Info: Early Japanese Army Air Force Aircraft

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Robert Hurst
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Post by Robert Hurst » 28 Jul 2003 15:12

Hi

Tachikawa Ki-55

The ease of piloting and good handling characteristics of the Ki-36 combined with good performance rendered it ideally suited for adaptation to the advanced training role. All unnecessary equipment was removed to conserve weight, as were the observation windows under the fuselage and wheel spats. Designated Ki-55, the trainer was adopted as the Army Type 99 Advanced Trainer and was manufactured in large numbers by Tachikawa and Kawasaki. In the normal flight training syllabus, Army single-engined pilots received their wings after flying the Ki-55 solo, and the aircraft was operated by civil flying schools operating under military contracts as well as by regular Army Flying Schools. Ki-55s were also delivered to the wartime Japanese satellite air forces of Thailand, Manchukuo and Cochin China, while three aircraft of this type abandoned on Java by the Japanese were flown against the Dutch by the revolutionary Indonesian Air Force.

During the last year of the war a number of Ki-55s, similarly code named 'Ida' by the Allies, were expended in suicide sorties for which they carried externally a single 250 kg or 500 kg (551 lb or 1,102 lb) bomb.

Units Allocated

Kumagaya, Mito, Tachhiarai and Utsonomiya Army Flying Schools.

Technical Data

Manufacturer: Tachikawa Hikoki KK (Tachikawa Aeroplane Co Ltd).
Type: Single-engined advanced trainer.
Crew (2): Pilot and Instructor in tandem enclosed cockpits.
Powerplant: One 450 hp Army Type 98) Hitachi Ha-13a) nine-cylinder air-cooled radial engine, driving a two-blade wooden propeller.
Armament: One forward-firing 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Type 89 machine-gun in the engine cowling; Bomb-load suicide mission one 250 or 500 kg (551 or 1,102 lb) bomb.
Dimensions: Span 11.8 m (38 ft 8 9/16 in); length 8 m (26 ft 2 31/32 in); height 3.64 m (11 ft 11 5/16 in); wing area 20 sq m (215.277 sq ft).
Weights: Empty 1,292 kg (2,848 lb); loaded 1,721 kg (3,794 lb); wing loading 86.1 kg/sq m (17.6 lb/sq ft); power loading3.4 kg/hp (7.4 lb/hp).
Performance: Maximum speed 349 km/h (217 mph) at 2,200 m (7,220 ft); crusing speed 235 km/h (146 mph); climb to 3,000 m (9,845 ft) in 6 min 55 sec; service ceiling 8,200 m (26,900 ft); range 1,060 km (659 miles).
Production: A total of 1,389 Ki-55s were built by Tachikawa Hikoki KK and Kawasaki Kokuki Kogyo KK as follows:

Tachikawa Hikoki KK at Tachikawa:

1 Ki-55 prototype - September 1939
1,077 Ki-55 production aircraft - October 1939-April 1943 and November-December 1943

Kawasaki Kokuki Kogyo KK at Gifu:

251 Ki-55 production aircraft - February 1941-March 1943

Kawasaki Kokuki Kogyo KK at Akashi:

60 Ki-55 production aircraft - September 1941-November 1942

The top photo was taken from the Encyclopedia of World Aircraft, by David Donald, and the bottom photo was taken from Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, by Rene J Francillon.

Regards

Bob
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Post by Robert Hurst » 29 Jul 2003 11:43

Hi

Mitsubishi Ki-46 - Pt 1

To Allied aircrews the Ki-46 'Dinah' was known as the aircraft with the nice 'linah'. Indeed the the Ki-46 had probably the most graceful lines of any fighting aircraft of the Second World War. Cleanly designed, reliable and fast, this aircraft performed its unspectacular tasks of high-altitude reconnaissance with considerable success from the first unauthorised overflight of Malaya before the Japanese invasion of that country to the surveillance flights over the US 20th Air Force's bases in the Marianas during the closing stages of the war. Respected by its foes and trusted by its crews, the Ki-46 also captured the attention of the Luftwaffe which fruitlessly negotiated the acquisition of a manufacturing licence under the Japanese-German Technical Exchange Programme.

Because of the geographical location of Japan and the vastness of the area in which a potential conflict requiring their participation would be fought, the Imperial Japanese Army had a constant requirement for reconnaissance aircraft combining high speed with substantial range performance. In 1937, while it appeared that the immediate requirements were going to be met by the Mitsubishi Ki-15, Maj. Fujita and Engineers Tanaka and Endo of the Technical Branch of the Koku Hombu set out to draw the preliminary specifications for its successor. On 12 December, 1937, the Koku Hombu issued to Mitsubishi a specification calling for a long-range photographic and visual reconnaissance aircraft which would possess a performance sufficient to complete its missions without being intercepted. Required endurance was six hours at a speed of 400 km/h (249 mph) between 4,000 and 6,000 m (13,125 and 19,685 ft) and maximum speed was to be 600 km/h (373 mph) at 4,000 m (13,125 ft). One flexible rear-firing 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Type 89 machine-gun had to be provided but Mitsubishi had the choice of single- or twin-engined configuration using either the 790 hp Nakajima Ha-20b, the 950 hp Nakajima Ha-25 or the 850 hp Mitsubishi Ha-26, and to meet the stringent range and speed specifications the design team was freed from all other usual requirements.

The top photo was taken from The Concise Guide to of Axis Aircraft of World War II, by David Mondey. The middle and bottom photos were taken from Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, by Rene J Francillon.

