Japanese light bombers and reconnaissance aircrafts

Discussion in 'Aircraft Pictures' started by gekho, Jun 24, 2011.

  1. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    Light bombers carried a relatively light bomb load but were suitable for tactical missions requiring rapid response and flexibility. Most were single engine aircraft with a crew of two or three. Dive bombers specialized in accurate attacks with bombs against high-valued land or naval targets. Torpedo bombers, as the name implies, were naval aircraft specializing in delivering torpedoes against shipping, but they could also be employed as horizontal bombers against ground targets. A few light bombers, particularly in Japanese service, were capable neither of carrying torpedoes nor of maintaining the steep dives characteristic of dive bombers. These are listed below. In addition to the other qualities desirable in a light bomber, a carrier bomber had to have a low enough landing speed to operate off a short flight deck, enough resistance to corrosion to endure salt air, and a sturdy undercarriage for hard landings on flight decks. These requirements did not constrain carrier bomber design as severely as they did carrier fighter design. In fact, it was rare for land-based light bombers to be as successful as carrier bombers. As Bergerud points out, ships are valuable targets, and a combat attrition rate that is acceptable when attacking shipping may not be acceptable for ground support missions.

    Reconnaissance aircraft are aircraft designed to gather intelligence, usually by visual observation, aerial photography, or radar. While almost any aircraft had significant reconnaissance capability, the ideal reconnaissance aircraft was capable of flying high and fast to avoid interception by fighters and had a long range. Combat capability was much less important. Strategic reconnaissance missions were flown by long-range aircraft with high-resolution photographic equipment. Of these, the best was probably the Japanese Ki-46 Dinah, whose combination of speed, service ceiling, and range made it nearly the ideal reconnaissance aircraft. Allied fighter pilots found it extremely difficult to intercept, and Dinahs participated in the photoreconnaissance of Malaya and the Philippines before the war and on missions over Ulithi and Okinawa in its final months. The closest Allied equivalent was the reconnaissance version of the British Mosquito, which because it was made largely of plywood had a low radar cross-section, making it arguably the first stealth aircraft.
     
  2. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #2 gekho, Jun 24, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2011
    The KDA-2 was designed by Richard Vogt to meet a Japanese Army requirement for a reconnaissance biplane to replace the Salmson 2. Three prototypes were built by Kawasaki in 1927. Following testing the aircraft was ordered into production as the Army Type 88-1 Reconnaissance Biplane. The aircraft was of all-metal construction, with a stressed skin forward fuselage, had unequal-span wings and a slim angular fuselage, cross-axle tailwheel landing gear and was powered by a 447 kW (600 hp) BMW VI engine. An improved version (the Type 88-II) was developed with an improved engine cowling and a revised tail unit. By the end of 1931, a total of 710 (including the three prototypes) had been built by both Kawasaki and Tachikawa (187 of the total).

    Between 1929 and 1932, a bomber version was built as the Type 88 Light Bomber, differing in having a strengthened lower wing and an additional pair of centre-section struts. Bomb racks were located under the fuselage and lower wings. A total of 407 were produced. A transport variant was developed as the KDC-2 with room for a pilot and four passengers in an enclosed cabin. Only two KDC-2s were built and one of was tested on floats. Both reconnaissance and bomber versions saw action with the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force in Manchuria, and a few were still in service in 1937 during fighting at Shanghai.
     

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  3. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    Developed from the KDA-6 private venture reconnaissance prototype, the Kawasaki Ki-3 was designed by German engineer Richard Vogt, who later became chief designer for Blohm und Voss. The first Ki-3 flew in March 1933 and featured an unusual annular cowling with a nose radiator, but production aircraft had a more normal chin radiator. It entered Japanese Army service as the Type 93, 203 being built by Kawasaki and a further 40 by Tachikawa. It was a rugged aircraft, but the Ki-3's liquid-cooled engine was a constant source of trouble. The Ki-3 first saw service with the 6th Composite Air Regiment in Korea. The type, which was Japan's last biplane bomber, saw action in China.
     

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  4. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    Extensively test-flown in 1934, the Nakajima Ki-4 sesquiplane had divided landing gear with streamlined wheel spats, and accommodated pilot and observer in tandem open cockpits, the pilot just below a cut-out in the trailing edge of the upper wing. The Ki-4 went into production and service in 1935 as the Army Type 94 Reconnaissance Aircraft Model 2 which dispensed with the wheel fairings and had a redesigned tail unit. Production continued for several years, some aircraft being licence-built by Tachikawa among the total of 516.

