Kyushu K11W Shiragiku (White Chrsanthemum)

The Kyushu K11W Shiragiku was a single-engined crew training aircraft that was also used as an anti-submarine warfare aircraft. Work on the aircraft began late in 1940 in response to a 15-Shi specification for a new training aircraft to replace the Mitsubishi K3M. The idea was that the aircraft could be used to train an entire bomber crew in one go, and so it needed to be able to carry a pilot, radio operator, navigator and bombardier as well as the instructor.

Kyushu responded with a single engined mid-winged monoplane. The five crewmen were carried in two cabins. The pilot and radio-operator/ rear gunner sat in a cockpit covered with a greenhouse canopy, while the remaining two trainees and the instructor sat in an internal cabin mounted under the wing. The aircraft had a very wide wingspan, half-as wide again as the length, and with a straight trailing edge and tapering leading edge.

The prototype K11W1 made its maiden flight in November 1942, and was ordered into production as the Navy Operations Trainer Shiragiku (White Chrysanthemum) Model 11. When used as a training aircraft it was armed with one rear firing flexibly mounted 7.7mm machine gun and could carry two 66lb bombs.

The K11W1 was followed by the all-wooden K11W2. This aircraft was used as a transport aircraft, and to fill the lack of suitable anti-submarine warfare aircraft. Work began on a dedicated anti-submarine warfare version, the Kyushu Q3W Nankai (South Sea), but this never progressed beyond the prototype stage.

Towards the end of the war some of the surviving K11Ws were converted into kamikaze aircraft, carrying a single 551lb bomb.

Engine: Hitachi GK2B Amakaze 21 nine-cylinder air-cooled radial engine
Power: 515hp at take-off, 480hp at 4,920ft
Crew: 5
Wing span: 49ft 1 3/4in
Length: 33ft 7 9/32in
Height: 12ft 10 21/23in
Empty Weight: 3,697lb
Loaded Weight: 5,820lb
Max Speed: 143mph at 5,580ft
Cruising Speed: 109mph at 3,280ft
Service Ceiling: 18,440ft
Range: 1,093 miles
Armament: One rear-firing 7.7mm machine gun
Bomb-load: Two 66lb bombs for training, one 551lb on kamikaze missions

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (1 September 2011), Kyushu K11W Shiragiku (White Chrsanthemum), http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_kyushu_K11W.html

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