Regards

Bob

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Post by Robert Hurst » 29 Jul 2003 12:04

Hi

Mitsubishi Ki-46 - Pt 2

When Tomio Kubo began preliminary design studies for the Ki-46 he was able to call on the experience recently acquired by Mitsubishi in designing the Ki-39, a twin-engined two-seat long-range fighter competing with the Kawasaki Ki-38, and the Ki-40, a projected reconnaissance aircraft derived from the Ki-39. Furthermore, he obtained the co-operation of the Aeronautical Research Institute of the University of Tokyo which developed close-fitting cowlings for the two Mitsubishi Ha-26 fourteen-cylinder radials, with resultant improvement in pilot's sideways vision and a reduction in drag, and which also contributed to the design of the fully retractable landing gear selected for the aircraft. To meet the stringent performance requirements Tomio Kubo adopted a thin wing section and a fuselage of small diameter in which a large fuel tank was mounted close to the aircraft's centre of gravity. The pilot and radio-operator/gunner were seated in two cockpits separated by the fuselage fuel tank. Design and construction of the first prototype progressed slowly as it was found necessary to conduct extensive wind-tunnel tests in the facilities of the Aeronautical Research Institute of the University of Tokyo, and the aircraft was not completed at Mitsubishi's Nagoya plant until early November 1939.

With Maj. Fugita - whose efforts had resulted in the issuance of the Ki-46 specification - at the controls, the first flight took place in late November at Kagamigahara, Gifu Prefecture, north of Nagoya. Powered by two Mitsubishi Ha-26-I engines with a military rating of 780 hp for take-off and
900 hp at 3,600 m (11,810 ft) and driving three-blade constant-speed propellers, the prototype performed satisfactorily. However, when performance trials began, it soon became evident that the Ki-46 failed by some 64.3 km/h(40 mph) to reach its design speed, a maximum of 540 km/h (335.5 mph) at 4,000 m (13,125 ft) being registered. Despite this failure to meet the speed requirement, the Ki-46 was received enthusiastically by the Army as it was still faster than the Ki-43-I, their newest fighter then about to be delivered, as well as being faster than the A6M2 fighter of their rival, the Navy, and production of an initial batch of identical aircraft was authorised under the designation Army Type 100 Command Reconnaissance Plane Model 1 (Ki-46-I).

The photos were all taken from Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, by Rene J Francillon.

Regards

Bob
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Post by Robert Hurst » 30 Jul 2003 11:03

Hi

Mitsubishi Ki-46 - Pt 3a

The following colour drawings were taken from The Concise Guide to Axis Aircraft of World War II, by David Mondey.

Regards

Bob
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Post by Robert Hurst » 30 Jul 2003 11:04

Hi

Mitsubishi Ki-46 - Pt 3b

While testing of the Ki-46 was going on, the engine plant of Mitsubishi had under development an advanced version of the Ha-26-I engine, the Ha-102, with two-speed supercharger which was expected to boost take-off rating to 1,080 hp and military rating to 1,055 hp at 2,800 m (9,185 ft) without an increase in overall diameter. With this powerplant it was anticipated that the Ki-46 could easily meet its speed requirement and consequently Mitsubishi were instructed to proceed with the design of the Ki-46-II to be powered by a pair of Ha-102s. Pending availability of this version, the pre-production Ki-46-Is were issued to the Shimoshizu Rikugun Hikogakuko (Shimoshizo Army Flying School) for pilot training and to an experimental unit for intensive Service evaluation. During the following months minor problems arose and ground crews complained that the aircraft, considerably more complex than the Ki-15 it replaced, was difficult to maintain in the field. Vapour locks occurred frequently under hot and humid weather conditions and special tests had to be conducted on Formosa during June 1940, using a Ki-46-I, and in June 1941 with a Ki-46-II, to locate the cause. A change from 87-octane to 92-octane fuel and relocation of the fuel lines around the engines corrected the condition. Pilots complained that oil was overheating during the long climb to cruising altitude, necessitating a slower rate of climb, that ailerons responded slowly and rudder was ineffective, and also that the oxygen system was unreliable during long flights. But the most serious problem was that effecting the undercarriage, which due to the aircraft's high rate of sink, often collapsed on landing. Despite the use of a stronger auxiliary rear strut, the landng gear suffered from chronic weakness throughout the operational life of the aircraft. However, as these difficulties rendered the Ki-46 neither difficult nor unsafe to fly, its production was accelerated and constant modifications finally overcame the major difficulties.

The first Ha-102 powered Ki-46-II was completed in March 1941 and early in its flight trials reached a speed of 604 km/h (375 mph) at 5,800 m (19,030 ft), thus slightly exceeding the maximum speed initially specified. As the Ki-46-II had an identical airframe to that of the earlier Ki-46-I, flight tests progressed smoothly and, as fast as the production rate allowed, the aircraft was delivered, starting in July 1941, to the 18th, 50th, 51st, 70th, 74th, 76th and 81st Dokuritsu Dai Shijugo Chutais in Manchuria and China. Its high speed enabled the Ki-46-II to avoid interception by the few fighters then available to the Chinese Air Force, and the Japanese crews took advantage of the situation to familiarise themselves with their new mount. With the war against the Allies about to begin, a unit of Ki-46-IIs was moved to French Indo-China and , on 20 and 22 October 1941, its commanding officer, Capt. Okeda, reconnoitred the area selected by the Japanese High Command for the planned amphibious landings in Thailand and Malaya. When hostilities finally broke out, the Ki-46 units were deployed in small detachments to cover the entire Southeast Asia area. The Army Type 100 Command Reconniassance Planes were able to perform their missions with almost complete freedom from interception as, without the benefit of ground control radar to guide them, the Allied squadron's obsolescent fighters failed to reach the elusive Japanese aircraft in time. This ability attracted the attention of the Japanese Navy which negotiated the acquisition of a small number of the type. Some of the Ki-46s operated by that Service flew regular missions over Northern Australia from their bases on Timor, while the aircraft of the Japanese Army operated as far west as the Bay of Bengal.

