Mitsubishi Ki-2 Type 93 Twin-engine Light Bomber

The Mitsubishi Ki-2 was the most successful of a series of early Mitsubishi aircraft based on Junkers originals and was a light bomber based on the Junkers K 37.

Early in 1931 a single Junkers K 37 was donated to the Japanese army by a group of sponsors. This aircraft was tested out in Manchuria and so impressed the army that two Japanese military aircraft were developed from it. In April 1932 Mitsubishi was asked to produce a heavy bomber based on the K 37, which emerged as the Army Type 93 Heavy Bomber (Ki-1). In September 1932 Mitsubishi was asked to develop a light bomber based on the same Junkers design, to replace the Mitsubishi Type 87 and Kawasaki Type 88 Light Bombers. The new aircraft was to operate in the ground attack role, supporting the Japanese army.

The new bomber was to be easy to handle, both in the air and on the ground. Top speed was to be 160mph, it was to be powered by two 450hp Jupiter engines, fly for 4h 30mins with 1,102lb of bombs. Two prototypes were ordered, with the first to be ready by July 1933.

The Ki-2 had similar dimensions to the original K 37, with similar wings but a redesigned fuselage. Visually it resembled the Ki-1, but was significantly smaller than that heavy bomber - the wingspan was reduced by 20ft, the length by 7ft and loaded weight by 7,000lb. The Ki-2 carried 660lb of bombs normally of 1,102lb with reduced fuel, while the Ki-1 could carry 2,204lb normally or 3,306lb maximum. The Ki-2 was 20mph faster, more manoeuvrable and could operate successfully on a single engine.

The prototype was ready in May 1933. Early tests had mixed results. The Ki-2 almost reached its required speed, and handled well, but one test ended in tragedy when the aircraft stalled during landing, the fuselage broke and the crew were killed. Production aircraft were given a stronger fuselage.

The Ki-2 was accepted for production as the Army Type 93-1 Twin-engine Light Bomber (Ki-2-I). A total of 113 Ki-2-Is were built between 1933 and 1936.

They were followed by 61 Ki-2-IIs, produced in 1937 and 1938. These aircraft used a more powerful Type 94 Engine, had a retractable undercarriage, a canopy over the pilot's cockpit, smooth panels replaced some of the Junker's style corrugated panels on the wings and space was made to carry twenty 15kg bombs internally. The Ki-2-II was 19mph faster than the Ki-2-I.

The Ki-2 was the most successful of the early Mitsubishi aircraft based on Junkers designs, and was more popular with its crews than the Ki-1 heavy bomber or the Kawasaki Ki-3 biplane. The Ki-2 was used in combat early in the Sino-Japanese War, but by 1941 had been relegated to a training role.

Ki-2-I
Engines: Two Nakajima Kotobuki 9 cylinder radial engines
Power: 570hp each
Crew: 3
Wing span: 65ft 6in
Length: 41ft 4in
Height: 15ft 2.5in
Empty weight: 6,172lb
Loaded weight: 10,030lb
Maximum speed: 158mph at 9,842ft
Service ceiling: 23,000ft
Maximum range: 560 miles
Armament: two 0.303in machine guns
Bomb load: 660lb normal, 1,102lb maximum

Ki-2-II
Engines: Two Type 94 (Ha-8) nine-cylinder air cooled radials
Power: 550-750hp each
Crew: 3
Wing span: 65ft 6in
Length: 41ft 8in
Height: 15ft 2.5in
Empty weight: 6,172lb
Loaded weight: 10,361lb
Maximum speed: 176mph
Service ceiling: 23,000ft
Maximum range: 560 miles
Armament: two 0.303in machine guns
Bomb load: 660lb normal, 1,102lb maximum

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (20 July 2012), Mitsubishi Ki-2 Type 93 Twin-engine Light Bomber , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_mitsubishi_ki-2.html

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