The only example extant in Japan of the more than 3,000 fighters of the type built between 19, an Army Type 3 Fighter Hien (Flying Swallow) is currently undergoing restoration at the place of its birth in Gifu Prefecture.
Following its homecoming and extended stay at the Kawasaki Heavy Industries plant in Gifu, the aircraft will ultimately form the centrepiece of the nearby Kakamigahara Aerospace Science Museum, which has itself been closed for periods to undergo extensive renovation since September 2016 with a view to re-opening in March 2018. The aircraft was again stripped down, this time for extensive restoration work, late in 2015.
Kawasaki initiated design development of what was to become the Hien in response to an army directive of 1940.
A prototype flew in December 1941, the type entered volume production in 1942 and was in regular service in 1943.
In charge of design was Takeo Doi (1904–1996), who had studied in the Aviation Department of the Tokyo Imperial University’s Engineering Faculty alongside Jirō Horikoshi (1903–1982), the father of the Mitsubishi Zero fighter.
Joining Kawasaki and receiving guidance for a time from aircraft designer Richard Vogt (1894–1979), who had been invited over from his native Germany, Doi exercised his talents in the design of such Kawasaki-built IJAAF aircraft as the Type 95 Fighter (Ki-10) and Type 99 Light Bomber (Ki-48, ).
The aircraft is of the Model 2 sub-type, which was designed for improved performance by dint of its Ha-140 engine, Kawasaki’s own development of the DB601.
There is a growing commitment to not merely preserve the appearance of buildings and products, but to try to hand down to future generations as much information as possible in the form of cultural property by saving examples and including input from and about the people who made or used them.
Since 2008, the JAA has certified a total of eight important aviation assets, including the first production YS-11 owned by the National Museum of Nature and Science [in Ueno Park, Tokyo]. military base at Tachikawa in 1963, and there are signs that repairs have been carried out on a number of occasions since then.
In his writings, Doi said of his work on the Hien that it had been his intention to try to put together his ideal fighter aircraft.
Involved after the war in the development of the NAMC YS-11 transport and the Kawasaki P-2J Turbo-Neptune anti-submarine warfare aircraft, Doi contributed to the development of Japan’s aircraft industry through his focus on bringing on the next generation of aviation engineers.
It is proposed that the first exhaustive guide will cover the privately owned in Saitama Prefecture, which in the absence of a dedicated JGSDF facility of sufficient size serves as the main repository for army types.