The two photos and the line drawing were taken from Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, by Rene J Francillon.

Regards

Bob
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Post by Robert Hurst » 30 Jul 2003 11:32

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Mitsubishi Ki-46 - Pt 4

When the USAAF deployed P-38F Lightnings to the Pacific and the RAAF received some Spitfire Vs for the defence of Darwin, the losses suffered by Ki-46-II units began to mount. Fortunately for the Japanese, the Koku Hombu had anticipated this situation and in May 1942 had instructed Mitsubishi to install their new Ha-112-II engine with a military rating of 1,500 hp fpr take-off and 1,250 hp at 5,800 m (19,030 ft) in an improved version of the aircraft, the Ki-46-III, to increase maximum speed to 650 km/h (404 mph) and an endurance by one hour. To meet the requirements for increased flight duration, despite the higher fuel consumption of the new engines, it was necessary to redesign the fuel system and add a fuselage fuel tank in front of the pilot with a resultant increase in total capacity from 1,675 litres (365 Imp gal) to 1,895 litres (417 Imp gal). Provision was also made for a ventral drop tank containing an additional 460 litres (101.2 Imp gal). The engine nacelles were also slightly enlarged to accommodate the Ha-112-II, a development of the earlier Ha-102 fitted with direct fuel injection system. The landing gear was strengthened to cope with the increased weight and no provision was made for the single flexible machine-gun which, though installed on earlier models at the factory, had often been dispensed with in the field. However, the most significant change in external appearance was the redesign of the forward fuselage to provide a new canopy over the pilot's seat without the step between the nose and the top of the fuselage which had characterised the earlier versions of the aircraft.

Completed in December 1942, two Ki-46-III prototypes underwent accelerated flight trials leading to a production order under the designation Army Type 100 Command Reconnaissance Plane Model 3. Both the Ki-46-II, which remained in production until late in 1944, and the Ki-46-III were built at the Nagoya plant. However, when in December 1944 this plant was severely damaged by an earthquake and suffered further from the pounding inflicted by B-29s of the US 20th Air Force, production was transferred to a new plant at Toyama where only about one hundred machines were built. Late production Ki-46-IIIs coming off the Nagoya and Toyama lines were fitted with individual exhaust stacks providing some thrust augmentation and had slightly better speed and range.

Priority in delivery of the Ki-46-IIIs was given to units operating in areas where Allied forces had achieved air superiority, but often they operated alongside the older Ki-46-IIs which they never completely supplanted. Once maintenance problems with the fuel injection system of their Ha-112-IIs had been solved, the Ki-46-IIIs, benefitting from markedly improved performance between 8,000 and 10,000 m (26,250 and 32,810 ft), proved to be a thorn in the Allies' side and only the faster climbing fighters under radar control could successfully intercept the fast Japanese machines which kept constant watch over such well defended bases as the B-29 airfields in the Marianas. However, as the war drew to its end, The Ki-46 Dinah was no longer free from interception and losses rose alarmingly.

The colour drawing was taken from The Concise Guide to Axis Aircraft of World War II, by David Mondey. The middle photo was taken from Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, by Rene J Francillon, and the bottom photo was taken from Weapons and Warfare Pt 77.

Regards

Bob
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Post by Robert Hurst » 30 Jul 2003 14:55

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Mitsubishi Ki-46 - Pt 5

As the production of the Army Type 100 Command Reconnaissance Plane Model 3 gained tempo, a small number of of the earlier Model 2s were modified as three-seat radio-navigation trainers. Distinguished by a stepped-up cockpit behind the pilot's seat, these aircraft were designated Army Type 100 Operations Trainer (Ki-46-II KAI) and served with the Shimoshizu Rikugun Hikogakuko (Shimoshizu Army Flying School).

A high-altitude interceptor fighter veresion of the Ki-46-III was developed by the Rikugun Kokugijutsu Kenkyujo (Army Aerotechnical Research Institute) as a stopgap pending production of specialised aircraft. Initially studies for this aircraft began in June 1943 and its development was oursued actively from May 1944 onwards. A modification programme was initiated at the Tachikawa Dai-Ichi Rikugun Kokusho (First Army Air Arsenal) at Tachikawa where the photographic equipment of the standard Ki-46-III was removed. Modifications also included the redesign of the nose to provide space for two 20 mm (0.79 in) Ho-5 cannon and the
replacement of the top centre fuselage fuel tank by an obliquely mounted forward-firing 37 mm (1.46 in) Ho-203 cannon. The first Army Type 100 Air Defence Fighter (Ki-46-III KAI) was completed in October 1944 and, a month later, aircraft of this type were issued to various units operating in the defence of Japan. Operational results were disappointing as the Ki-46-III KAIs did not have the climbing speed required for an interceptor, but further developments of this variant resulted in the Army Type 100 Assault Plane (Ki-46-IIIb), of which only a few were built, this version was similar to the Ki-46-III KAI apart from the deletion of the Ho-203 cannon, and the Ki-46-IIIc which remained on the drawing board.

The colour drawing was taken from The Concise Guide to Axis Aircraft of World War II, by David Mondey. The two photos were taken from Warplanes of The Second World War Fighters: Vol 3, by William Green.

