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Kawanishi H6K Mavis

Japanese long-range reconnaissance flying boat


H6K Mavis

Kawanishi H6K Mavis (Navy Type 97)
Type:
Large long-range naval reconaissance Flying Boat Models 1, 11, 22, 23
History:
The Kawanishi H6K, development of which began in 1933, saw service throughout the Second World War and was one of Japan's finest long-range naval reconnaissance aircraft. The 215 H6Ks built in various versions between 1938 and 1942 were also employed on other duties, including transport and even bombing.

Kawanishi undertook the project at the request of the Navy, which wanted a four-engined monoplane flying boat superior in performance to comparable types then being manufactured in the United States. The first prototype, designed by Yoshio Hashiguchi and Shizuo Kikahura, took to the air on July 14, 1936. A little over a month later the aircraft was delivered to the Navy for operational testing. Three more pre-series models were built in 1937 and 1938. These aircraft were modified and equipped with more powerful engines and put into service under the designation H6K1. Two of these were converted into the prototypes of a transport version. In 1940 work started on production of the most important variant, the H6K4, 127 of which were built.

H6K5 flying
A flying Kawanishi H6K5 Navy Type 97 flying-boat of the Imperial Japanese Navy; its midships gun blisters are essentially similar to those of the American Catalina PBY. Note the weapon racks under the wing struts.

The H6K was an all-metal flying boat with a parasol wing supported by struts and a central pylon. Two lateral floats provided stability on the surface of the water. The aircraft was powered by four 1,000hp Mitsubishi Kinsei radials driving three-bladed, variable-pitch metal propellers. Defensive armament consisted of four machine guns - two on the sides, one forward and one aft - and a 20 mm cannon in the tail.
The bomb load was 2,205 pounds (1,000 kg), and under certain conditions the H6K could carry two 1,764-pound (800kg) torpedoes. When war broke out there were 68 H6Ks in front-line service. During the first months of the war they were used for reconnaissance and as bombers in the Dutch East Indies and in Rabaul, New Guinea.

Bombing missions soon proved too hazardous for the H6K, however. This was because the aircraft was very vulnerable, lacking self-sealing tanks and armour to protect the crew. To reduce losses, particularly in view of the Allies' growing air superiority, the H6Ks were gradually reassigned to reconnaissance duties.

The H6K4 had a range of some 3,779 miles (6,080 km) and their great endurance made these aircraft, known as 'Mavis' to the Allies, extremely useful for ocean reconnaissance.

A new version, the H6K5, entered production in 1941. A total of 36 were built, and they went into service along-side the older H6K4s. The following year, when the newer and better armoured H8K began to appear, the H6K wa withdrawn from front-line service and reassigned to transport units. About 30 were modified for this role, and 18 were used by the Dai Nippon Koku company until the end of the war, although serveral were lost in Allied air attacks.

Users: Japan (Imperial Navy)

H6K Mavis shot down
One of a classic air-combat photographic sequence showing an H6K5 being shot down by Allied aircraft over the south-west Pacific. They usually flew alone.

Kawanishi H6K4 'Mavis'
(Navy Type 97 Large Flying Boat Model 23)
Technical data and statistics:
Type
Large long-range naval reconaissance Flying Boat
Power Plant
4 Mitsubishi Kinsei 46 14-cylinder radials with 1,070 hp
Accommodation

9

Wing span

131ft 2 3/4in (40.00 m)

Length overall
84ft 1in (25.63m)
Height overall
20ft 6 3/4in (6.27m)
Wing area
1,829.86 sq.ft (170.00m²)
Weight empty (H6K2)
22,796lb (10,340kg)
Weight normal loaded (H6K1)
35,274lb (16,000kg)
Weight max loaded
47,399lb (21,545kg)
Max wing loading
?
Max power loading
?
Max level speed
211mph (340km/h)
at height
13,120ft (4,000m)
Cruising speed
?
at height
?
initial climb
?
Time (H6K5)
13 min 24 sec
to height
16,405ft (5,000m)
Service ceiling
31,530ft (9,610m)
Range
2,690 miles (4,330km)
Range with bomb load
?
Range max
3,779 miles (6,080km)
Combat radius
?
ARMAMENT

20mm Type 99 gun in tail turret

4-5 x 7.7mm Type 92 MG's in nose, dorsal and beam blisters

bomb load total 2,205lb (1,000kg) or 2 x 1,764lb (800kg) torpedoes
(transport versions no armament)
First flight
14 July 1936
First production
?
Service delivery
January 1938
(H6K4 1940, H6K5 August 1942)
Final delivery
mid-1943
Unit price
?
Total production figure
215
(127 H6K4, 36 H6K5)
Available December 1941
68 (all versions)

 

3d model of H6K Mavis
3d model of H6K Mavis

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