The Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa (隼, "Peregrine Falcon") was a single-engine land-based tactical fighter used by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force in World War II. The army designation was "Army Type 1 Fighter" (一式戦闘機); the Allied reporting name was "Oscar", but it was often called the "Army Zero" by American pilots for its resemblance to the Mitsubishi A6M Zero, which was flown by the Japanese Navy.
Like the A6M, the radial-engined Ki-43 was light and easy to fly, and became legendary for its combat performance in East Asia in the early years of the war. It could outmaneuver any opponent, but did not have armor or self-sealing tanks, and its armament was poor until the last version, which was produced as late as 1944. Allied pilots often reported that the nimble Ki-43s were difficult targets, but burned easily or broke apart with few hits. In spite of its drawbacks, the Ki-43 shot down more Allied aircraft than any other Japanese fighter and almost all the JAAF'S aces achieved most of their kills in it.
Total production amounted to 5,919 aircraft. Many of these were used during the last months of the war for kamikaze missions against the American fleet.
Source: Wikipedia, "Nakajima Ki-43", available under the CC-BY-SA License.
As Described In
Aces of the Pacific: Entering service in late 1941, the Nakajima Ki-43 Oscar was a formidable fighter. Light, possessing great acceleration and agility, it suffered from a fragile airframe and a slow maximum speed.