Regards

Bob

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Post by Robert Hurst » 31 Jul 2003 12:18

Hi

Mitsubishi Ki-46 - Pt 6

Retaining the Ki-46-III airframe but powered by two Ha-112-II Ru engines rated at 1,500 hp for take-off, and fitted with exhaust-driven turbosuperchargers, four Ki-46-IV prototypes were built in 1943-44. With a military rating of 1,250 hp at 7,400 m (24,280 ft) and 1,100 hp at 10,200 m (33,465 ft), the Ha-112-II Ru gave the aircraft superior performance at altitude. Compared with the Ki-46-III, the Ki-46-IV differed by the installation, in the lower rear portion of the engine nacelles, of turbosuperchargers, the intake air being methanol-cooled as space restriction prevented the use of an intercooler, and by an increase in internal fuel capacity to 1,977 litres (453 Imp gal). Tests began in February 1944, but difficulties with the turbosupercharging system delayed the production of the Army Type 100 Command Reconnaissance Plane Model 4A (Ki-46-IVa) and its fighter version, the Ki-46-IVb with nose-mounted cannon, both aircraft being finally deleted from the production priority list.

While the Ki-46-IIs and -IIIs operated until the end of the war, two Ki-46-IVs demonstrated in February 1945 that the Dinah was still one of the best reconnaissance aircraft of the time by covering, with the help of strong tailwinds, 2,301 km (1,430 miles) at an average speed of 700 km/h (435 mph).

Units Allocated

(Army Type 100 Command Reconnaissance Plane): 2nd, 8th, 10th, 15th, 38th, 81st, 82nd and 88th Sentais; 17th, 18th, 19th, 50th, 55th, 63rd, 70th, 74th, 76th, 81st and 85th Dokuritsu Dai Shijugo Chutai; 38th Dokuritsu Hikotai; Shimoshizu Rikugun Hikogakuko (Shimoshizu Army Flying School); and Tokorozawa Rikugun Koku Seibigakuko (Tokorozawa Army Air Maintenance School).

(Army Type 100 Air Defence Fighter): 28th and 106th Sentais; 4th, 16th, 81st, 82nd and 83rd Dokuritsu Dai Shijugo Chutais; and 16th Dokuritsu Hikotai.

Technical Data

Manufacturer: Mitsubishi Jukogyo KK (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Co Ltd).
Type: (Ki-46-I to Ki-46-IV) Twin-engined reconnaissance aircraft; (Ki-46-II KAI) operational trainer; (Ki-46-III KAI) interceptor fighter and (Ki-46-IIIb, -IIIc and -IVb) ground attacke fighter.
Crew (2): Pilot and radio-operator/gunner in enclosed cockpits, except (Ki-46-II KAI) as a bove plus one student.
Powerplant: (Ki-46-I) Two 900 hp Army Type 99 Model I (Mitsubishi Ha-26-I) fourteen-cylinder air-cooled radial engines, driving three-blade constant-speed metal propellers. (Ki-46-II and -II KAI) Two 1,050 hp Army Type I (Mitsubishi Ha-102) fourteen-cylinder air-cooled radial engines, driving three-blade constant speed metal propellers. (Ki-46-IIIa, -IIIb, -IIIc and -III KAI) Two Army Type 4 (Mitsubishi Ha-112-II) fourteen-cylinder air-cooled radial engines, driving three-blade constant-speed metal propellers. Ki-46-IVa and -IVb) Two Mitsubishi Ha-112-II Ru fourteen-cylinder air-cooled radial engines, driving three-blade conctant-speed metal propellers.
Armament: (Ki-46-I and -II) One 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Type 89 rear-firing flexible machine-gun. (Ki-46-III KAI) One 37 mm (1.46 in) Ho-203 cannon obliquely mounted in the fuselage and two 20 mm (0.79 in) Ho-5 cannon in the nose. (Ki-46-IIIb, -IIIc and -IVb) Two 20 mm (0.79 in) Ho-5 cannon in the nose.
Dimensions: Span (Ki-46-I, -II, -III, -III KAI & -IVa) 14.7 m (48 ft 2 3/4 in); length ( Ki-46-1, -II, -III, & IVa) 11 m (36 ft 1 1/16 in); length (Ki-46-III KAI) 11.485 M (37 FT 8 3/16 IN); height (Ki-46-1, -II, -III, -III KAI & IVa) 3.88 m (12 ft 8 3/4 in); wing area (Ki-46-I, -II, -III, -III KAI & -IVa) 32 sq m (344.444 sq ft).
Weights: Empty (Ki-46-1) 3,379 kg (7,449 lb); (Ki-46-II) 3,263 kg (7,449 lb); (Ki-46-III & -III KAI) 3,831 kg (8,446 lb); (Ki-46-IVa) 4,010 kg (8,840 lb); loaded (Ki-46-I) 4,822 kg (10,631 lb); Ki-46-II) 5,050 kg (11,133 lb); (Ki-46-III) 5,722 kg (12,619 lb); (Ki-46-III KAI) 6,228 kg (13,730 lb); (Ki-46-IVa) 5,900 kg (13,007 lb); Maximum (Ki-46-II) 5,800 kg (12,787 lb); (Ki-46-III & -IVa) 6,500 kg (14,330 lb); wing loading (Ki-46-I) 150.7 kg/sq m (30.9 lb/sq ft); (Ki-46-II) 157.8 kg/sq m (32.3 lb/sq ft); (Ki-46-III) 178.8 kg/sq m ((36.6 lb/sq ft); (Ki-46-III KAI) 194.6 kg/sq m (39.9 lb/sq ft); (Ki-46-IVa) 184.4 kg/sq m (37.8 lb/sq ft); power loading (Ki-46-I) 3.1 kg/hp (6.8 lb/hp); (Ki-46-II) 2.3 kg/hp (5.1 lb/hp); (Ki-46-III & IVa) 2 kg/hp (4.4 lb/hp); (Ki-46-III KAI) 2.1 kg/hp (4.6 lb/hp).
Performance: (Ki-46-I) 540 km/h (335.5 mph) at 4,070 m (13,350 ft); Ki-46-II) 604 km/h (375 mph) at 5,800 m (19,030 ft); Ki-46-III, III KAI & IVa) 630 km/h (391 mph) at 6,000 m (19,685 ft); cruising speed (Ki-46-II) 400 km/h (249 mph) at 4,000 m (13,125 ft); (Ki-46-IVa) 450 km/hr (280 mph) at 4,000 m (13,125 ft); climb to (Ki-46-I) 5,000 m (16,405 ft) in 7 min 45 sec; (Ki-46-II) 8,000 m (26,250 ft) in 17 min 58 sec; (Ki-46-III) 8,000 m (26,250 ft) in 20 min 15 sec; (Ki-46-III KAI) 8,000 m (26,250 ft) in 19 min; (Ki-46-IVa) 10,000 m (32,810 ft) in 16 min 30 sec; service ceiling (Ki-46-I) 10,830 m (35,530 ft); (Ki-46-II) 10,720 m (35,170 ft); (Ki-46-III & III KAI) 10,500 m (34,450 ft); (Ki-46-IVa) 11,000 m (36,090 ft); range (Ki-46-I) 2,100 km (1,305 miles); (Ki-46-II) 2,474 km (1,537 miles); (Ki-46-III & -IVa) 4,000 km (2,485 miles); (Ki-46-III KAI) 2,000 km (1,243 miles) plus 1 hr combat.
Production: A total of 1,742 Ki-46s were built by Mitsubishi Jukogyo KK in their Nagoya and Toyama plants as follows:

