Kawasaki Army Type 88 Reconnaissance Aircraft

The Kawasaki Army Type 88 Reconnaissance Aircraft was a Japanese single-engined biplane designed for Kawasaki by Richard Vogt. Originally known by its company designation KDA-2, it was accepted by the Imperial Japanese Army as the Type 88 Reconnaissance Aircraft. The Type 88 number was designated for the year the aircraft was accepted, 2588 in the Japanese imperial year calendar, or 1928 in the Gregorian calendar. The basic design was modified into the Type 88 Light Bomber that used in combat over China in the Second Sino-Japanese War. The Type 88 was built in large numbers and remained in service until 1940.

Kawasaki Army Type 88 Reconnaissance Aircraft
Class Aircraft
Type Reconnaissance
Manufacturer Kawasaki Aerospace Company
Production Period 1929 - 1932
Origin Japan
Country Name Origin Year
Japan 1927
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Japan View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Kawasaki Aerospace Company 1929 1932 1117 View

The Army Type 88-1 Reconnaissance Biplane was designed by Richard Vogt as the Kawasaki KDA-2 to meet a Japanese Army requirement for a reconnaissance biplane to replace the Salmson 2. Three KDA-2 prototypes were built by Kawasaki Kokuki Kogyo K.K. in 1927. After flight testing, the aircraft was accepted and ordered into production as the Army Type 88-1 Reconnaissance Biplane. The aircraft was of all-metal construction, with a stressed skin forward fuselage, unequal-span wings and a slim angular fuselage, with cross-axle main landing gear. was powered by a 447 kW (600 hp) BMW VI engine. the Type 88-II Was an improved version with an improved engine cowling and a revised tail assembly. By the end of 1931, 710 (including the three prototypes) had been built by both Kawasaki and Tachikawa, who had 187 of the total number.

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.


  • KDA-2 : Three prototypes in 1927.
  • Type 88-I Reconnaissance Biplane. : Production reconnaissance biplane.
  • Type 88-II Reconnaissance Biplane : Improved version of the 88-I, 707 built of both the 88-I and 88-II.
  • Type 88 Light Bomber. : Light bomber able to carry 200 kg (440 lb) of bombs, 407 built.
  • KDC-2 : Transport variant, two built. 

Both reconnaissance and bomber versions saw action with the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force during the Second Sino-Japanese War in Manchuria, and a few were still in service in 1937 during fighting at Shanghai.

Role Reconnaissance and light bomberbiplane
Manufacturer Kawasaki Kokuki Kogyo K.K.
Designer Richard Vogt
First flight 1927
Primary user Imperial Japanese Army Air Force
Produced 1929-1932
Number built 1117

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 12.8 m (42 ft 0 in)
  • Wingspan: 15.00 m (49 ft 2¾ in)
  • Height: 3.40 m (11 ft 2 in)
  • Wing area: 48 m2 (517 ft2)
  • Empty weight: 1,800 kg (3,968 lb)
  • Gross weight: 2,850 kg (6,283 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × BMW VI, 447 kW (600 hp)


  • Maximum speed: 221 km/h (137 mph)
  • Endurance: 6 hours
  • Service ceiling: 6,200 m (20,350 ft)


  • 2 × 7.7 mm (0.303 in) machine guns (one fixed and one manual)

End notes