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R6K Raiden
Raiden
A Raiden flying in an air show.
Role Fighter
National origin Akitsu
Manufacturer Kurosaki Aircraft Company
Designed by Jiro Hidemasa
(chief designer)
First flight May 8th, 1939
Introduced August 5th, 1940
Retired 1949 (Akitsu)

The Kurosaki R6K Raiden (雷電, Thunderbolt) was a land-based fighter aircraft used by Akitsu during the years of the Second World War.

Development

The raiden was designed by Jiro Hidemasa, who worked for Kurosaki Aircraft Company at the time, at the request of the Imperial Akitian Army Air Service. In 1937 the Imperial Akitian Army sent requests to multiple aviation companies in Akitsu, including Kurosaki, asking for a highly maneuverable mid-range fighter that could run rounds around other aircraft at the time. Jiro Hidemasa had previously built the Kurosaki K5K Raiu, the signature plane of the Imperial Akitian Naval Air Service at the time, and thus was tasked by his superiors with the project. Jiro sent a prototype design to his superiors within the first month, based on a fighter of a cannard design that he had been thinking of for the past few months. The initial designs were sketchy at best, but because of Jiro's claim that if he had more time to work on it he could create something that was faster and more maneuverable than any other aircraft his superiors told him to keep working on the design.

Jiro spent the next two years perfecting the design, running many tests with small-scale models and calculations. Finally, he submitted a concrete blueprint to his superiors in January of 1939. This blueprint was the basis for the first prototype, the R6J1, which was built that same year. The prototype showed very promising results, delivering on the promise of high speed and meneuverability. However, it showed some flaws, namely a range that was slightly below what the Imperial Akitian Army wanted and a slight drag to the right. These flaws were fixed within a few months, and the R6J2 was built as the second prototype. The R6J2 met all of the Imperial Akitian Army's fuel specifications, dealt with the drag issue, and exceeded the requirements for speed and maneuverability. As a result, the R6J2 was quickly selected as the new fighter by the Imperial Akitian Army, and quickly went into production as the R6K1.

Operational history

The Raiden didn't see much battle as Akitsu remained neutral throughout the Second World War. However, the R6K was shown to be extremely effective when it did enter battle. The R6K could even match the Mitsubishi A6M Zero in maneuverability and combat ability, the star fighter of the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service. One Zero pilot who dogfighted against a Raiden stated

In the battle off the coast of Akitsu they came from above, smashing through our planes. I lost my wingmen at that moment, but managed to avoid getting shot down myself. I then started chasing one of them, but the plane just didn't want to enter into my sights. I felt like I was fighting another Zero.

Variants

R6J

R6K1

R6K2

R6K3

Operators

Akitsuflag Empire of Akitsu

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