Kawasaki Ki-32

The Kawasaki Ki-32 (Type 98) was a Japanese light bomber aircraft of World War II. It was a single-engine, two-seat, mid-wing, cantilever monoplane with a fixed tailwheel undercarriage. An internal bomb bay accommodated a 300 kg offensive load, supplemented by 150 kg of bombs on external racks. During the war, it was known by the Allies by the code-name Mary.

Kawasaki Ki-32
Class Aircraft
Type Bomber
Manufacturer Kawasaki Aerospace Company
Origin Japan
Country Name Origin Year
Japan 1937
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Kawasaki Aerospace Company 854 View

The Ki-32 was developed in response to a May 1936 Imperial Japanese Army specification to replace the Kawasaki Ki-3 light bomber with a completely indigenously designed and built aircraft. Mitsubishi and Kawasaki were requested to build two prototypes each by December 1936. The specification called for a top speed of 400 km/h (250 mph) at 9,800 ft (3,000 meters); normal operating altitude from 6,500 ft to 13,000 ft (2,000 to 4,000 meters), the ability to climb to 9,800 ft (3,000 meters) within 8 minutes and an engine to be selected from the 825 hp (620 kW) Mitsubishi Ha-6 radial, 850 hp (630 kW) Nakajima Ha-5 radial, or 850 hp (630 kW) Kawasaki Ha-9-IIb liquid-cooled inline engines, a normal bomb load of 661 lb (299.8 kg) and a maximum of 992 lb (450.0 kg), one forward-firing machine gun and one flexible rearward-firing machine gun, the ability to perform 60-degree dives for dive bombing, and a loaded weight less than 7,275 lb (3,299.9 kg).

The first Kawasaki prototype flew in March 1937; seven more prototypes were produced. Being very similar in layout and performance, main difference between the Kawasaki Ki-32 and its Mitsubishi Ki-30 rival was in the choice of an engine. The Mitsubishi design used the Nakajima Ha-5 14-cylinder air-cooled radial engine, whereas Kawasaki opted for their own Kawasaki Ha-9-II inline V12 engine.

Problems were encountered with the Kawasaki design, particularly with engine cooling, and the Mitsubishi Ki-30 received the production order. In spite of this, the pressing need for more aircraft in the Second Sino-Japanese War, which had started at full scale in July 1937, resulted in the Ki-32's entry into production as well, 12 months behind its rival. Ironically, the number of Ki-32s built was much higher than that of the successful Ki-30.

The Ki-32 entered production in 1938, designated Army Type 98 Single-engine Light Bomber, Kawasaki manufactured 854 Ki-32s before production ceased in May 1940.

The Ki-32 saw extensive war service in the Second Sino-Japanese War, equipping the 3rd, 6th, 10th, 35th, 45th, 65th and 75th Sentai. It also saw combat during the Battle of Nomonhan against the Soviet Union in 1938-1939. Its last combat action was bombing Commonwealth forces during the Japanese Invasion of Hong Kong.

Ki-32s during World War II were also supplied to the Manchukuo Air Force to replace their obsolescent Kawasaki Type 88/KDA-2 light bombers; they were the main bomber of that service through the conflict.

After their withdrawal from front-line service in 1942 the Ki-32s were used in a training role.

Role Light bomber
Manufacturer Kawasaki Kokuki Kogyo K.K.
First flight March 1937
Introduction 1938
Retired 1942
Primary users IJA Air Force
Manchukuo Air Force
Number built 854

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 11.65 m (38 ft 2.5 in)
  • Wingspan: 15.0 m (49 ft 2 in)
  • Height: 2.90m (9 ft 6 in)
  • Wing area: 34.00 m (365.98 ft)
  • Empty weight: 5,181 kg (2,350 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 3,760 kg (8,290 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 x Kawasaki Ha-9-IIb liquid-cooled V12 engine, 634 kW (850 hp)


  • Maximum speed: 423 km/h (228 knots, 263 mph) at (3,940 m) 12,900 ft
  • Cruise speed: 300 km/h (162 knots, 186 mph)
  • Range: 1,965 km (1,060 nm, 1,220 mi)
  • Service ceiling: 8,920 m (29,265 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 7.6 m/s (1500 ft/min)


  • Guns: 2 x 7.7 mm (0.303 in) machine guns
  • Bombs: 450 kg (990 lb)

End notes