A late war prototype, the J7W was an interesting project designed to combat American B-29 formations.
After the jump, a look at where the Japanese could have gone if the war lasted a little longer.
Several countries experimented with canard type designs in the 1940s. A big advantage of the type is that turbulent airflow off the propeller never interacts with any part of the air frame. The biggest draw back is just that stability is harder to achieve than in more traditional types. Modern computer aided designs like the LongEZ or Piaggio P.180 Avanti can realize the layout’s potential; but in the 1940s there was still a lot to learn.
The J7W looks to have been a very promising design. With over 2000 horse power from a Mitsubishi twin row radial it could exceed 450 mph at almost 40000 feet. At least on paper. The Curtiss XP-55 Ascender was a similar design that never came close to reaching its theoretical potential. Whether Kyushu would have had better luck is impossible to say. With only three test flights in August of 1945 the type’s true capabilities were never really tested.
Further plans called for fitting a jet engine to the type, but no engineering work was ever actually done for this.
This is the Hasegawa kit. It is a hypothetical only in the smallest of details; neither of the two prototypes was ever armed, but I’ve shown it here with the intended four 30 mm cannon in place. Of the two aircraft built one was scrapped post-war, while the other remains in storage at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum awaiting a future restoration. It is unknown if this surviving aircraft was the first or second prototype or if any test flights were accomplished with it.
A late model Zero with the Shinden. These two types could have served at the same time; but the J7W is more modern, more powerful and much bigger.