No. 10406. Mitsubishi J8M1 Shusui
Photographed at Planes of Fame, Chino, California, USA, September 21, 2005, by Loet Kuipers

Mitsubishi J8M1 Shusui

01/31/2011. Remarks by Loet Kuipers: "The Shusui (Rigorous Sword) was a Japanese rocket fighter of WW II, produced under a joint project between the Japanese Army and Navy. It was based on the Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet, and alike its German counterpart, intended as an interceptor. It was planned to build the Messerschmitt Me 163 in license, but because the submarine carrying an example of the Me 163 and full manufacturing details was sunk en route to Japan, the aircraft had to be reverse engineered from manuals.

In order to provide a nucleus of semi-trained pilots for the fighter, 56 similar wooden gliders were built by Maeda under the designation MXY7. Named Akigusa (Autumn Grass) the glider was flown in November 1944 and two were delivered to Mitsubishi. The first unpowered J8M1 flight was made on January 8, 1945, and fitted with a 3,300 lb (1,497 kg) Yokosuka Toku Ro.2 bi-fuel liquid rocket motor, the powered J8M1 flew on July 7, 1945, only a month before the end of WWII, but was subsequently destroyed. Only four more J8M1 were completed and six were almost completed.

The pictured aircraft had the Japanese code 403 before it was shipped by the USAAF Air Technical Service Command to the USA for evaluation under the Foreign Evaluation number FE-300. From 1946 the evaluations were performed by the USAAF Office of Intelligence, and the number prefix changed from 'FE' to 'T2', hence FE-300 became T2-300.

Created January 31, 2011