This aircraft is a late model Nakajima Ki-43-IIb Hayabusa (Peregrine Falcon), Allied code name Oscar, used by the Japanese Army Airforce during WWII and was found by Sea Scan Survey on the 29th of March 2016, more or less by accident, while scanning for a shipwreck off Basuanga. It was unknown to anyone in the area including the local fishermen.At this stage it would appear that the pilot has made a forced landing, possibly due to engine failure, rather than being shot down as the only damage sustained on impact is the inboard leading edges of the wings have been pealed back exposing the undercarriage.The cockpit canopy is in the retracted position so the pilot obviously survived the ditching but whether or not he made it to shore and evaded capture by the Filipino Guerrillas is another story.The flight controls, such as the ailerons, elevators and most of the rudder were fabric covered and have long since disappeared and seventy plus years underwater has also taken its toll, but it’s in a reasonable condition for a WWII plane wreck.Efforts are underway to try and track down its history but this won’t be easy without the serial number. If the data plate can be located on the airframe there may be a chance but we are not sure where to look at this stage. If anyone can help, please reply.The Oscar was a land-based Type 1 tactical fighter which was often called the “Army Zero” by Allied pilots for its resemblance to the Mitsubishi A6M Zero, which was flown by the Japanese Navy. During the first year of the war, it was often mistaken for the Zero in dogfights. Like its Navy counterpart it was light and easy to fly but had several drawbacks such as no armor or self sealing fuel tanks which caused high casualties in combat, and it was also undergunned. These faults were not rectified until later versions but nevertheless the Ki-43 was highly maneuverable due to the introduction of combat flaps and shot down more Allied aircraft than any other Japanese fighter. Almost all the JAAF’s aces achieved most of there kills in it.Total production amounted to 5,919 between 1939 and 1945 with many of these used during the last months of the war in kamikaze raids against the American fleet.There are very few survivors with only one airworthy example in Oregon and one capable of flight in Washington.
Nakajima Ki-43 Fighter Wreck - Discovery Near Coron