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

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Design

In December 1937 the Japanese Army asked Mitsubishi to develop a long range reconnaissance aircraft.3 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.3

The Mitsubishi Ki-46 was designed by Tomio Kubo in 1938.1,3 He also used the Aeronautical Research Institute of the University of Tokyo to help with the aerodynamics of the Ki-46.3

Prototype

The Ki-46 prototype first flew in November 1939.1,2,3 During tests it was found that the prototype meet all the Army's requirements except for speed.3 Even with this deficiency it was ordered for production.3

Production

Production ended in 1945.2

  • Mitsubishi Ki-46-I: 342
  • Mitsubishi Ki-46-II: 1,0931,2,3
    • Models first came off production line in March 19411
  • Mitsubishi Ki-46-III: 6091, 6112
    • First flew in December 1942.2
    • Ki-46-III KAI first flew in October 1944.2
    • Production: Early 19433
  • Mitsubishi KI-46-IV: 42,3
  • Total: 1,7422,3
    • Manufacturer: Mitsubishi Jukogyo K.K.3
    • Production: July 1941 - September 19453

Variants

  • Mitsubishi Ki-46-I: Prototype.1 Production.2
  • Mitsubishi Ki-46-II: Production.1 Had two stage supercharged engines.1,2 The superchargers enhanced performance at altitude.2
  • Mitsubishi Ki-46-II KAI: Radio navigation trainer.2
  • Mitsubishi Ki-46-III: New exhaust system to improve thrust.1 Direct fuel injection.1,2 Increased fuel.2,3 Forward fuselage was redesigned.2,3 Cockpit was elongated that eliminated the step in the nose.1,2
  • Mitsubishi Ki-46-III KAI: Interceptor.2 Cannon in nose.2
  • Mitsubishi Ki-46-IIIb: Ground attack.2
  • Mitsubishi Ki-46-IV: Had turbo charged Mitsubishi Ha-112 engines.2

Usage

The Ki-46 was the most important reconnaissance aircraft of the Japanese.2 It was so highly regarded that the Germans attempted to get a manufacturing licence.2

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.1,2

Fast for Long Distance

Two Ki-46-IVs flew 1,400 miles at an average speed of 438 mph in February 1945.3

Specifications

  Mitsubishi Ki-46-I Prototype1
Type  
Crew  
Engine (Type) 2: Mitsubishi Ha-26-I1
Cylinders  
Cooling  
Net HP 900 each1
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span  
Length  
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Performance  
Speed 335 mph1
529 kph1
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
Nose  
Rear cockpit  
  Mitsubishi Ki-46-I2
Type Reconnaissance2
Crew 22
Engine (Type) 2: Mitsubishi Ha-26-I2
Cylinders  
Cooling  
Net HP 900 each2
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span 48' 2.75"2
14.7 m2
Length 36' 1"2
11 m2
Height 12' 8.75"2
3.88 m2
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Performance  
Speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
Rear cockpit 1: 7.7 mm MG2
  Mitsubishi Ki-46-II1,2,3
Type Reconnaissance2,3
Crew 22,3
Engine (Type) 2: Mitsubishi Ha-1021,2,3
Cylinders Radial1, Radial 142,3
Cooling Air3
Net HP 1,050 each3, 1,080 each1,2
Propeller blades 3 each2
Dimensions  
Span 48' 2"3, 48' 2.75"2
14.7 m2
Length 36' 1"2,3
11 m2
Height 12' 8"3, 12' 8.75"2
3.88 m2
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 7,194 lb2
3,263 kg2
Loaded 11,133 lb3, 12,787 lb2
5,800 kg2
Performance  
Speed 375 mph1
604 kph1
Speed @ 19,030' /
5,800 m
375 mph2,3
603 kph2
Climb to 26,250' /
8,000 m
18 minutes2
Service ceiling 35,170'2,3
10,720 m2
Range 1,537 miles2,3
2,473 km2
Armament 1: MG3
Rear cockpit 1: 7.7 mm MG2
  Mitsubishi Ki-46-III1,2
Type Reconnaissance1,2
Crew 21,2
Engine (Type) 2: Mitsubishi Ha-112-II1,2
Cylinders Radial1, Radial 142
Cooling  
Net HP 1,500 each1,2,3
Propeller blades 3 each1
Dimensions  
Span 48' 2.25"1
14.7 m1
Length 36' 1"1
11 m1
Height 12' 8.75"1
3.88 m1
Wing area 344.44 ft2 1
32 m2 1
Weight  
Empty 8,446 lb1,2
3,831 kg1,2
Loaded 14,330 lb1,2
6,500 kg1,2
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 19,685' /
6,000 m
391 mph1,2
629 kph2, 630 kph1
Climb to 26,250' /
8,000 m
20.25 minutes1, 20.3 minutes2
Service ceiling 34,450'1,2
10,500 m1,2
Range 2,485 miles1,2
4,000 km1,2
Armament  
Nose 2: 20 mm Ho-51
  Mitsubishi Ki-46-III KAI2
Type High altitude interceptor2
Crew 22
Engine (Type)  
Cylinders  
Cooling  
Net HP  
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span 48' 2.25"2
14.7 m2
Length 37' 8.25"2
11.49 m2
Height 12' 8.75"2
3.88 m2
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Performance  
Speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
Nose 1: 37 mm2
2: 20 mm2

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
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