Mitsubishi Ki-15 / C5M BABS


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Mitsubishi Ki-15 / C5M BABS

In July 1935 the Imperial Japanese Army drew up its specification for a new two-seat reconnaissance aircraft, and Mitsubishi responded with a cantilever low-wing monoplane, the Mitsubishi Ki-15. Service testing was completed without difficulty and the type was ordered into production under the official designation Army Type 97 Command Reconnaissance Plane Model 1. In May 1937, a year after the first flight, delivery of production aircraft to the army began.

Just before that, however, military observers in the west should have gained some premonition of Japan's growing capability in aircraft design when the second (civil) prototype was used to establish a new record flight time between Japan and England. The army's Ki-15-I had been received in time to make a significant impact at the beginning of the war with China, the type's high speed giving it freedom of the skies until China introduced the Soviet Polikarpov I-16. However, plans had already been made to upgrade performance of the Ki-15-I, this being achieved by installing the 671kW, smaller-diameter Mitsubishi Ha-26-I engine, its incorporation providing an opportunity to overcome what had been the major shortcoming of the type, a poor forward field of view past the large-diameter Nakajima engine. The improved version entered production for the army in September 1939 as the Ki- 15-II, but before that the Japanese navy, impressed by the performance of this aircraft, ordered 20 examples of the Ki-15-II under the official designation Navy Type 98 Reconnaissance Plane Model 1, Mitsubishi designation C5M1. The navy acquired subsequently 30 C5M2 aircraft that were generally similar except for installation of the more powerful 708kW Nakajima Sakae (prosperity) 12 engine. When production ended almost 500 of all versions had been built, the majority being in first-line service when the Pacific war started. Given the Allied codename 'Babs', the type was relegated to second-line roles in early 1943, but many survived to be used in kamikaze attacks at the war's end.

Mitsubishi Ki-15 / C5M BABS

 ENGINE1 x Army Type 99 Mod. 1, 640kW
  Take-off weight2033-2300 kg4482 - 5071 lb
  Empty weight1399 kg3084 lb
  Wingspan12.0 m39 ft 4 in
  Length8.49 m28 ft 10 in
  Height3.24 m11 ft 8 in
  Wing area20.36 m2219.15 sq ft
  Max. speed480 km/h298 mph
  Cruise speed320 km/h199 mph
  Ceiling11400 m37400 ft
  Range2400 km1491 miles
 ARMAMENT1 x 7.7mm machine-guns

Mitsubishi Ki-15 / C5M BABSA three-view drawing (752 x 975)

Henk, e-mail, 13.07.2011 11:33

It's a beauty, I am building a scale model


W.Groeneveld, e-mail, 18.05.2008 17:41

Were these C5M2's ever used from ships?,cuisers or carriers.


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