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Japan’s jet to intercept B-29s — Nakajima Kikka (中島 橘花 Orange Blossom)

18 November 2013

Japan’s jet to intercept B-29s — Nakajima Kikka (中島 橘花 Orange Blossom)

Nakajima Kikka (中島 橘花 Orange Blossom) — San Diego Air & Space Museum archive photo

Nakajima Kikka (中島 橘花 Orange Blossom) in the field — San Diego Air & Space Museum archive photo

Nakajima’s Kikka 中島 橘花 (Orange Blossom) came at the very end of World War II and was obviously based upon the Messeschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe (Sparrow) — the world’s first operational jet fighter. The Kikka did not see operational service and differed from the Me 262 in these significant ways:

  • It was downsized with non-swept wings and a straight horizontal stabilizer
  • The fuselage has a circular cross-section for easier construction instead if the Me 262’s semi lifting body triangular cross-section
  • Part of the Kikka was in common with the Mitsubishi “Zero” and Yokosuka Ginga

The Kikka’s speed in excess of 400mph (700km/h) and twin 30mm cannon would have made them formidable against B-29 Superfortresses and their escorting fighters. Fortunately an example exists and is housed at the National Air & Space Museum storage facility (see photo, below) awaiting restoration. The photo below was taken at the Garber facility but has since been moved to the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar at the National Air & Space Museum Steven F Udvar-Hazy Center (the F-105 in the foreground has been on display at the Udvar-Hazy Center for several years now).

Nakajima Kikka (中島 橘花 Orange Blossom) — San Diego Air & Space Museum archive photo Charles M. Daniels Collection

Nakajima Kikka (中島 橘花 Orange Blossom) and from this angle the design differences, as well as similarities, with regard to the Me 262 can be seen — San Diego Air & Space Museum archive photo Charles M. Daniels Collection

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. 15 December 2013 10:02

    I hope to see it some day

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      15 December 2013 10:05

      You and me both! And either the Ar 196 in possession of the Smithsonian NASM or the one on possession of the National Naval Aviation Museum!

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