Japanese Army Aircraft 1930-1950

Fighters

Ki-27. Nakajima Type 97 fighter, CADS Code Name Anne. Lightweight fighter entered service in 1938. Obsolete from 1942 but retained in service due to ability to operate from short, unprepared airstrips. Last examples withdrawn from service in 1946.

Ki-28 Kawasaki experimental fighter. Abandoned in favor of Ki-27

Ki-33 Mitsubishi experimental fighter derived from A5M carrier fighter. Abandoned in favor of K-27

Ki-37 Nakajima experimental twin-engined fighter. Abandoned in favor of Ki-45

Ki-38 Kawasaki experimental twin-engined fighter. Developed into Ki-45

Ki-39 Mitsubishi experimental twin-engined fighter. Abandoned in favor of Ki-45

Ki-43 Nakajima Type 1 fighter Hayabusa. CADS Code Name Belle. Entered service in 1941 and quickly became most feared of Japanese fighters operating over China. Production ended in 1944 and last aircraft withdrawn from service by 1945.

Ki-44 Nakajima Type 2 fighter Shoki. CADS Code Name Claire. Entered service in 1942 as interceptor intended for defense of Japanese homeland. Later deployed in China for protection of cities occupied by Japanese forces. Production ended 1944, last aircraft withdrawn from service in 1946.

Ki-45 Kawasaki twin-engined fighter Type 1 CADS Code Name Dell. Entered service in 1941 as long-range fighter and ground attack aircraft. Progressively improved throughout war in China and remained in service until the early 1950s.

Ki-53 Nakajima twin-engined fighter to replace Ki-45. Abandoned.

Ki-60 Kawasaki experimental fighter. Abandoned in favor of Ki-61

Ki-61 Kawasaki Type 3 fighter Hien. CADS Code Name Emma. Entered service in 1943 as first Japanse monoplane fighter with a liquid-cooled engine. Unreliable powerplant restricted production. Remained in service until replaced by Ki-100.

Ki-62 Nakajima experimental fighter. Abandoned in favor of Ki-61.

Ki-63 Nakajima experimental fighter. Greatly improved version of Ki-43 but abandoned in favor of Ki-84

Ki-64 Kawasaki twin-engined experimental fighter. Very unusual design with both engines buried in fuselage. Design was abandoned in 1946 after severe engine fires due to inadequate cooling.

Ki-65 Mansyu experimental fighter. Abandoned.

Ki-73 Mitsubishi experimental fighter. Promising design but engines proved extremely unreliable and development had to be abandoned. Re-engined version became Ki-83

Ki-75 Nakajima experimental nightfighter. Abandoned due to lack of suitable radar.

Ki-83 Mitsubishi Type 6 twin-engined fighter CADS Code Name Inga. High-performance fighter first entering service in late 1945. Saw action in final years of China conflict and in border incidents with Russia and Thailand. Career was exclipsed by growing importance of jets but remained in front-line service until 1955. Numerous aircraft of this type were supplied to “New Schwabia” in the late 1950s and were destroyed when that state was liberated by Russian forces in 1959

Ki-84 Nakajima Type 4 fighter Hayate, CADS Code Name Gail.. Usually regarded as being the best of the Japanese Army’s single piston-engined fighters, the first Ki-84s entered service in 1944 as a replacement for both the Ki-43 and the Ki-44. The first examples equipped Japanese home defense squadrons with later production going to the Chinese fighter units. By 1947 the Ki-84 was the most numerous fighter in Japanese service. However, the introduction of jet fighters rendered in quickly obsolete. Ironically, its high performance doomed it, the Ki-84 required fully-equipped airfields so it was replaced by jet fighters first while lower-performance aircraft that did not require such elaborate facilities soldiered on. Ki-84s were sold to New Schwabia and were also amongst the first aircraft operated by The Caliphate.

