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Mitsubishi Ki-20

The Junkers G.38 airliner was adapted by Mitsubishi to create the Mitsubishi Ki-20, a bomber aircraft from Japan.

Mitsubishi produced a total of six planes under the license granted by Junkers.

These aircraft were known as the Army Type 92 Heavy Bomber and played a significant role throughout the 1930s.

As World War II unfolded, the Ki-20 took on various responsibilities in transportation and support operations.

During the late-1920s, Mitsubishi representatives in Germany showed keen interest in a military adaptation of the Junkers G.38, which was being developed by Junkers.

The G.38 held the distinction of being the largest landplane globally at that time.

Junkers undertook a design study for a military bomber/transport, known as the K.51, which was based on the G.38.

However, the Reichsluftfahrtministerium did not approve this design.

The K.51 design study caught the attention of Japan.

A licencing and manufacturing agreement was finalised, resulting in the completion of the initial two Ki-20s by Mitsubishi in 1932, incorporating parts manufactured by Junkers.

Following this, a prototype was successfully flown in Japan by a German test pilot in that same year.

Between 1933 and 1935, four more Ki-20s were constructed.

These subsequent models incorporated components manufactured by Mitsubishi.

The continuous development of the aircraft primarily concentrated on enhancing the engines of all the aircraft to overcome the persistent problem of being underpowered.

Numerous engine upgrades were carried out throughout the lifespan of these planes.

The original Junkers L88 engines were substituted with the more potent Jumo 204 engines, which were also produced by Mitsubishi under license.

Furthermore, Kawasaki Ha-9 engines were employed for experimental purposes.

The Ki-20s were initially designed by the Japanese for use in World War II to target the forts guarding the entrance to Manila Bay in the Philippines and for conducting deep penetration missions into Siberia.

Equipped with six gun positions and capable of carrying a 5,000 kg (11,020 lb) bomb load, these aircraft were the largest in the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service’s fleet, and their presence was shrouded in secrecy.

It was not until 1940 that they were officially unveiled and assigned the out-of-sequence Kitai number ’20’.





23.2 m (76 ft 1 in)


44 m (144 ft 4 in)


7 m (23 ft 0 in)

Wing area

294 m2 (3,160 sq ft)

Empty weight

14,912 kg (32,875 lb)

Gross weight

25,448 kg (56,103 lb)


4 × Junkers Jumo 204 (Type Ju),

6-cylinder liquid-cooled opposed-piston diesel engines,

560 kW (750 hp) each


4-bladed wooden fixed-pitch propellers


Maximum speed

200 km/h (120 mph, 110 kn)

Wing loading

86.6 kg/m2 (17.7 lb/sq ft)


0.094 kW/kg (0.057 hp/lb)



2× 7.7 mm (0.303 in) machine guns in nose

1× 20 mm (0.787 in) cannon on dorsal position

2× 7.7 mm (0.303 in) machine guns in each of two upper wing turrets

1× 7.7 mm (0.303 in) machine gun in each of one lower wing turret


Up to 5,000 kg (11,000 lb) bombs are carried externally.


Wings of the Rising Sun Uncovering the Secrets of Japanese Fighters and Bombers of World War II-Mark Chambers.
Japanese Imperial Army Navy Aircraft Color Markings-Koku Fan 42.
Japanese Code Names-Richard M Bueschel.
Japanese Aircraft-John Stroud.
Japanese Aircraft, 1910-1941-Robert Mikesh & Shorzoe Abe.
Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War-Rene Francillon.
Japanese Aircraft Interiors, 1940-1945-Robert C. Mikesh.
Japanese Aircraft Equipment 1940-45-Robert C Mikesh.

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