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The Kawanishi N1K-J Shiden (紫電 "Violet Lightning") was an Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service land-based version of the Kawanishi N1K Kyōfū ("Rex"). Assigned the Allied codename "George", the N1K-J was considered by both its pilots and opponents to be one of the finest land-based fighters flown by the Japanese during World War II.[1]

The N1K1-J Shiden and the improved N1K2-J Shiden-kai possessed heavy armament as well as surprisingly good manoeuvrability, due to a mercury switch that automatically extended the flaps during turns. These "combat" flaps created more lift, thereby allowing tighter turns. Unlike the A6M Zero, the Shiden and Shiden Kai could compete against the best late-war fighters, such as the F6F-5 Hellcat, the F4U-4 Corsair and P-51D Mustang.[2]

Despite such capability, it suffered from unreliable engines and was produced too late and in insufficient numbers to affect the outcome of the war.[3]


  1. The 20×101 mm round had an effective range of 1,000 m (3,280 ft) and a muzzle velocity of 700 m/s (2,297 ft/s). The 128 g shell had 6-8% HE. Rate of fire was about 500 rounds/min per gun. The guns were harmonized to converge at 200 m (656 ft).


  1. Francillon, PhD., René J. Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War. London: Putnam & Company Ltd., 1970. second edition 1979. ISBN 0-370-30251-6.
  2. "Fact Sheets: Kawanishi N1K2-Ja Shiden Kai." National Museum of the US Air Force. Retrieved: 23 November 2015.
  3. Wikipedia entry

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