Kyushu J7W1 “Shinden” (“Majestic Lightning”)


Having entered the war with America on December 7, 1941, the Japanese command soon realized that the need to defend itself was not far off. Anticipating possible raids by American aircraft on the islands, the command of the Japanese Navy had ordered a technical assignment for the construction of a high-speed high-altitude interceptor fighter that could withstand the American B-29 Superfortress bombers. Thus, the history of the creation of the Shinden aircraft began at the beginning of 1942.

The idea of ​​an unusual aerodynamic design with a front control wing and a pusher propeller belongs to the pilot engineer Captain Masaoki Tsuruno, who headed the development team of the First Aviation Technical Arsenal of the fleet, or, as it was also called, the Kugise company.

Since the proposed scheme, called the “duck”, was little studied, first tests were carried out on a motor glider built according to this scheme. After successful tests, the continuation of the work was taken over by the Kyushu company, which was assisted by the group of Captain Masaoka Tsuruno.

The design of the aircraft contained a number of interesting innovative solutions that no one else in the world had ever done. With amazing simplicity bordering on genius, the problem of air cooling the huge 18-cylinder engine was solved. The designers came up with the principle of lateral intake of air into the engine through narrow slots along the sides of the fuselage, which is still used by aircraft manufacturers around the world. For this aircraft, a unique six-blade propeller with a diameter of about 3.4 meters was created.

The aircraft’s armament consisted of four 30 mm cannons installed in pairs in the nose of the fuselage. The guns had a record range at that time and the mass of a volley.

In a word, if this plane had time for the war, then its enemy would have had a hard time. However, the only fighter that had a short time in the sky was captured on the ground by American soldiers. The second prototype, embodied in metal, did not even have time to take off. The war is over.

And then the rapid development of jet aviation began and the “duck” scheme turned out to be very, very popular. “Majestic Lightning” from the very beginning was designed with the expectation of the future replacement of the engine with a jet, but what would have happened then, we now never know. Today one thing is clear: the Japanese designers managed to be far ahead of their time, having created a completely unusual, promising aircraft – the Kyushu J7W1 Shinden fighter-interceptor.


Wingspan, m 11.1
Length, m 9.76
Height, m 3.92
Wing area, m2 20.5
Empty aircraft weight, kg 3525
maximum takeoff, kg 5272
Fuel capacity, l 1200
Engine 1 х Mitsubishi MK9D, V-shaped, 18 cylinders
Power, h.p. 2130
Maximum speed, km / h 750
Cruising speed, km / h 444
Flight range, km 1820
Maximum rate of climb, m / min
Ceiling, m 12000
Crew, people 1
Armament 4 x 30 mm type 5 cannon with a total ammunition load of 240 rounds.


I assembled this model in 1975, now very distant. Since there was no information about Japanese aviation at that time, the first impression was mixed. What is it? The plane flies “backwards”! Later, after studying the design and building a model, everything fell into place.
This unusual aircraft took pride of place in the collection. The model miraculously survived, despite numerous wanderings, but only lost in the “life battles” the left

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