34 Ki-46 prototypes and Ki-46-I production aircraft - 1939-1940
1,093 Ki-46-II production aircraft - 1940-1944
2 Ki-46-III prototypes - 1942
609 Ki-46-III production aircraft, including fighter conversions - 1942-1945
4 Ki-46-IV prototypes - 1943-1944

The colour drawing was taken from The Concise Guide to Axis Aircraft of World War II, by David Mondey, and the two photos were taken from Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, by Rene J Francillon.

Regards

Bob

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Post by Robert Hurst » 04 Aug 2003 15:18

Hi

Nakajima Ki-49 Donryu (Storm Dragon) - Pt 1

The Nakajima Ki-49 was designed to a JAAF specification issued in early 1938 which sought a replacement for the Army Type 97 Heavy Bomber (Mitsubishi Ki-21), then just entering service with the 14th Sentai, and called for an aircraft capable of operating without fighter escort and relying for protection on its speed and heavy armament. The requirements of the Ki-49 specification included a maximum speed of 500 km/h (311 mph), an improvemnt of some 16 per cent over that of the contemporary Ki-21, a range of 3,000 km (1,864 miles), a bomb-load of 1,000 kg (2,205 lb) and defensive armament comprising one flexible 20 mm (0.79 in) cannon in a dorsal turret and several flexible 7.7 mm (0.303 in) machine-guns including one in a tail turret. The crew had to adequately protected from enemy gunfire and the fuel tanks self-sealing.

Nakajima assigned to the Ki-49 project their senior engineers, Nishimura Itokawa and T Koyama, the latter being appointed project leader, and work began in the summer of 1938. When in 1937 the Mitsubishi Ki-21 had been selected over their Ki-19, Nakajima had recieved a production contract for the Ki-21 thus gaining an initmate knowledge of the aircraft, and they made good use of the data in designing its intended replacement. In designing the aircraft particular attention was paid to the handling requirement, and a mid-mounted wing of unusually low aspect-ratio was selected to obtain good stability and manoeuvrability at medium to low altitudes. The wing centre-section had a wider chord than the outboard panels to provide space for six self-sealing fuel tanks, three each on each side of the fuselage, while reducing drag and allowing the engine nacelles to be mounted well ahead of the flaps. To improve take-off and climb performance Fowler-type flaps were adopted and extended from the fuselage to the ailerons. Two self-sealing fuels tanks and one protected oil tank were mounted in each outboard wing panel. Defensive armament consisted of one flexible 20 mm (0.79 in) Ho-1 cannon mounted on the port side of a dorsal turret and one flexible 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Type 89 machine-gun in each of the nose, ventral and port and starboard positions. An additional 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Type 89 machine-gun was fitted in a tail turret, the first to be used on an Imperial Japanese Army aircraft.

The two colour drawings were taken from The Concise Guide to Aixis Aircraft of World War Two, by David Mondey. The bottom photo was taken from Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, by Rene J FRancillon.

Regards

Bob
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Post by Robert Hurst » 05 Aug 2003 13:02

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Nakajima Ki-49 Donryu (Storm Dragon) - Pt 2

The first prototype (c/n 4901) was completed and flown in August 1939. Powered by two Nakajima Ha-5 KAI radials, rated at 950 hp for take-off and 1,080 hp at 4,000 m (13,125 ft), driving three-blade Hamilton Standard two-pitch propellers, the aircraft was used primarily for handling trials and Service pilots reported favourably on its maoeuvrability. The second and third prototypes were fitted with the 1,250 hp Nakajima Ha-41, the powerplant selected for the projected production variant, and were delivered in the last quarter of 1939. Seven pre-production machines, identical to the second and third prototypes apart from the adoption of three-blade constant-speed propellers, were built in 1940 and all ten aircraft underwent a protracted flight trial programme. During this period minor changes in armament, protection and seating arrangement were tested and the aircraft was finally accepted for production as the Army Type 100 Heavy Bomber Model 1 (Ki-49-I) in March 1941.

