I Ki

Mitsubishi Ki-46

The Mitsubishi Ki-46 was a twin-engined reconnaissance plane used by the Japanese Imperial Army in World War II. Its Army designation was "Type 100 Command Reconnaissance Aircraft" (百式司令部偵察機); the Allied code name was "Dinah". This aircraft was first used by the Japanese Army in Manchuria and China, where seven units were equipped with it, and also at times by the Japanese Imperial Navy in certain reconnaissance missions over the north coasts of Australia and New Guinea. Mitsubishi factories made a total of 1,742 examples of all versions (types I-IV) during 1941-44.

The Japanese Army used this aircraft for the same type of missions (which were not authorized) over present-day Malaysia, during the months before the Pacific War. Later it was used over Burma, Indochina and Thailand; and in operations over the Indian Ocean area too.

In 1944-45, during the last days of the war, it was modified as a high altitude interceptor, with two 20 mm cannons in the nose and one 37 mm cannon in an "upwards-and-forwards" position, almost like the Luftwaffe's Schrage Musik night fighter cannon emplacements, for fighting against the USAAF B-29 over the metropolitan Japanese islands. It lacked stability for sustained shooting of the 37 mm weapon, was weak in its armour, and slow to climb.

The Ki-46 was also assigned to two whole Sentai (wings/groups), as well as individual Chutaicho (junior operational commanders) in the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service, during the Pacific War.

The United States captured some examples during conflict for evaluations.


The only known survivor is a Ki-46-II Army Type 100 example, currently on display at RAF Cosford


Ki-46: Prototype.Ki-46 I Type 100: Reconnaissance version of the Army Type 100 (Mark I).Ki-46 II (Mark 2):- The first operational model of the series.Ki-46 II KAI: Three-seat training version of the Army Type 100. Used for radio and navigation training, with a redesigned cabin, dorsal echeloned extension. Conversions of the Ki-46 II.Ki-46 III: Prototype.Ki-46 III: Reconnaissance version of Army Type 100 (Mark 3).Ki-46 III: Defense interceptor fighter version of the Army Type 100. Equipped with two 20 mm cannons, in the nose and one 37 mm cannon in the "Schräge Musik"-style dorsal frontal position.Ki-46 III: Land strike version of the Army Type 100, without 37 mm cannon IIIb: Ground-attack version.Ki-46 IIIc: Only an unbuilt project.Ki-46 IV: Prototype, equipped with two 1119 kW (1,500-hp) Mitsubishi Ha-112-II RU engines, with a turbocompressor of 1,100 hp, and more gasoline store capacity.Ki-46 IVa/b: Series models of reconnaissance/fighter aircraft, only unbuilt projects


: 2 captured Ki-46s in communist Chinese hands served as ground attacker and trainer respectively and the last Ki-46 retired in early 1950s.

Specifications (Ki-46-II)




  • Francillon, Réne J. Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War. London: Putnam & Company Ltd., 1970 (2nd edition 1979). ISBN 0-370-30251-6.
  • Green, William. Warplanes of the Second World War, Volume Three: Fighters. London: Macdonald & Co.(Publishers) Ltd., 1961. ISBN 0-356-1447-9.

External links

  • Vectorsite article

See also

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