The Mitsubishi Army Type 92 Reconnaissance Aircraft (2MR8) was a parasol wing aircraft that became the first Japanese military aircraft to use an engine entirely designed and built in Japan.
The 2MR8 was one of two short-range reconnaissance aircraft designed by Mitsubishi in 1929-30. The 2MR7 was a biplane designed by a team led by Joji Hattori and that wasn't accepted for production.
The 2MR8 was a parasol wing aircraft, with the wing carried just above the fuselage. It was designed by a team led by Henri Vernisse, a French engineer. The aircraft had a metal structure, fabric covered in most areas, but with a metal cover over the forward part of the fuselage. The aircraft had a fixed undercarriage, and open cockpits.
The prototype was powered by a 320hp Mitsubishi A2 engine and made its maiden flight on 28 March 1931. The first two prototypes were then used for structural testing and the lessons from those tests used on the third prototype, which was shorter, had smaller wings and used a 345hp A2 kai 3 engine.
This prototype had a top speed of 120mph, lower than the 133mph requested by the Japanese Army. It did satisfy their manoeuvrability requirements, and a fourth prototype with a 400hp Mitsubishi A5 engine reached 136mph. This version of the aircraft was accepted for production as the Army Type 92 Reconnaissance Aircraft.
The 2MR8 was used by the air battalions of the Kanto Command Air Corps during the fighting in Manchuria in 1933-36. It was used as a short-range reconnaissance aircraft acting in direct support of ground troops, operating closer to the front line than the Kawasaki Type 88 Reconnaissance Aircraft, which was designed to operate over longer distances.
Engine: Type 92 (Mitsubishi A5) nine cylinder air-cooled radial engine
Span: 41ft 10in
Length: 27ft 11.25in
Height: 11ft 5in
Empty weight: 2,336lb
Loaded weight: 3,902lb
Max speed: 137mph
Service ceiling: 18,700ft
Endurance: 4-5 hours
Armament: Fixed forward firing .303in gun and one or two flexibly mounted .303in guns in observer's position
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