While the prototypes and pre-production Ki-49s were being tested, alarming reports were received from China where Army Type 97 Heavy Bombers were suffering heavy losses due to the inability of available fighter aircraft to escort them all the way to and from their targets. Much in the same way as the B-40 and B-41 escort fighters were later developed in the US from the Boeing B-17 and Consolidated B-24, Engineer Matsumura designed for Nakajima the Ki-58, an escort fighter version of the Ki-49. Powered by two Nakajima Ha-109s, three prototypes were built between December 1940 and March 1941. The Ki-58 had its bomb-bay sealed and replaced by a ventral gondola, better armour protection and armament increased to five 20 mm (0.79 in) Ho-1 cannon and three 12.7 mm (0.5 in) Type 1 (Ho-103) machine-guns. The aircraft were intended to fly on the flanks of Ki-49 formations, but the idea was abandoned when the Army Type 1 Fighter Hayabusa (Nakajima Ki-43) proved to be able to escort the bombers all the way to their targets.

The Ki-80, two of which were built in October 1941, was a version of the Ki-49 intended for the use of formation leaders, but was also cancelled, and the two prototypes were used as test-beds for the 2,420 hp Nakajima Ha-117 radials, rated at 2,420 hp for take-off and 2,250 hp at 4,900 m (16,75 ft).

The Ki-49-I Donryu (Storm Dragon) production aircraft were idebtical to the pre-production machines and deliveries started in August 1941. When war broke out, the 61st Sentai were exchanging their Ki-21s for Ki-49s but, because of the low initial delivery rate of Donryus, kept some of the older aircraft on strength until February 1942. As production gained tempo the Donryu made its Service debut in China. Later the Ki-49, which was code-named 'Helen' by the Allies, was frequently encountered over New Britain and New Guinea, and it took part an active aprt in the JAAF operations over Australia's Northern Territory. However, early war operations confirmed the doubts expressed by Service pilots in finding that the Ki-49 was underpowered and more dificult to fly than the Ki-21. Speed, although superior to that of the older type, was insufficient to avoid interception and effective bomb-load fell below that of the Ki-21. On the positive side Donryu's crews commented favourably on the aircraft's armour and self-sealing fuel tanks and on its defensive armament offering no blind spots except immediately above and below the aircraft.

The photo was taken from Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, by Rene J Francillon.

Regards

Bob
Last edited by Robert Hurst on 06 Aug 2003 14:10, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by Robert Hurst » 06 Aug 2003 10:16

Hi

Nakajima Ki-49 Donryu (Storm Dragon) - Pt 3

In the spring of 1942 the decision was taken to install a pair of 1,450 hp Nakajima Ha-109 radials, rated at 1,500 hp at take-off and 1,300 hp at 5,280 m (17,330 ft), driving three-blade Ratier-type constant-speed propellers. The engine nacelles were only slightly modified as both types of engines had identical diameter, but the oil cooler, mounted on the front of the Ha-41 engine, was moved to the underside of the Ha-109 cowling. Other modifications dictated by combat experience, such as improved self-sealing fuel tanks, relocated armour plating of heavier grade and a new bombsight, were incorporated in two pre-production Ki-49-IIs. The new version of the Donryu was accepted for production as the Army Type 100 Heavy Bomber Model 2A (Ki-49-IIa) with defensive armament identical to that of the Model 1 and deliveries commenced in August 1942. However, as Allied fighters were found difficult to destroy with rifle-calibre weapons, the single 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Type 89 machine-gun in each of the nose, ventral and tail positions were replaced by 12.7 mm (0.5 in) Type 1 (Ho-103) machine-guns in late production Ki-49-IIbs.

The Ki-49-IIs never wholly supplanted the kI-21-IIs in the JAAF bomber units and were assigned to Sentais operating in New Guines and China/Manchuria. When the Allies returned to the Philippines Donryus were heavilt committed to the new battle front where they were severely mauled until December 1944 when most surviving aircraft were used in Kikusui suicide attacks against the Allied fleet supporting the landing on Mindoro. Although the aircraft was provided with better armament and protection than any other Japanese bomber until the advent of the Mitsubishi Ki-67, the JAAF did not find its performance satisfactory. In particular, Service pilots found the speed at low and medium altitudes still insufficient, and its flight characteristics were not as pleasant as those of the older Ki-21-II. In an effort to improve the Donryu's performance even more, Nakajima designed a newer version fitted with the mosy powerful fourteen-cylinder radial engines ever developed, the 2,420 hp Nakajima Ha-117. These engine were test flown on the Ki-80 and it was hoped that maximum rating could be increased to 2,800 hp. However, engine teething troubles were never eradicated and only six aircraft of this variant, the Ki-49-III, were built by Nakajima between March and December 1943. Standard Ki-49s were also built by Tachikawa which, after experiencing serious difficulties due to errors in the jigs supplied by Nakajima, delivered fifty machines in 1943-44, but plans to have the aircraft manufactured by Mansyu Hikoki Seizo KK were not realised.

The top and middle coloured drawings were taken from The Concise Guide to Axis Aircraft of World War Two, by David Mondey. The bottom photo was taken from Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, by Rene J Francillon.

Regards

Bob

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Post by Robert Hurst » 06 Aug 2003 14:18

Hi

Nakajima Ki-49 Donryu (Storm Dragon) - Pt 4

Despite its shortcomings the type was adapted to perform various missions. Ki-49-Is fitted with electronic and magnetic detection gear served in an anti-submarine role. Some Ki-49-IIs operated as troop transports; others were modified in the field as night fighters in which role, operating in pairs, one aircraft was fitted with a searchlight in the nose as a 'hunter' while the 'killer' mounted a 75 mm cannon in the fuselage, but they proved disappointing as they lacked the necessary performance. In the suicide bomber role the Ki-49-II had all armament removed, crew being reduced to two pilots, but carried 1,600 kg (3,527 lb) of bombs. Although Donryu's operational life was comparatively brief and colourless, it earned a special place in the history of aviation in Japan as it was the first Army bomber to be fitted with a tail turret.

