Mitsubishi J8M Shusui
|INTERCEPTOR||Virtual Aircraft Museum / Japan / Mitsubishi|
Development of the Messerschmitt Me 163B rocket-powered fighter in Germany prompted Japan to acquire rights to build this aircraft and its Walter rocket engine. Because of losses in transit only one sample engine and an instruction manual for the Me 163 survived, and Mitsubishi was tasked with design of the interceptor which had the army and navy designations Mitsubishi Ki-200 and J8M respectively. With J8M1 prototype design finalised, the 1st Naval Air Arsenal began construction of a full-scale training glider version under the designation MXY8 Akigusa (autumn grass), and this was towed into the air and flown for the first time in December 1944. A heavier glider, with ballast tanks to approximate the weight of the operational aircraft, was also built under the designation Ku-13 Shusui (sword stroke). Design of the rocket engine was a combined project of Mitsubishi together with the army and navy, resulting in the 1500kg thrust Toko Ro.2, and this powerplant was installed in the first of the J8M1 Navy Experimental Rocket-Powered Interceptor Fighter Shusui prototypes completed by Mitsubishi. On 7 July 1945 the prototype J8M1 was flown for the first time, crashing soon after take-off as a result of engine failure, and no further examples were flown before the end of the war.