Ki-87 Nakajima Type 6 High altitude Fighter Tengu. CADS Code Name Helle.Single-engined fighter with turbosupercharged 3,000 hp Nakajima Ha-46 engine. First Japanese fighter to have a service ceiling in excess of 40,000 feet, being capable of sustained flight at 42,000 feet. Entered service in Japanese Army home defense groups in 1946 apaprently in response to perceived threat from B-29 aircraft. When B-36 aircraft emerged, the Ki-87-II was introduced into service. This was stripped of all unnecessary weight, had its armament reduced to two 7.7mm machine guns and had the engine boosted until its life was reduced to a few hours. In this configuration, the Ki-87-II could reach 48,000 feet. The aircraft remained in service until 1953.

Ki-88 Kawasaki experimental fighter similar to P-63 Kingcobra. Abandoned.

Ki-89 Nakajima experimental jet fighter. Conversion of Ki-84 Hayate with German-supplied BMW-003 engine (developing 1,750 pounds thrust) mounted under its nose. Very similar in appearance to Yak-15. A chronically underpowered and unreliable engine meant that the aircraft was rejected for service since it was slower than the piston-engined version.

Ki-94 Tachikawa Type 6 High Altitude Fighter CADS Code Name Fran. Originally developed as a rival to the Ki-87, the emergence of the B-36 saw both types put into full production. The Ki-94 had better high altitude performance than the Ki-87 and thus saw greater production but both aircraft proved inadequate to intercept the B-36 and RB-36 aircraft. Several Ki-94s attempted such intercepts on overflying B-36s but failed and some were lost when they spun out and were unable to recover . The Ki-94 was withdrawn from service in 1954 when the arrival of the American B-60 underlined the obsolescence of the piston-engined fighters

Ki-96 Kawasaki Type 6 Heavy fighter CADS Code Name June. Twin-engined fighter intended to replace Ki-45. Production limited due to rising importance of jets but saw service in limited numbers. Exported to New Schwabia and The Caliphate in the late 1950s.

Ki-99 Mitsubishi Experimental single-engined fighter. This aircraft was essentially a jet-engined version of the Navy J2M Raiden piston-engined fighter. The Navy had no interest in the development but problems with the various proposals to build a jet-engined version of the Ki-84 caused the Army to take an interest in the Mitsubishi design. The portly fuselage of the Ki-99 proved amenable to jet engine installation and the conversion first flew in 1946. Its performance was equivalent to the Ki-84 and, with more powerful jet engines available, the type might have gone into production. However, the only available engines were the German BMW-003 (1,750 pounds thrust) and Jumo-004 (2,000 pounds thrust) and the Japanese-designed Ne-20 (1,600 pounds thrust). By the time the 2,200 pound thrust Ne-30 was available, the Ki-99 was considered dated and no further development was undertaken.

Ki-100 Kawasaki Type 4 single-engined fighter, CADS Code Name Kate. A radial-engined version of the Ki-61 fighter, the Ki-100 was the last piston-engined single-seat single-engine fighter to enter large-scale Japanese service. Lighter, faster and more manoeverable than the Ki-61 it was an instant success, being considered more reliable and easier to fly than the Ki-84. A later version, the Ki-100-II had a turbocharged engine that allowed it to reach 40,000 feet. Although not considered a high-altitude fighter and not capable of intercepting a B-36, the Ki-100-II was a good all-round performer and remained in service until 1957.

Ki-102 Kawasaki Type 4 heavy fighter. CADS Code Name Lily. Originally conceived as a lightweight version of the Ki-96, the Ki-102 proved to be a highly successful twin-engined fighter. Its combination of heavy armament, speed and agility made it a popular aircraft and it quickly replaced the Ki-96 and Ki-83 on the production lines. In 1949, a version with turbo-supercharged engines, the Ki-102-II was introduced that displaved a service ceiling of 48,500 feet. This, combined with its high-velocity 57mm gun was considered to give it an acceptable level of capability against B-36 type targets. The Ki-102-II equipped home and mainland air defense units until it was replaced by jet engined aircraft in the mid 1950s.

Ki-103 Mitsubishi Experimental Heavy Fighter. A jet-engined version of the Ki-83, the usual problems of underpowered jet engines and an airframe optimized for piston engines defeated this design proposal.

