Mitsubishi C5M

The Mitsubishi C5M was a version of the Ki-15 reconnaissance aircraft built for the Japanese Navy after the Ki-15 proved itself over China. It was structurally identical to the Ki-15, but with naval radios and cameras. An order for 20 aircraft, with the designation Navy Type 98 Reconnaissance Plane Model 1 or C5M1 was placed in 1938. These aircraft were powered by the Mitsubishi Zuisei 12, the Navy version of the Ha-26-I. This was similar to the engine used in the Army's Ki-15-II, but was slightly less powerful. This combined with the aircraft's slightly greater weight to reduce its performance slightly.

The C5M1 was followed by thirty C5M2s, ordered in 1940 as the Navy Type 98 Reconnaissance Aircraft Model 2, and powered by a 950hp Nakajima Sakae 12 fourteen-cylinder radial engine. These carried extra naval equipment, which increased their weight yet again. The C5M2 was quicker than the C5M1, but still slower than the Ki-15-II, despite having a more powerful engine.

The C5M2 was still in service when Japan entered the Second World War. Its most famous success came on 10 December 1941, when a C5M2 from the 22nd Koku Sentai spotted the British battleships HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse at sea off Malaya, starting the battle that led to the sinking of both ships. The aircraft remained in service for the next year, but its lack of armour and self-sealing fuel tanks made it increasingly vulnerable and it was withdrawn from front line service at the end of 1942.

C5M1

Engine: Mitsubishi Zuisei 12 fourteen-cylinder air-cooled radial
Power: 780hp at take-off, 875hp at 11,810ft
Crew: 2 (pilot and radio-operator/ observer/ gunner)
Wing span: 39ft 4 7/16 in
Length: 28ft 6 17/32 in
Height:  11ft 4 13/32 in
Empty Weight: 3,538lb
Loaded Weight: 4,844lb
Max Speed: 291 mph at 14,040ft
Climb to 9,845ft in 4 min 51 sec
Service Ceiling: 27,000ft
Range: 725 miles
Armament: One flexibly mounted rear-firing 7.7mm Type 92 machine-gun

C5M2

Engine: Nakajima Sakae 12 fourteen-cylinder air-cooled radial
Power: 940hp at take-off, 950hp at 13,780ft
Crew: 2 (pilot and radio-operator/ observer/ gunner)
Wing span: 39ft 4 7/16 in
Length: 28ft 6 17/32 in
Height:  11ft 4 13/32 in
Empty Weight: 3,781lb
Loaded Weight: 5,170lb
Max Speed: 303mph at 14,930ft
Climb to 9,845ft in 3 min 58 sec
Service Ceiling: 31,430ft
Range: 691 miles
Armament: One flexibly mounted rear-firing 7.7mm Type 92 machine-gun

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (12 February 2010), Mitsubishi C5M, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_mitsubishi_C5M.html

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