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Japan's Imperial Army flag

Japan's Mitsubishi Ki-46 reconnaissance; Army Type 100
Allied code name: Dinah

Design

In December 1937 the Japanese Army asked Mitsubishi to develop a long range reconnaissance aircraft. It need to be able to go 250 mph from 13,500' to 20,000', fly 375 mph at 13,500', and fly for six hours.

The Mitsubishi Ki-46 was designed by Tomio Kubo in 1938. He also used the Aeronautical Research Institute of the University of Tokyo to help with the aerodynamics of the Ki-46.

Prototype

The Ki-46 prototype first flew in November 1939. During tests it was found that the prototype meet all the Army's requirements except for speed. Even with this deficiency it was ordered for production.

Production

Production ended in 1945.

  • Mitsubishi Ki-46-I: 34
  • Mitsubishi Ki-46-II: 1,093
    • Models first came off production line in March 1941
  • Mitsubishi Ki-46-III: 609, 611
    • First flew in December 1942.
    • Ki-46-III KAI first flew in October 1944.
    • Production: Early 1943
  • Mitsubishi KI-46-IV: 4
  • Total: 1,742
    • Manufacturer: Mitsubishi Jukogyo K.K.
    • Production: July 1941 - September 1945

Variants

  • Mitsubishi Ki-46-I: Prototype. Production.
  • Mitsubishi Ki-46-II: Production. Had two stage supercharged engines. The superchargers enhanced performance at altitude.
  • Mitsubishi Ki-46-II KAI: Radio navigation trainer.
  • Mitsubishi Ki-46-III: New exhaust system to improve thrust. Direct fuel injection. Increased fuel. Forward fuselage was redesigned. Cockpit was elongated that eliminated the step in the nose.
  • Mitsubishi Ki-46-III KAI: Interceptor. Cannon in nose.
  • Mitsubishi Ki-46-IIIb: Ground attack.
  • Mitsubishi Ki-46-IV: Had turbo charged Mitsubishi Ha-112 engines.

Usage

The Ki-46 was the most important reconnaissance aircraft of the Japanese. It was so highly regarded that the Germans attempted to get a manufacturing licence.

Before the War

In the months leading up to World War II, Ki-46s were used to fly over Malaya to reconnoiter the invasion areas.

Fast for Long Distance

Two Ki-46-IVs flew 1,400 miles at an average speed of 438 mph in February 1945.

Specifications

  Mitsubishi Ki-46-I Prototype
Type  
Crew  
Engine (Type) 2: Mitsubishi Ha-26-I
Cylinders  
Cooling  
Net HP 900 each
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span  
Length  
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Performance  
Speed 335 mph
529 kph
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
Nose  
Rear cockpit  
  Mitsubishi Ki-46-I
Type Reconnaissance
Crew 2
Engine (Type) 2: Mitsubishi Ha-26-I
Cylinders  
Cooling  
Net HP 900 each
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span 48' 2.75"
14.7 m
Length 36' 1"
11 m
Height 12' 8.75"
3.88 m
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Performance  
Speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
Rear cockpit 1: 7.7 mm MG
  Mitsubishi Ki-46-II
Type Reconnaissance
Crew 2
Engine (Type) 2: Mitsubishi Ha-102
Cylinders Radial, Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,050 each, 1,080 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Dimensions  
Span 48' 2", 48' 2.75"
14.7 m
Length 36' 1"
11 m
Height 12' 8", 12' 8.75"
3.88 m
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 7,194 lb
3,263 kg
Loaded 11,133 lb, 12,787 lb
5,800 kg
Performance  
Speed 375 mph
604 kph
Speed @ 19,030' /
5,800 m
375 mph
603 kph
Climb to 26,250' /
8,000 m
18 minutes
Service ceiling 35,170'
10,720 m
Range 1,537 miles
2,473 km
Armament 1: MG
Rear cockpit 1: 7.7 mm MG
  Mitsubishi Ki-46-III
Type Reconnaissance
Crew 2
Engine (Type) 2: Mitsubishi Ha-112-II
Cylinders Radial, Radial 14
Cooling  
Net HP 1,500 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Dimensions  
Span 48' 2.25"
14.7 m
Length 36' 1"
11 m
Height 12' 8.75"
3.88 m
Wing area 344.44 ft2
32 m2
Weight  
Empty 8,446 lb
3,831 kg
Loaded 14,330 lb
6,500 kg
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 19,685' /
6,000 m
391 mph
629 kph, 630 kph
Climb to 26,250' /
8,000 m
20.25 minutes, 20.3 minutes
Service ceiling 34,450'
10,500 m
Range 2,485 miles
4,000 km
Armament  
Nose 2: 20 mm Ho-5
  Mitsubishi Ki-46-III KAI
Type High altitude interceptor
Crew 2
Engine (Type)  
Cylinders  
Cooling  
Net HP  
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span 48' 2.25"
14.7 m
Length 37' 8.25"
11.49 m
Height 12' 8.75"
3.88 m
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Performance  
Speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
Nose 1: 37 mm
2: 20 mm

Sources:

  1. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  2. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  3. World War II Airplanes Volume 2, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site