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Japan's Imperial Navy flag

Japan's Kawanishi H6K
Allied code name: Mavis

Photos

Kawanishi H6K, "Mavis" flying boat:
Japan's Kawanishi H6K, "Mavis" flying boat
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
Kawanishi H6K, "Mavis" flying boat:
Japan's Kawanishi H6K, "Mavis" flying boat
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
Kawanishi H6K, "Mavis" flying boat:
Japan's Kawanishi H6K, "Mavis" flying boat

Design

The Japanese navy needed a plane that could cover the Japanese possessions throughout the Pacific Ocean.1 Yoshio Hashiguchi and Shizuo Kikahura, designers for Kawanishi, started to design the H6K in 1933.1,4

The design took elements from the British Short Bros work in the early 1930s and American designs for the parasol wing.2 The H6K was based on the French Potez C.A.M.S. 141.5

Was originally called the Kawanishi Navy Experimental 9-Shi Large-size Flying Boat.1

The Kawanishi H6K "Mavis" could stay in the air for 24 (263) hours.1

The H6K did not have self sealing fuel tanks or armor this causing them to be vulnerable to fighters.1

The H6K was of all metal construction.4

Nose

Originally there was a hand held 7.7 mm Type 92 MG, but in the H6K5 it was removed.1 It was replaced by a turret right behind the flight deck.1

Wings

The parasol wing was mounted above the fuselage.1 The wing struts could carry bombs or torpedos.1,2

Hull

After the initial test flights the forward step in the hull was moved back 20" / 50 cm.1

Fuselage

The Japanese studied the Sikorsky S-42 and designed the H6K with a two step hull.1

Tail

The tail gunner had excellent visibility through the glazed turret.1

Prototype

On July 14, 1936 the prototype was first flown by Katsuji Kondo.1,2,3,4

Production

  • Kawanishi H6K1: 42,3
  • Kawanishi H6K2: 103
  • Kawanishi H6K3: 23
  • Kawanishi H6K4: 1271,2,3,4
    • 64 of these in use by December 1941.2
  • Kawanishi H6K5: 362,3,4
  • Kawanishi H6K2-L/4-L: 383
  • Total: 2112, 2151,4, 2173
    • Manufacturer: Kawanishi Kokuki K.K.4
    • Production: 1938 - 19424

Ten H6K2s were built and delivered to the Japanese Navy in 1939.1 These were later converted to transports.1

Production ended in mid 1943.3

Variants

  • Kawanishi H-97:
  • Kawanishi H6K1: Prototype and preproduction.2,4 Had four Nakajima Hikari 2 radial engines (840 HP each).2,3
  • Kawanishi H6K2: Production model.1 Only had machine guns on top of the fuselage, and in the tail and nose.1 Had four Mitsubishi Kinsei 43 radial engines (1,000 HP each).2,3 Hull was modified to improve performance in the water.3 Delivered in January 19383 / 19392.
  • Kawanishi H6K2-L: Transport version.2,3 Unarmed.3 Could carry 18 passengers.3
  • Kawanishi H6K3: Staff transport.2,3
  • Kawanishi H6K4: Main production model.1 Improved defensive armament.3
  • Kawanishi H6K4-L: Transport version.1,2,3 Had compartments for mail, cargo, and passengers.1 Was code named "Tille" by the Allies.1 Unarmed.3 Could carry 18 passengers.3
  • Kawanishi H6K5: Introduced in 1942.1,2 Had 1,300 HP engines.1 Had nose turret.3

Usage

During the early years the H6K Mavis was very successful, but it was soon found to be vulnerable to Allied fighters.1,3 It was replaced by the Kawanishi H8K.1,3

Sino-Japanese War

The Kawanishi H6K was used during the Japanese war with China from 1938-1939.1

Dutch East Indies

The Kawanishis were used against Dutch land targets in 1942.1

Airline

The Dal Nippon Koku K.K.4 / Greater Japan Air Lines had 18 H6Ks in used until 1945.1

After World War II

The Indonesian air force used some during it's fight for independence and civil war after World War II.1