Units Allocated

61st, 62nd, 95th and 110th Sentais; 11th Hikoshidan; Hamamatsu Army Heavy Bomber Flying School.

Technical Data

Manufacturer: Nakajima Hikoki KK (Nakajima Aeroplane Co Ltd).
Type: Twin-engined heavy bomber.
Crew (8): Pilot, co-pilot, bombardier, navigator, radio-operator/gunner and three gunners.
Powerplant: (First prototype) Two 950 hp Nakajima Ha-5 KAI fourteen-cylinder air-cooled radial engines, driving three-blade two-pitch metal propellers; (pre-production Ki-49s c/n 4904-4910 & Ki-49-I) Two 1,250 hp Army Type 100 (Nakajima Ha-41) fourteen-cylinder air-cooled radial engines, driving three-blade two-pitch metal propellers; (Ki-49-II & Ki-58) Two 1,450 hp Army Type 2 (Nakajima Ha-109) fourteen-cylinder air-cooled radial engines, driving three-blade constant-pitch metal propellers; (Ki-49-III & Ki-80) Two 2,420 hp Nakajima Ha-117 fourteen-cylinder air-cooled radial engines, driving three-blade constant-pitch metal propellers.
Armament: (prototypes, pre-production aircraft, Ki-49-I & -IIa) One flexible 20 mm (0.79 in) Ho-1 cannon in dorsal turret and one flexible 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Type 89 machine-guns in each of nose, ventral, port and starboard beam, and tail positions; (Ki-49-IIb & -III) One flexible 20 mm (0.79 in) Ho-1 cannon in the dorsal turret, one flexible 12.7 mm (0.5 in) Type 1 (Ho-103) machine-guns in the nose, ventral and tail positions, and one flexible 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Type 89 machine-gun in the port and starboard beam positions; (Ki-58) Five flexible 20 mm (0.79 in) Ho-1 cannon and three flexible 12.7 mm (0.5 in) Type 1 (Ho-103) machine-guns. Bomb-load - normal 750 kg (1,653 lb), maxumum 1,000 kg (2,205 lb), suicide attack 1,600 kg (3,527 lb).
Dimensions: Span (Ki-49-I & -IIa) 20.424 m (67 ft 0 1/8 in); length (Ki-49-I) 16.808 m (55 ft 1 3/4 in), (Ki-49-IIa) 16.5 m (54 ft 1 5/8 in); height (Ki-49-I & -IIa) 4.25 m (13 ft 11 5/16 in); wing area (Ki-49-I & -IIa) 69.05 sq m (743.245 sq ft).
Weights: Empty (Ki-49-I) 6.070 kg (13,382 lb), (Ki-49-IIa) 6,530 kg (14,396 lb); loaded (Ki-49-I) 10,150 kg (22,377 lb), (Ki-49-IIa) 10,680 kg (23,545 lb); maximum (Ki-49-I) 10,675 kg (23,534 lb), (Ki-49-IIa) 11,400 kg (25,133 lb); wing loading (Ki-49-I) 147 kg/sq m (30.1 lb/sq ft), (Ki-49-IIa) 154.7 kg/sq m (31.7 lb/sq ft); power loading (Ki-49-I) 4.1 kg/hp (8.9 lb/hp), (Ki-49-IIa) 3.6 kg/hp (7.8 lb/hp).
Performance: Maximum speed (Ki-49-IIa) 492 km/h (306 mph) at 5,000 m (16,405 ft); cruising speed 350 km/h (217 mph) at 3,000 m (9,845 ft); climb to 5,000 m (16,405 ft) in 13 min 39 sec; service ceiling 9,300 m (30,510 ft); range - normal 2,000 km (1,243 miles), maximum 2,950 km (1,833 miles).
Production: A total of 819 Ki-49s and derivatives were built as follows:

Nakajima Hikoki KK at Ota:

3 Ki-49 prototypes - summer 1939
7 Ki-49 pre-production aircraft - January-December 1940
129 Ki-49-I produciton aircraft - August 1941-August 1942
2 Ki-49-II prototypes - August-September 1942
617 Ki-49-II production aircraft - September 1942-December 1944
6 Ki-49-III prototypes - March-December 1943
3 Ki-58 prototypes - December 1940-Maech 1941
2 Ki-80 prototypes - October 1941

Tachikawa Hikoki KK at Tachikawa:

50 Ki-49-II production aircraft - January 1943-January 1944.

The photots were taken from Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, by Rene J Francillon.

Regards

Bob

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Post by Robert Hurst » 06 Aug 2003 15:25

Hi

Mitsubishi Ki-57 - Pt 1

Standard personnel transport of the Imperial Japanese Army, the Ki-57 originated in early 1939 as a commercial transport developed by Mitsubishi from their Ki-21 heavy bomber at the request of Nippon Koku KK (Japan Air Lines). For service on their international routes the airline sought an aircraft of Japanese design with payload, speed and range performance similar to that of the military bomber. Preliminary design studies impressed the Army which had a requirement for a paratroop and staff transport and, when in August 1939 the airline was reorganised with government financial participation as Dai Nippon Koku KK (Greater Japan Air Line Co Ltd), the Koku Hombu issued to Mitsubishi a design specification covering the joint needs of the commercial airline and the military service. Requirements included: (1) ability to carry 11 passengers and 300 kg (661 lb) of freight over 1,400 km (870 miles) at a cruising speed of 300 km/h (186 mph) at between 2,000 and 4,000 m (6,560 and 13,125 ft); (2) maximum range with commercial load, 2,000 km (1,243 miles) and ferry range, 3,000 km (1,864 miles); (3) crew of four; and (4) loaded weight not to exceed 7,900 kg (17,417 lb).

