Mitsubishi Ki-2

The Mitsubishi Ki-2 was a light bomber aircraft built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for the Imperial Japanese Army in the 1930s. Its Allied codename was Louise. Despite its antiquated appearance, the Ki-2 was successfully used in the pacification of Manchukuo and in north China during the early stages of the Second Sino-Japanese War, in areas where danger from enemy fighter planes was minimal. It was later used in a training role. 


Mitsubishi Ki-2
Class Aircraft
Type Bomber
Manufacturer Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation
Origin Japan
Country Name Origin Year
Japan 1933
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Japan 1933 1940 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation 187 View

The Ki-2 was based on the militarized Junkers S36, the Junkers K37, first flown in 1927. In 1931, representatives of Mitsubishi purchased the sole K37 prototype as well as all development papers and a signed a contract for licensed production. The K37 prototype was brought to Japan and tested in combat in the Manchurian Incident of 1931, following which the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force authorized Mitsubishi to produce both heavy and light bomber variations. 

The light bomber version, the Mitsubishi Ki-2, flew for the first time in May 1933. While the fuselage was redesigned by Mitsubishi, the wings were kept unchanged, except for additional ailerons. Mitsubishi built total of 113 aircraft and an additional 13 aircraft built by Kawasaki from 1933-1936. The Ki-2 was followed in production by an improved version designated the Mitsubishi Ki-2-ll. This production variant featured a nose turret and semi-retractable main landing gear; 61 were built.

The Mitsubishi Ki-2 was initially designated "Army Type 93-1 Twin-engine Light Bomber" under the former Japanese military aircraft nomenclature system. Although already obsolescent by the time of its introduction, it was used with great success in the counterinsurgency operations of the Pacification of Manchukuo, and as well as limited use in the Second Sino-Japanese War in combat in north China.

The Ki-2 was followed in production by an improved version designated the Mitsubishi Ki-2-ll, or "Army Type 93-2 Twin-engine Light Bomber," in 1936. The Ki-2-ll had a fully enclosed manually operated nose turret, an enclosed cockpit for the pilot, and semi-retractable main landing gear, which retracted forward into the engine nacelles. The Ki-2-ll also had new 559 kW (750 hp) Mitsubishi Ha-8 radial engines giving much improved overall performance with maximum speed increased to 283 km/h (176 mph). Mitsubishi built a total of 61 Ki-2-II aircraft.

Vulnerable to attack by enemy fighters, and replaced by aircraft with greater range and payload by the late-1930s, both versions ended their flying careers in the training role.

A civilian version of the Ki-2-ll named Otori (Phoenix) was bought by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper and made a number of long-range record-breaking and "goodwill" flights from 1936 to 1939. Registered J-BAAE, it covered the 4,930 km (3,060 mi) from Tachikawa military air base to Bangkok in 21 hours 36 minutes flying time in December 1936, and in early 1939 achieved a round-China flight of some 9,300 km (5,780 mi).

General characteristics

  • Crew: 3
  • Length: 12.6 m ( ft in)
  • Wingspan: 19.952 m ( ft in)
  • Height: 4.635 m ( ft in)
  • Wing area: 56.2 m ( ft)
  • Empty weight: 2800 kg ( lb)
  • Gross weight: 4500 kg ( lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 x Nakajima Jupiter radial, 450 kW ( hp)eacheach

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 225 km/h ( mph)
  • Range: 900 km ( miles)
  • Service ceiling: 7000 m ( ft)

Armament

  • 2 x 7.7-mm (0.303-in) machine-guns
  • 500 kg of bombs

End notes