    The Type 94 was used widely in China by the Japanese army on direct co-operation duties, in close support of the ground forces. It was armed with up to four 7.7mm machine-guns and could carry 50kg of light bombs. A number were still in service in the supply and liaison role in 1941. The Japanese army tested two Ki-4s as seaplanes, one with twin floats and the other with one main and two stabilising floats. A landplane was used for flotation bag tests to check buoyancy in the event of an emergency put-down on water. Powered by a 477kW Ha-8 radial engine, the Type 94 could attain a speed of 300km/h. Wing span was 12.00m and maximum take-off weight 2500kg.
     

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  5. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    In December 1923, Eiji Sekiguchi, chief designer of the aircraft department of Kawanishi Kikai Setsakuho (Kawanishi Machinery Manufacturing Works), started design of a new high speed transport floatplane to equip Nippon Koku KK (Japan Aviation Co. Ltd.), an airline subsidiary of Kawanishi. Sekiguchi designed a single-engined sesquiplane (i.e. a biplane with the lower wing much smaller than the upper wing) of all-wooden construction. Seating for four passengers was provided in a enclosed cabin, while the aircraft's two pilots sat in individual open tandem cockpits aft of the passenger cabin. The aircraft was powered by a single Maybach Mb.IVa water-cooled inline-engine providing 305 hp (228 kW), an engine type usually used to power Zeppelins or R-planes (Riesenflugzeuge like the Zeppelin-Staaken R.VI), received as part of Germany's reparations to Japan after the end of the First World War.

    The first example of the new aircraft, the K-7A Transport Seaplane was completed in November 1924, demonstrating both good performance and handling. A further nine K-7As were built by the time production ended in 1927, together with a single example of the K-7B Mail-Carrying Aircraft, a modified version that could be operated either on floats or with a tailwheel undercarriage.
     

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  6. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    The army's Mitsubishi Ki-15 (and its counterpart in the navy, the C5M) became the most popular Japanese reconnaissance plane during the period just before World War II and during the early stages of the war itself. The project was begun in the summer of 1935 at the request of army technical authorities, with the first prototype appearing in May of 1936. The new reconnaissance plane made its operational debut during the second Sino-Japanese war. It proved to be an excellent plane and was hard to intercept. Because of its high performance, the plane attracted the interest of naval authorities, who at the time did not have modern reconnaissance planese. In 1938 the navy ordered a number of these aircraft for its own use, to be designated as C5Ms. However, only about 50 of the total 489 examples made of this type were to be navy C5Ms, with the vast majority used as army Ki-15s. The Ki-15s and C5Ms (which the Allies gave the codename of "Babs") remained on front-line duty throughout 1942. Then they were gradually withdrawn and reassigned to training and liaison duty.
     

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  7. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Another great thread!
     
  8. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    In May 1936 the Imperial Japanese Army issued its specification for a light bomber required to supersede the Mitsubishi Ki-2 and Kawasaki Ki-3 then in service. The Mitsubishi Ki-30 prototype that resulted was of cantilever mid-wing monoplane configuration with fixed tailwheel landing gear, the mam units faired and spatted, and powered by a 615kW Mitsubishi Ha-6 radial engine. Flown for the first time on 28 February 1937 this aircraft performed well, but it was decided to fly a second prototype with the more powerful Nakajima Ha-5 KAI radial engine. This aircraft showed some slight improvement in performance but, in any case, exceeded the army's original specification, so there was no hesitation in ordering 16 service trials aircraft. These were delivered in January 1938 and, two months later, the Ki-39 was ordered into production.

    First used operationally in China during 1938, the Ki-30s proved to be most effective, for in that theatre they had the benefit of fighter escort. The situation was very much the same at the beginning of the Pacific war, but as soon as the Allies were in a position to confront unescorted Ki-30s with fighter aircraft they immediately began to suffer heavy losses and were soon relegated to second-line use. The Allied codename 'Ann' was allocated to the Ki-30, but few were seen operationally after the opening phases of the war. A total of 704 had been built when production ended in 1941, 68 manufactured by the First Army Air Arsenal at Tachikawa, and many of these ended their days in a kamikaze role during the closing stages of the war.
     

