Nakajima Ki-34 / L1N1 THORA
|PASSENGER, TRANSPORT||Virtual Aircraft Museum / Japan / Nakajima|
Nakajima acquired from Douglas Aircraft in the USA licence-construction rights for the DC-2 civil transport. In 1935 a smaller twin-engine light transport, based on the configuration of the DC-2, was designed by Nakajima under the designation AT-1; this was not built, but redesign resulted in an improved AT-2 with two 433kW Nakajima Kotobuki 2-1 radial engines, and this was flown in prototype form on 12 September 1936. Extensive tests were followed by an order for 32 production AT-2s to equip Greater Japan Airlines and Manchurian Airlines, and in early 1937 the type was adopted also by the Imperial Japanese Army under the designation Army Type 97 Transport (Nakajima Ki-34). Production of these three crew/eight passenger military transports totalled 318, 19 being built by Nakajima and 299 by Tachikawa. Some of this total were transferred by the army for navy use, and were redesignated Navy Type AT-2 Transport (Nakajima L1N1). Both civil and military versions were allocated the Allied codename 'Thora', and were in use throughout the Pacific war.