Ki-104 Tachikawa Experimental Fighter. A version of the Ki-94 powered by an Ne-20 jet engine. Extremely disappointing performance made it unacceptable as a service aircraft and the prototypes were used for the Ne-20 and Ne-30 engine development programs.

Ki-106 Tachikawa Type 7 Fighter CADS Code Name Maggie. The first successful conversion of the Ki-84 airframe to take a jet engine, the Ki-106 was a pod-and-boom design similar to the Russian Yak-15. It offered a significant advance over the Ki-84 and replaced it on the production lines. Powered by a Japanese copy of the Jumo-004, the Ki-106 was underpowered but was considered suitable as a trainer.

Ki-108 Kawasaki Experimental High Altitude Fighter. A proposed single-seat high-altitude version of the Ki-102, the Ki-108 was overtaken by a less-radical modification of the Ki-102 and was abandoned.

Ki-109 Mitsubishi Type 6 High Altitude Heavy Fighter. CADS Code Name Nell. Working on the basis that neither available fighters nor available anti-aircraft guns could reach a B-36 flying at its cruising altitude, Mitsubishi conceived the idea of carrying an anti-aircraft gun up to the point where it could fire on B-36s by mounting it in the nose of a Ki-67 bomber. The resulting aircraft was thought to have a marginal capability against the B-36 and about 100 Ki-109s were built, being Japan’s primary air defense against the B-36 until the Ki-102-II was available.

Ki-113 Nakajima Type 8 Fighter CADS Code Name Olive. A redesigned version of the Ki-106, the Ki-113 had a nosewheel undercarriage and was powered by the new Ne-30 engine delivering 2,200 pounds of thrust. It was considered to be a practical jet fighter and was placed in production, replacing the Ki-84 in Japanese Army fighter units. It remained in front-line units until the late 1950s and was still seen in second line service in the early 1960s. Fighters of this type formed The Caliphate’s first jet fighter units, several aircraft of this type being shot down by Russian MiG-21 fighters in the border incidents of 1961-62.

Ki-116 Nakajima Type 9 Fighter CADS Code Name Penny. Yet a further refinement of the Ki-113, the Ki-116 featured a redesigned canopy, thinner wings and a more powerful engine (an Ne-30 rated at 2,420 pounds thrust). It was produced alongside the Ki-113 since pilots were divided in their opinions over the merits of its higher speed which was obtained by accepting reduced manoeuverability.

Ki-117 Nakajima Experimental High Altitude Fighter. Jet-engined version of Ki-87. Abandoned in favor of Ki-116.

Ki-118 Mitsubishi Experimental Heavy Fighter. Version of Ki-112 with 75mm anti-aircraft gun in its nose. Eseentially a jet-engined version of the Ki-109. Not produced.

Ki-120 Nakajima Type 6 twin-engined fighter Kairyu. CADS Code Name Queen. A development inspired by pictures of the German Me-262 but actually a much smaller and lighter aircraft. As a result, this aircraft had similar performance to the Me-262 despite the low power of its Ne-20 jet engines. This was the first operational Japanese jet fighter and saw action over China. It suffered from being short-ranged and lightly armed, being equipped only with a pair of 20mm cannon. It was issued to units that were still flying Ki-43 aircraft and remained in service until the early 1950s.

Ki-121 Nakajima Type 7 twin engined fighter. CADS Code Name Kendra. In 1944, the Germans transferred a great amount of aircraft and jet engine technology to Japan in an attempt to persuade the Japanese to open a second front against the Russians. One such delivery included a complete Me-262 jet fighter and a number of BMW-003 and Jumo-004 engines. Other deliveries included plans for a number of advanced German aircraft projects and and the Heinkel-Hirth HeS-011 engine. The Nakajima company reverse-engineered the Me-262 for Japanese production. The aircraft entered service in 1947 and quickly replaced older jet aircraft on the production lines. This aircraft is sometimes erroneously called the Ki-262. It remained in service until the late 1950s.