Retaining the wings, tail and cockpit sections, undercarriage and powerplant installation of the Ki-21-I, the transport aircraft, carrying the civil designation MC-20 and the military Kitai number Ki-57, featured a new fuselage accommodating eleven passengers in two rows of single seats, and had its wings mounted low on the fuselage whereas its bomber forerunner had mid-mounted wings. Completed in July 1940 the prototype made its first flight in August, and by the end of the year, despite the loss of the fourth aircraft during a test flight off Chiba on Tokyo Bay, quantity production was authorised for both commercial and military use. A total of 101 aircraft of the first production model were built by Mitsubishi between 1940 and 1942 and designated Army Type 100 Transport Model 1 (Ki-57-I) by the Army and MC-20-I by the civil authorities . A small number of Ki-57-Is were transferred to the Japanese Navy and designated Navy Type 0 Transport Model 11 (L4M1) by that Service.

The top and centre photos were taken from Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, by Rene J Francillon. The bottom photo was taken from The Encyclopedia of World Aircraft, by David Donald.

Regards

Bob
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Post by Robert Hurst » 07 Aug 2003 14:14

Hi

Mitsubishi Ki-57 - Pt 2

Operated by the Army and Navy as a paratroop transport, communication and logistic support aircraft and by Dai Nippon Koku KK as a passenger transport on scheduled services as well as on military contract operations, the aircraft, code named 'Topsy' by the Allies, was met in all theatres of operations. Although most of the time the type performed unspectacular but necessary tasks, it earned its share of fame on 14 February, 1942, during the Japanese paratroop attack on the aerodrome and refineries around Palembang.

In May 1942 an improved version of the aircraft, powered by two 1,050 hp Mitsubishi Ha-102 radials rated at 1,080 hp at take-off and 1,055 hp at 2,800 m (9,185 ft), and housed in redesigned nacelles and incorporating minor equipment changes, replaced the Ki-57-I on the assembly lines. A total of 406 of these aircraft were built for use by Dai Nippon Koku KK as the MC-20-II and by the Japanese Army as the Ki-57-II, Army Type 100 Transport Model 2. Plans to have the aircraft manufactured by Nippon Kokusai Kogyo KK (Japan International Air Industries Co Ltd) failed to materialise and the last Ki-57-II was delivered by Mitsubishi in January 1945. After seeing active service throughout the war a few MC-20/Ki-57 aircraft survived and were operated under strict Allied control by Dai Nippon Koku KK until 10 October 1945, when all Japanese air activities were prohibited.

Units Allocated

108th and 109th Sentais. 20th Dokuritsu Hiko Chutai. 7th Hikodan, Shireibu Hikodan. 4th and 9th Hikoshidans, Shireibu Hikodan. 2nd Shudan, Shireibu Hikodan. 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th Kokuguns, Shireibu Hikodan. 1st Teishun Hikosentai.

Technical Data

Manufacturer: Mitsubishi Jukogyo kk (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Co Ltd).
Type: Twin-engined personnel transport.
Crew (4): Pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer, navigator and eleven troops.
Powerplant: (Ki-57-I & MC-20-I) Two 850 hp Army Type 97 Nakajima Ha-5 KAI) fourteen-cylinder air-cooled radial engines, driving three-blade variable-pitch metal propellers; (Ki-57-II & MC-20-II) Two 1,050 hp Army Type 100 (Mitsubishi Ha-102) fourteen-cylinder air-cooled radial engines, driving three-blade variable-pitch conctant-speed metal propellers.
Armament: None.
Dimensions: Span (Ki-57-I & -II) 22.6 m (74 ft 1 3/4 in); length (Ki-57-I & -II) 16.1 m (52 ft 9 7/8 in); height (Ki-57-I) 4.77 m (15 ft 7 25/32 in), (Ki-57-II) 4.86 m (15 ft 11 11/32 in); wing area (Ki-57-I & -II) 70.08 sq m(754.332 sq ft).
Weights: Empty (Ki-57-I) 5,522 kg (12,174 lb), (Ki-57-II) 5,585 kg (12,313 lb); loaded (Ki-57-I) 7,860 kg (17,328 lb), (Ki-57-II) 8,173 kg (18,018 lb); maximum (Ki-57-I) 8,437 kg (18,600 lb), (Ki-57-II) 9,120 kg (20,106 lb); wing area (Ki-57-I) 112.2 kg/sq m (23 lb/sq ft), (Ki-57-II) 116.6 kg/sq m (23.9 lb/sq ft); power loading (Ki-57-I) 4.1 kg/hp (9.1 lb/hp), (Ki-57-II) 3.8 kg/hp (8.3 lb/hp).
Performance: Maximum speed (Ki-57-I) 430 km/h 267 mph) at 3,400 m (11,155 ft), (Ki-57-II) 470 km/h ( 292 mph) at 5,800 m (19,030 ft); cruising speed (Ki-57-I) 320 km/h (199 mph) at 3,000 m (9,840 ft); climb to 5,000 m (16,405 ft) in (Ki-57-I) 12 min 10 sec, (Ki-57-II) 15 min 45 sec; service ceiling (Ki-57-I) 7,000 m (22,965 ft), Ki-57-II) 8,000 m (26,250 ft); range - normal 1,500 km (932 miles), maximum 3,000 km (1,865 miles).
Production: A total of 507 aircraft, including 101 Ki-57-Is and MC-20-Is and 406 Ki-57-IIs and MC-20-IIs, were built by Mitsubishi Jukogyo KK between July 1940 and January 1945.

Both photos were taken from Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, by Rene J Francillon.

Regards

Bob

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Post by Stauffenberg II » 23 Sep 2003 20:29

Awesome information!

Many thanks Rob.

Stauffenberg II

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