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  9. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    The Ki-32 light bomber was an all-metal mid-wing monoplane powered by a single 708kW Ha-9-IIb liquid-cooled engine. Its wide-track fixed cantilever undercarriage featured open-sided wheel fairings. Wing and tail surfaces were finely tapered. The two-man crew were accommodated beneath a long raised canopy. Armament comprised one fixed cowling 7.7mm Type 89 machine-gun and another of the same type on a flexible mounting operated by the observer. An internal bomb bay accommodated a 300kg offensive load, supplemented by 150kg of bombs on external racks.

    Eight 1937 prototypes were followed by 846 series aircraft built up to May 1940 and designated Army Type 98 Light Bomber. They saw extensive war service in China, flying with seven Sentais during 1938-9 and participated in the fierce fighting over the Khalkin Gol and at Nomonhan against Soviet forces during 1939. Among the Type 98's final operational sorties were successful bombing raids on Hong Kong prior to its surrender in December 1941. The type was coded Mary by the Allies.
     

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  10. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    #10 gekho, Jun 25, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2011
    First flown in prototype form on 20 April 1938, the Tachikawa Ki-36 was a cantilever low-wing monoplane of all-metal basic structure, covered by a mix of light alloy and fabric. Landing gear was of fixed tailwheel type, the main units enclosed in speed fairings, and power was provided by a 336kW Hitachi Ha-13 radial engine. The two-man crew was enclosed by a long 'greenhouse' canopy and both men had good fields of view, that of the observer being improved by clear-view panels in the floor. The type was ordered into production in November 1938 as the Army Type 98 Direct Co- Operation Plane. Generally similar to the prototypes, the type was armed with two 7.7mm machine guns and introduced the more powerful Hitachi Ha-13a engine. When construction ended in January 1944, a total of 1,334 had been built by Tachikawa (862) and Kawasaki (472).

    The handling characteristics and reliability of the Ki-36 made the army realize that it was ideal for use as an advanced trainer, resulting in development of the Ki-55, intended specifically for this role and having armament reduced to a single forward- firing machine-gun. Following the testing of a prototype in September 1939, the army ordered this aircraft as the Army Type 99 Advanced Trainer; when production was terminated in December 1943 a total of 1,389 had been built by Tachikawa (1,078) and Kawasaki (311).

    Both versions were allocated the Allied codename 'Ida', and the Ki-36 was first deployed with considerable success in China. However, when confronted by Allied fighters at the beginning of the Pacific War it was found to be too vulnerable, being redeployed in China where it was less likely to be confronted by such aircraft. It was also considered suitable for kamikaze use in the closing stages of the war, being modified to carry internally a bomb of up to 500kg.
     

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  11. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    One of the best-looking Japanese aircraft of World War II, the Mitsubishi Ki-46 was designed to meet an Imperial Japanese Army requirement of 1937 for a higher performance reconnaissance aircraft to supersede the Ki-15. A cantilever low-wing monoplane with retractable tailwheel landing gear, powered by two 671kW Mitsubishi Ha-21-l radial engines, the two-seat Ki-46 prototype was flown for the first time in late November 1939. Early testing showed that maximum speed of the Ki-46 was some 10% below specification, but as its speed and overall performance was better than in-service army and navy aircraft the type was ordered into production as the Army Type 100 Command Reconnaissance Plane Model 1 (Ki-46-l), later allocated the Allied codename 'Dinah'. Early operational problems with the Ki-46-l resulted in production of the improved Ki-46-ll with 805kW Mitsubishi Ha-102 engines, this powerplant giving a maximum speed slightly in excess of the original specification. The Ki-46-ll was the major production version, with more than 1,000 built, a number of which were converted later into three-seat radio/navigation trainers under the designation Ki-46-ll KAI. Subsequent variants included the faster and improved Ki-46-III of which 609 were built, a small number being converted later as Ki-46-lll KAI fighter interceptors and Ki-46lllb ground-attack aircraft. Ki-46-IV prototypes, with 1119kW Mitsubishi Ha-112-ll Ru turbocharged engines to give improved high altitude performance, were under test when the war ended.

    In service from the beginning to the end of the Pacific war, the Ki-46 proved to be an important aircraft for the Japanese army, but the growing capability and number of Allied fighters resulted in unacceptably high losses of Ki-46-IIs. However, the improved performance of the Ki-46-lll meant that this version was virtually free from interception until the final stage of the war. Production of all versions totalled 1,742, all built by Mitsubishi.
     