Ki-122 Mitsubishi Type 7 Shusui rocket-engined fighter. CADS Code Name Rae. Part of the German technology transfusion also consisted of information on the Me-163 and Me-263 Komet rocket fighters, examples of the rocket engines and dismantled samples of the aircraft. The Japanese Navy built the Me-163 as the J8M while the Army concentrated on the Me-263 as the Ki-122. Both aircraft were extensively deployed as point defenses around Japanese cities and naval/army bases. They remained in service until the late 1950s although their ability to intercept American bombers was never more than marginal. The rocket technology was, however, applied to a number of Japanese aircraft, hybrid jet-rocket fighters becoming a significant part of the Japanese force structure in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Ki-126 Tachikawa Type 8 Single engined fighter. CADS Code Name Layla. Another German import, the Ki-126 was a Japanese-built version of the Focke-Wulf Ta-183. Despite the grossly exagerrated legends that have grown up about this aircraft, both the Ta-183 and the Ki-126 were grave disappointments in service. Underpowered due to the non-availability of the HeS-011 engine (designed for 2,860 pounds thrust, this engine proved a complete failure and - Russian, German and Japanese designers all failing to get the engine to work at all), the Ta-183/Ki-126 was slow, clumsy and extremely dangerous to fly. It suffered from spanwise drift that caused it to stall and spin in tight turns, its spinning characteristics were such that it could not recover once the spin was fully developed and it had a vicious left-wing drop that resulted in a flat spin whenever the aircraft exceeded 625 mph. Entering service in 1948, the Ki-126 had been withdrawn from use by 1950. With its demise, German influence over Japanese aircraft design ended.

Ki-129 Nakajima Experimental twin-engined fighter. An “advanced” version of the Me-262, the Ki-129 was equipped with two Ne-40 jet engines. Despite having almost twice as much power as the original Me-262, the Ki-129 showed virtually no improvement in performance. By this time, German designs were unfavorably regarded by the Japanese Army and the Ki-129 was abandoned in favor of the Ki-130.

Ki-130 Kawasaki Type 13 twin-engined fighter. CADS Code Name Sally. Although it superficially resembled the Ki-102, the Ki-130 was actually a new design that inherited little more than a casual similarity to the earlier aircraft. The Ki-130 was powered by two Ne-50 jet engines, giving it a speed of 660 miles per hour at 32,000 feet and a service ceiling of 52,500 feet. It was, therefore, a viable threat to the B-36. Early versions were armed with a 57mm cannon and two 20mm guns but later variants carried three 30mm guns and two air-to-air missiles. The Ki-130 was selected to replace the few remaining Ki-45s, the Ki-83, Ki-87, Ki-94, Ki-96, Ki-120 and the Ki-121 heavy fighters along with the Ki-51, Ki-71 and Ki-93 light bombers. As with other Japanese standardization programs in the 1950s, this took time to accomplish but was eventually achieved with the Chipanese heavy fighter force standardizing on the Ki-130 and the Ki-102 until the latter was replaced by the Ki-XXX Brandi.

Medium/Heavy Bombers

Ki-21 Mitsubishi Type 97 medium bomber CADS Code Name Dan. Primary medium bomber used by Japanese Army throughout China War. Outlasted intended replacement Ki-49 and examples still seen over China in early 1950s.

Ki-42. Mitsubishi experimental bomber intended to replace Ki-21. Abandoned.

Ki-48 Kawasaki Type 99 twin-engined medium bomber, CADS Code Name Fred. Entered service in 1941 and started to replace the Ki-32. Slow and poorly armed, the aircraft was named “Yasukuni” by its crews and was withdrawn from service by 1944.

Ki-49 Nakajima Type 100 twin-engined medium bomber Donryu. CADS Code Name Greg. Intended replacement for the Ki-21, it was faster and better armed than the older aircraft but was difficult and unpleasant to fly. It was withdrawn from service in 1945 and replaced by the Ki-67

Ki-50 Mitsubishi experimental heavy bomber. Project abandoned

Ki-58 Escort bomber version of Ki-49. Abandoned.

