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