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    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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  14. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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  15. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    The Mitsubishi Ki-51 (Army designation "Type 99 Assault Plane". Allied nickname "Sonia") was a light bomber/dive bomber in service with the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. It first flew in mid-1939. Initially deployed against Chinese forces, it proved to be too slow to hold up against the fighter aircraft of the other Allied powers. However, it performed a useful ground-attack role in the China-Burma-India theatre, notably from airfields too rough for many other aircraft. As the war drew to a close, they began to be used in kamikaze attacks. Total production was around 2,385 units. Charles Lindbergh, flying a P-38 Lightning shot down a Ki-51 after a vigorous dogfight in which the much slower Ki-51 utilized its low speed maneuverability and made a fight of it.
     

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  16. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    In 1932, the Imperial Japanese Navy issued a requirement for a new carrier-borne attack aircraft. Aichi, Mitsubishi and Nakajima responded to this requirement and each built a prototype. Neither of these aircraft were deemed satisfactory, and the service thus issued in 1934 a new requirement, 9-Shi, for a more capable aircraft to replace the obsolescent Yokosuka B3Y. The B4Y was designed by Sanae Kawasaki at the First Naval Air Technical Arsenal at Yokosuka. Regarded only as an interim type, the Navy wanted a torpedo bomber offering performance comparable to the Mitsubishi A5M monoplane fighter. The result was a biplane with fixed landing gear and an all-metal structure with metal or fabric skin. To speed development and production, the B4Y utilised the wings from the Kawanishi E7K. The B4Y1 was also the first Navy carrier attack aircraft to utilize an air-cooled engine, as the prototype that was equipped with the Nakajima Hikari 2 radial engine performed better than its opponents. The crew of three occupied two cockpits. The pilot in the open front cockpit and the other two crewmen, (navigator and radio operator/gunner), in the enclosed rear cockpit.

    On 12 December 1937 3 B4Y1s were involved in the Panay incident during a Japanese attack on the United States Navy gunboat Panay while she was anchored in the Yangtze River outside of Nanjing. Although primarily used as a carrier-based aircraft, the B4Y1 was also used as a land-based bomber on occasion. In 1940, the Nakajima B5N replaced the B4Y1 as the primary carrier attack aircraft, though the B4Y1 did remain in service as an advanced trainer, and flew from Hōshō and Unyō until 1943. Before its replacement, the B4Y1 had flown during the Second Sino-Japanese War and did serve at the Battle of Midway during June 1942, where eight of them were operated from Hōshō[2]. It was one of these planes from Hōshō which took photographs of the burning Hiryū on 5 June 1942.
     

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  17. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    The D1A came out of the Imperial Japanese Navy's need for an advanced carrier-based dive bomber, and in late 1934 the IJN ordered the finalisation of the Aichi AB-9 design which was produced as the early model D1A1. However, the D1A1 was not designed by Aichi Tokei Denki Kabushiki Kaisha aircraft company, but by Ernst Heinkel Flugzeugwerke at the request of the Aichi company. The initial version designed by Heinkel was the He 50, a similar model equipped with floats instead of landing gear. The subsequent model, the He 66 was provided to Aichi who immediately began production of it as the D1A1.The design of the D1A was based on the He 66 and was designed as a biplane constructed of metal, with a fabric covering, a fixed landing gear and a conventional type tail landing skid. Original models had 365 kW (490 hp) engines and it was not until later models that more powerful 433 kW (580 hp) engines were included in the construction.

    The D1A was primarily used in the Second Sino-Japanese War and up to the time Japan entered World War II in 1941. At the beginning of the Pacific War, all of the remaining D1A1s were decommissioned and most of the D1A2s were retired from the front lines and served primarily in training units. The exception was 68 of the D1A2 model that operated as a second-line support until being retired in 1942.
     

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  18. gekho

    gekho Active Member

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    First appearing in 1931 the H4H1 was a twin-engined high-wing monoplane flying-boat. Powered by two 500hp (597kW) Hiro 91-1 engines strut-mounted above the wing it was produced by the Kawanishi company and entered service in 1933. An improved version of the design, the H4H2, followed into production two years later. The H4H2 has re-designed twin fins and rudders and was powered by two 800hp (597kW) Myojo radial engine. A total of 47 of both versions was produced. Both the H4H1 and H4H2 remained in front-line naval service through the 1930s.
     

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