Ki-66 Kawasaki twin engined medium dive bomber. Intended as replacement for the Ki-48 but showed no improvement in military characteristics so was abandoned.

Ki-67 Mitsubishi Type 4 twin-engined medium bomber Hiryu. CADS Code Name Ike. Introduced into service in mid-1943 and replaced eventually all Ki-21, Ki-48 and Ki-49 aircraft in Japanese Army service. Remained in front-line service until late 1950s and a few were still in second line service in mid-1964.

Ki-68 Nakajima Type 6 four-engined Heavy Bomber Shinzan. CADS Code Name Jack. First Japanese heavy bomber. Unsuccessful due to unreliable engines and overweight airframe but produced as training aircraft. Some also used by Japanese Navy as maritime reconnaissance aircraft.

Ki-69 Mitsubishi escort bomber derivative of Ki-67. Abandoned.

Ki-74 Tachikawa Type 5 medium bomber. CADS Code Name Larry. First Japanese bomber to have pressurized crew compartment and turbocharged engines. Production rate was slow with only 16 aircraft being completed between 1944 and 1945. Speeded up during later years but production difficulties meant deployment was limited to a single group. Last examples produced 1952, withdrawn from service by 1960.

Ki-80 Nakajima Experimental escort bomber derived from Ki-49. Two built but judged to be failures and the project was abandoned.

Ki-81 Mitsubishi experimental escort bomber derived form Ki-48. Complete failure and abandoned.

Ki-82 Nakajima experimental twin-engined long-range bomber. Abandoned due to design deficiencies

Ki-85 Kawanishi four engined heavy bomber project. Abandoned

Ki-90 Mitsubishi experimental bomber. Rejected since it offered no advantages over Ki-67

Ki-91 Kawasaki Type 7 heavy bomber. CADS Code Name Moe. Successful strategic bomber design produced by Japanese Army. Designed performance was comparable with the B-29 with a speed of 360 mph, a maximum range of 6,214 miles, a service ceiling of 39,000 feet and a bombload of 8,800 pounds. In fact, these performance expectations were not met although the Ki-91 did achieve a respectable performance level. Post 1952, the Ki-91 was one of the Japanese aircraft designated as a nuclear weapons carrier although its chances of penetrating American air defenses were slender. By 1955 the Ki-91 was no longer viable as a penetrating bomber and it was progressively withdrawn from that role, most survivors being converted into airborne tankers.

Ki-101 Mitsubishi Type 8 medium bomber CADS Code Name Pete. The Ki-101 was essentially a jet-engined version of the Ki-67 Hiryu. It retained the fuselage, wings and tailwheel undercarriage of the older aircraft but was powered by two Jumo-004 engines in wing nacelles. The aircraft was seriously underpowered and was actually slower than the Ki-67 in some flight regimes but it was placed in production as a trainer and stopgap until the much-superior Ki-112 jet bomber was available.

Ki-112 Mitsubishi Type 10 medium bomber CADS Code Name Quint. The Ki-112 was an advanced development of the Ki-101 with a redesigned fuselage equipped with a nosewheel undercarriage and powered by four Ne-20 jet engines (total thrust 6,160 pounds) mounted side-by-side in wing nacelles. The Ki-112 offered a significant performance and payload advantages over the Ki-67 but lacked that aircraft’s handling advantages and reliability. The Ki-112 only saw limited service.

Ki-123 Mitsubishi Type 8 medium bomber CADS Code Name Steve. The Ki-123 was another German-based design that entered Japanese service. The Ki-123 was a version of the Arado 234A. The aircraft was considered inadequate and poorly-designed by the Japanese who found its skid undercarriage and general operational characteristics unacceptable.

Ki-125 Mitsubishi Experimental Heavy Bomber. Another German import, the Ki-125 was the Japanese version of the Ju-287, a radical design featuring forward-swept wings and six Jumo-004 engines. The prototype disintegrated on take-off and a design analysis showed that the German design had only 52 percent of the structural strength required to maintain integrity under normal flying loads. The design was abandoned in favor of Japanese developments and the fiasco gave strength to the growing disquiet in Japanese circles over the quality of German design work.