Specifications

  Kawanishi H6K
Kawanishi H-97
Type Reconnaissance3,5, Transport3, Torpedo5
Crew 93
Engine (Type) 4: Kinsei 4C5
Cylinders Radial5
Cooling Air5
Net HP 900 each5
Propeller blades 3 metal variable pitch4
Dimensions  
Span 131' 2.75"3, 134' 6"5
40 m3
Length 81'5, 84' 1"3
25.63 m3
Height 20' 6.75'3
6.27 m3
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded 45,000 lb5
Performance  
Speed 215 mph5
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range 1,500 miles5
Maximum range  
Armament  
Bombs 3,500 lb5
  Kawanishi H6K1
Type  
Crew  
Engine (Type) 4: Mitsubishi Kinsei 433
Cylinders Radial 143
Cooling  
Net HP 1,000 each3
Propeller blades 3 each3
Dimensions  
Span  
Length  
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Performance  
Speed  
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Maximum range  
Armament  
  Kawanishi H6K2
Type  
Crew  
Engine (Type) 4: Mitsubishi Kinsei 433
Cylinders Radial 143
Cooling  
Net HP 1,000 each3
Propeller blades 3 each3
Dimensions  
Span  
Length  
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Performance  
Speed  
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Maximum range  
Armament  
  Kawanishi H6K4
Type Reconnaissance1,4, bomber1,4, transport1,4
Crew 94
Engine (Type) 4: Mitsubishi Kinsei 431,4
4: Mitsubishi Kinsei 463
Cylinders Radial 141,4
Cooling Air4
Net HP 1,000 each1,4, 1,070 each3
Propeller blades 3 each1,3
Dimensions  
Span 131' 2"4, 131' 3"1
40 m1
Length 84'4, 84' 1"1
25.63 m1
Height 20' 7"1,4
6.27 m1
Wing area 1,830 ft2 1
170 m2 1
Weight  
Empty 25,810 lb3
11,707 kg3
Loaded 37,479 lb4, 47,399 lb3, 47,499 lb1
21,500 kg3, 21,545 kg1
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 13,120' /
4,000 m
211 mph3
340 kph3
Speed @ 13,125' /
4,000 m
211 mph1,4
340 kph1
Cruising speed 138 mph3
222 kph3
Climb to 16,400' /
5,000 m
13.5 minutes3, 13' 31"1
Service ceiling 31,365'3, 31,530'1,4
9,560 m3, 9,610 m1
Range 3,778 miles1,3, 3,779 miles4, 3,780 miles2
6,080 km1,3, 6,083 km2
Maximum range  
Armament  
Nose 1: MG4
1: 7.7 mm MG3
1: 7.7 mm Type 92 MG1
Dorsal 1: MG4
1: 7.7 mm MG3
1: 7.7 mm Type 92 MG1
Fuselage 2: MG4
2: 7.7 mm MG3
2: 7.7 mm Type 92 MG1
Tail 1: 20 mm1,4
Bow turret 1: 7.7 mm MG3
Torpedoes 2: 1,760 lb1,4, 1,764 lb3
2: 800 kg1,3
OR  
Bombs 2,200 lb1,4, 2,205 lb3
1,000 kg1,3
  Kawanishi H6K5
Type Maritime reconnaissance2
Crew 92
Engine (Type) 4: Mitsubishi Kinsei 53 piston2
4: Mitsubishi Kinsei 51/533
Cylinders Radial2
Cooling  
Net HP 1,300 each2,3
Propeller blades 3 each2,3
Dimensions  
Span 131' 2.75"2
40 m2
Length 84' 7/8"2
25.63 m2
Height 20' 6 7/8"2
6.27 m2
Wing area 1,829.9 ft2 2
170 m2 2
Weight  
Empty 27,117 lb2
12,380 kg2
Loaded 50,706 lb2
23,000 kg2
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 19,685' /
6,000 m
239 mph2,3
385 kph2,3
Cruising speed  
Climb to 16,405' /
5,000 m
13.38 minutes2
Service ceiling 31,365'2
9,560 m2
Range 3,107 miles3
5,000 km3
Maximum range 4,208 miles2, 4,210 miles3
6,772 km2, 6,775 km3
Armament  
Nose 1: 7.7 mm Type 922
Dorsal 1: 7.7 mm Type 922
Beam blister 2: 7.7 mm Type 922
Tail 1: 20 mm Type 992
Torpedoes 2: 1,764 lb2
2: 800 kg2
OR  
Bombs 2,205 lb2
1,000 kg2

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of World War II, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  3. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  4. World War II Airplanes Volume 2, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  5. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site