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Kawasaki Ki-3

A single-engined biplane light bomber, the Ki-3 was designed by Dr Richard Vogt. Developed from the experimental KDA-6 reconnaissance biplane, the Ki-3 first flew in March 1933, going into service with the Imperial Japanese Army early in 1934. These prototypes were followed by 200 series aircraft built by Kawasaki between January 1934 and March 1935, and a further 40 machines being manufactured under licence by Tachikawa.

The first prototype had a BMW VI in-line engine with nose radiator and annular cowling, while series machines had more conventional chin radiators for their 800-hp Ha-2 engines (BMW IXs built under licence by Mitsubishi and Kawasaki). The Ki-3 carried up to 500 kg (1100 lb) of bombs on ten underwing racks. Defensive armament com-prised one fixed forward-firing synchronized 7.7-mm (0.303-in) machine-gun in the cowling and another on a Scarff-type mounting over the observer's cockpit.

The metal-structured, fabric-covered Ki-3 had a pointed spinner for its two-bladed propeller, contoured single I-type wing struts, and spatted main undercarriage wheels. It was also fitted with a tail wheel while most contemporaries had a tail skid.

Ki-3s served with the 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th Army Hiko-Daitai (air battalions) when hostilities between Japan and China were renewed in summer 1937. Heavily engaged in bombing attacks and troop support until replaced by monoplanes in 1939, they were subsequently widely employed for dropping supplies to isolated troop positions. A number were still in service at the time of the heavy air fighting between the Soviet Union and Japan at Nomonhan in summer 1939 but were used only in supporting roles.

Span: 13 m (42 ft 8 in)
Length: 10 m (32 ft 10 in)
Gross weight, 3100 kg (6830 lb)
Maximum speed: 260 km/h (162 mph)


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