Ki-127 Mitsubishi Type 11 medium bomber CADS Code Name Uncle. The Ki-125 was the definitive development of the line that had started with the Ki-101. Powered by two Ne-50 engines developing 4,400 pounds of thrust each, the Ki-127 used a simplified version of the Ki-112 fuselage with the upper turret and waist blisters removed. The crew was reduced from eight to four and the armament restricted to single 20mm cannons in the nose and tail. The wings were essentially new and were optimized for high-speed jet flight. The bombload was still very small by current standards, being restricted to 4,400 pounds. By the time the aircraft entered service, the number of different types of aircraft in the Japanese inventory was causing increasing concern. Accordingly it was decided that the medium bomber force would standardize on the Ki-67 and Ki-127 with the latter re-equipping all the non-Ki-67 groups. This took some years to achieve but by the late 1950s had been met. A later version of the Ki-127 was equipped with more powerful Ne-55 engines delivering 6,600 pounds of thrust and was intended for the delivery of tactical nuclear weapons.

Light Bombers

Ki-29 Tachikawa experimental light bomber. Abandoned in favor of Ki-30

Ki-30 Mitsubishi Type 97 light bomber, CADS Code Name Art. Entered service 1938. Used extensively in China and by Thai Air Force against French in 1941. Withdrawn from front-line service by 1944.

Ki-31 Nakajima experimental light bomber. Abandoned in favor of Ki-30

Ki-32 Kawasaki Type 98 light bomber, CADS Code Name Bert. Entered service 1938. Preferred to Ki-30 due to greater manoeuverability and better performance but liquid-cooled engine troublesome. Withdrawn from front-line service by 1943.

Ki-47 Mitsubishi experimental light bomber intended to replace Ki-30. Abandoned

Ki-51 Mitsubishi Type 99 light bomber. CADS Code Name Harv. Replaced Ki-30 and Ki-32 in service. Tactical support aircraft widely used in China. Several aircraft of this type shot down during 1949 Mekong Border Incident. Withdrawn from service in early 1950s.

Ki-52 Nakajima light bomber. Competitor to Ki-51. Abandoned

Ki-71 Mansu Type 5 light bomber. CADS Code Name Ken. Improved derivative of Ki-51 with 20mm cannon in wings and retractable undercarriage. Entered service in 1945 and continued in use until mid-1950s. As with all Japanese Army light bombers, its ability to operate from short, unprepared strips made up for its vulnerability and low payload

Ki-93 Rikugun Type 6 light bomber. CADS code name Nick. Heavily-armored ground attack aircraft possibly inspired by American A-38 Grizzly and Australian Commonwealth Ostrich. Intended to replace light bombers suich as the Ki-51 and Ki-71 it was too large and heavy to copy their essential characteristic, an ability to operate off bases only a few minutes from the front lines. Production of the Ki-93 was limited as a result and the type quickly faded from front-line service.

Ki-98 Mansyu Type 7 Ground attack bomber CADS Code name Oscar. Experience in China had shown that the majority of casualties to light bomber units were not caused by dedicated anti-aircraft defenses but by rifle and machinegun fire from infantry. The Mansyu Ki-98 was designed to replace the earlier Ki-51 and Ki-71 light bombers, retaining their ability to operate from short strips in forward areas but featuring much improved protection for the pilot, engine and flight systems. A radical configuration was adopted witha pusher piston engine between two tail booms. The aircraft entered service in 1947 but production was slow and it did not finally replace the older aircraft until the mid-1950s. By then it was already obsolescent but it soldiered on until finally being withdrawn in the early 1960s.

Ki-115 Nakajima Type 5 Special Attacker CADS Code Name Slime. The out-of-sequence CADS codename describes this aircraft perfectly. The Ki-115 was specially designed to deliver chemical and biological weapons, being fitted with fuselage tanks and underwing spray equipment. The type was extensively used in China between 1945 and 1947 and is credited with finally bringing about the breakthrough of the Japanese armies in the China Incident.

