Nakajima Ki-43-II Hayabusa 'Oscar': Mainplane/cockpit

Accession Number REL/12326.002
Collection type Technology
Object type Aircraft component
Physical description Alloy, Aluminium, Steel
Maker Nakajima Hikoki KK
Place made Japan
Date made 1943
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

The mainplane/cockpit section from a Nakajima Ki.-43-II Hayabusa (Peregrine Falcon) all metal single engine low wing monoplane fighter aircraft. This machine is believed to have been constructed in 1943 and has the serial no. 5465. The construction of the aircraft is unusual, in that the wing is one-piece and includes the centre part of the fuselage. The airframe while basically intact has suffered extensive damage from straffing, fragmentation bombs and grass fires.

History / Summary

The Nakajima Ki. 43 was the principle type of fighter aircraft used by the Japanese Army Air Forces (JAAF) during the Pacific conflict. Together with fighter aircraft of the Navy, machines of this type participated in all the significant Japanese land actions of WW2 after 1941, and the Ki. 43 (Allied code-name "Oscar") was used extensively in New Guinea against Australian forces.
In September 1984 a combined Australian War Memorial/ RAAF team recovered this damaged airframe from Sek fighter airstrip at Alexishafen near Madang, New Guinea. An engine with cowling and propeller was also recovered from the same location. The machine bears evidence of extensive straffing damage and the probable impact of a para-fragmentation bomb. It is believed this aircraft was abandoned at the airstrip after suffering a landing accident. The fin bears the faded remains of a yellow V with red edges, which may be the insignia of the 63rd Air Combat Regiment, 3rd Company. The machine also bears a white combat stripe around the rear fuselage. The serial no. 5465 is applied on the port side just below the tail plane. The aircraft was originally camouflaged with an irregular pattern of sprayed patches of Japanese Army Airforce medium green.
The airframe has been conserved following immersion in a chemical bath and the conversion of corrosion products into a stable form using electro-chemical techniques.