressurized and extra tanks of oxygen installed. Pilot armour, thick bulletproof glass, self-sealing fuel tanks, and hard point for bombs were also added. Finally enough fuel for at least 2 hours flight resulted in a massive aircraft for the Japanese, well over twice the weight of the A6M2 Zero.
It was an enormous technical challenge for Japanese industry taking a long time to overcome teething issues. Japanese aircraft rarely utilized turbo-superchargers in their planes, so experience in operation was limited, and although the 90° retracting gear was a favourite design, it took Nakajima months to get it to operate correctly.
The prototype flew for the first time in April 1945 at a time when the anticipated B-29 bomber was pounding Japan, but by then it was too late. Disruption by bombing and dwindling resources prevented the second prototype from flying and attrition of what little fighter defence Japan had. Ironically, with such weak home defence, the B-29’s flew much lower so they could bomb more accurately, negating the purpose of the high altitude Ki-87!
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|Nakajima Aircraft Company ()|
|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|
|Interceptors||J1N1 · J5N1|
|B6N1 Model 11 · B6N2 Model 12 · B6N2a Model 12Ko|
|G5N1 · G8N1|
|Ki-49-I · Ki-49-IIa · Ki-49-IIb · Ki-49-IIb/L|
|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)|
|A5M||A5M4 · Hagiri's A5M4|
|A6M||A6M2 mod. 11 · A6M2 · A6M3 · A6M3 mod. 22 · A6M3 mod. 22Ko · A6M5 · A6M5 Ko · A6M5 otsu|
|A7M||A7M1 (NK9H) · A7M2|
|J2M||J2M2 · J2M3 · J2M4 Kai · J2M5 · J2M5 (30 mm)|
|N1K-J||N1K1-Ja · N1K2-J · N1K2-Ja|
|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 · Ki-61-I hei Tada's · Ki-61-I tei · Ki-61-II|
|Ki-84||Ki-84 ko · Ki-84 otsu · Ki-84 hei|
|Ki-100||Ki-100 · Ki-100-II|
|Other countries||▅F4U-1A · ▅Bf 109 E-7 · ▅Fw 190 A-5|
|*Imported designation of the He 112 (A6M was in development - A7M wasn't heard of yet)|
|Japan premium aircraft|
|Fighters||Hagiri's A5M4 · A7He1 · Ki-27 otsu Tachiarai|
|Ki-44-II otsu · ▅Bf 109 E-7 · ▅F4U-1A · Ki-100-II · Ki-44-I 34|
|▅Fw 190 A-5 · A7M1 (NK9H) · Ki-61-I hei Tada's|
|J2M4 Kai · A6M5 Ko · J2M5 · Ki-87 · J6K1|
|Jet fighters||F-86F-40 JASDF▅|
|Bombers||Ki-21-I hei · H8K3 · ▅B-17E|