Ki-119 Kawasaki Type 6 Attack Bomber. CADS Code Name Randy. By 1944, the Japanese were becoming aware that the majority of their aircraft compared very poorly with American design in terms of payload. Inspired by the then-new Douglas AD-1 (Adie) Skyraider, Kawasaki were instructed to build a bomb truck powered by a single large piston engine. Powered by a 2,500hp engine, the Ki-119 lifted a 4,400 pound bombload and was armed with two 20mm cannon. The addition of this type to the inventory provoked a crisis in the Japanese Army with an outcry that there were too many different aircraft entering service and that research and development was falling behind because it was spread too thin between different projects. Nevertheless, the Ki-119 went into production and served throughout the 1950s. The type was sold to New Schwabia and was used in air attacks on the bridges over the Volga during the Russian liberation of that area. Others were sold to The Caliphate and a few found their way to African and South American countries

Ki-131 Mitsubishi Type 17 Light Attack aircraft. CADS Code Name Will. By the early 1950, the Japanese Army had already come to the conclusion that its light bomber fleet was heading down a blind development ally. The old concept light bombers, exemplified by the Ki-51 and Ki-71 were too vulnerable to be used over infantry lavishly equipped with automatic weapons. The later light bombers were less vulnerable but were too complex and heavy to be deployed in frontal areas. They decided that the latter group, mostly Ki-93 and Ki-98 were essentially a waste of resources and they would best be replaced by heavy fighters. However, a need did exist for a lightweight, inexpensive aircraft for policing and internal patrol purposes. Mitsubishi offered a radical design for this requirement, powered by the new turboprop engines. The aircraft was a twin-boom design with a turboprop in each boom. The crew of two sat in a central gondola, armored against rifle fire. The aircraft was armed with four 7.7mm machineguns and could lift 3,300 pounds of bombs on five pylons. The Ki-131 was an immediate success and was built in very large numbers. It served extensively in peacekeeping and policing duties in China and was also widely exported to African and South American countries. Licensed production was also carried out in The Caliphate. The type is still in service worldwide.

Reconnaissance aircraft

Ki-35 Mitsubishi experimental army co-operation aircraft. Abandoned in favor of Ki-36

Ki-36 Tachikawa Type 98 army co-operation aircraft CADS Code Name Curly. Entered service 1939. Became valuable counter-insurgency aircraft in absence of enemy aircraft. Remained in service until 1945.

Ki-40 Mitsubishi experimental reconnaissance aircraft. Version of Ki-39, developed into Ki-46

Ki-46 Mitsubishi Type 100 reconnaissance aircraft. CADS Code Name Ed. Entered service in 1942 and proved invaluable as deep penetration reconnaissance aircraft. Continuously improved, the Ki-46 exhibited a blend qualities that proved hard to replace. The aircraft remained in production until the late 1960s and was still being reported in service over Tibet and Indochina in the early 1980s, forty years after its first flight.

Ki-70 Tachikawa twin-engined reconnaissance aircraft. Intended as replacement for Ki-46 but proved inferior in performance so was abandoned

Ki-72 Tachikawa tactical reconnaissance aircraft. Improved version of Ki-36 but not adopted for service.

Ki-95 Mitsubishi experimental reconnaissance aircraft. Version of the Ki-83 fighter proposed to replace the Ki-46. Not proceeded with due to superior overall performance of the Ki-46

Ki-124 Mitsubishi Type 9 command reconnaissance aircraft. CADS Code Name Tim. A version of Arado 234C reconnaissance aircraft. Shortage of range compared with the Ki-46 and inferior performance at extreme altitude meant that the Ki-124 never replaced the older piston-engined aircraft. Small numbers were built for tactical and operational reconnaissance. Never considered a succesful aircraft due to poor flying characteristics, unreliability and a habit of going to pieces without advance notice.

Ki-128 Mitsubishi Type 12 command reconnaissance aircraft. CADS Code Name Vick. Derivative of the Ki-127 with greatly lengthened wings for high-altitude reconnaissance. In service from 1952 and was still seen during the mid-1970s.

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