Mitsubishi Ki-15 Karigane

The Mitsubishi Ki-15 Karigane, Army Type 97 Command Reconnaissance was a Japanese reconnaissance aircraft and a light attack bomber of the Second Sino-Japanese War and Pacific War.

It was a single-engine, low-wing, cantilever monoplane with a fixed tailwheel undercarriage; it carried a crew of two.

The Ki-15 was designed by the Mitsubishi corporation to meet an Imperial Japanese Army Air Force requirement of 1935 for a two-seat, high-speed reconnaissance aircraft.

The resulting aircraft was a low-wing cantilever monoplane with a fixed, spatted undercarriage, similar to other all-metal stressed-skin monoplanes developed elsewhere in 1930s, such as the Heinkel He 70 and the Northrop Alpha.

Power was by a single Nakajima Ha-8 radial engine, giving 560 kW (750 hp) at 4,000 m (13,120 ft).

The first prototype flew in May 1936, with testing proving successful, the aircraft meeting all performance requirements, reaching a speed of 481 km/h (299 mph) and showing good handling characteristics.

Service testing was completed without difficulty and the type was ordered into production under the official designation Army Type 97 Command Reconnaissance Aircraft Model 1.

In May 1937, a year after the first flight, delivery of the first of 437-production aircraft to the army began.


Karigane I

Prototype version for civilian use


Initial production variant for the Japanese Army, with Nakajima Ha-8 (Army Type 94) 640 hp at take-off, 900 hp at 11,810 ft (3,600 m)


Improved Army production version with smaller, more powerful engine 14-cylinder Mitsubishi Ha-25-I, with 850 hp at take-off, 900 hp at 11,810 ft.


Proposed upgraded version, did not enter production version.

It had the Mitsubishi Ha-102 engine (1,080 hp at take-off, 1,055 hp at 9,185 ft and 950 hp at 19,030 ft), with a top speed of 329 mph (530 km/h).


(Navy Type 98 Reconnaissance Aircraft Model I)

Improved version of Ki-15-I for the Japanese Navy


(Navy Type 98 Reconnaissance Aircraft Model 2)

Upgraded version of C5M1 with more powerful engine for the Japanese Navy





8.7 m (28 ft 7 in)


12 m (39 ft 4 in)


3.35 m (11 ft 0 in)

Wing area

20.36 m2 (219.2 sq ft)

Empty weight

1,400 kg (3,086 lb)

Gross weight

2,033 kg (4,482 lb)

Max take-off weight

2,300 kg (5,071 lb)


1 × Nakajima Ha8,

9-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine,

477 kW (640 hp)


2-bladed variable-pitch propeller


Maximum speed

480 km/h (300 mph, 260 kn) at 4,000 m (13,123 ft)

Cruise speed

320 km/h (200 mph, 170 kn) at 5,000 m (16,404 ft)


2,400 km (1,500 mi, 1,300 nmi)

Service ceiling

11,400 m (37,400 ft)

Time to altitude

5,000 m (16,404 ft) in 8 minutes 27 seconds



1 x 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Type 89 machine gun, flexible mounting


250 kg (551 lb) of bombs.



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