Air Weapons

Kawanishi

H6K 'Mavis'

The importance of maritime patrol was never underestimated by the Japanese, and one of the two long-range flying-boats available when the war began was the Kawanishi H6K 'Mavis'. With its superior range and incredible endurance of 26 hours, the H6K was widely employed for maritime reconnaissance as well as a long-range bomber where it was quite successful during the opening phase of the war. However, it suffered from underpowered engines and poor defensive armament which made it quite vulnerable to Allied fighters which grew ever more numerous as the war progressed. It was eventually employed mostly in secondary roles such as for transport and communications duties (some in civil guise with Japan Air Lines) where its range was more than adequate for the long distances of the Pacific. It was eventually replaced by the considerably superior H8K 'Emily' after 1943.

The prototype H6K1 made its maiden flight on 14 July 1936 and entered production as the H6K2 in 1938 with more powerful engines. The main production variant was the H6K4 which featured additional fuel capacity and defensive armament, this was increased even more in the final and definitive H6K5 variant. Additional models were also developed, these included the H6K3 armed VIP and staff transport and various unarmed passenger transports known as the H6K2-L and H6K4-L which were based on the similarly designated reconnaissance versions.

Preceded by:

None

Succeeded by:

None

Datafile

DesignH6K4H6K5
Code NameMavisMavis
TypeMaritime PatrolMaritime Patrol
Year19391940
Crew99
Dimensions
Length25.63 m25.63 m
Height6.27 m6.27 m
Wing Span40.00 m40.00 m
Wing Area170 m²170 m²
Weight
Empty11,707 kg12,380 kg
Maximum21,500 kg23,000 kg
Wing Loading126.5 kg/m²135.3 kg/m²
Performance
Speed340 km/h385 km/h
Ceiling9,560 m9,610 m
Range6,080 km6,775 km
Powerplant
Engine4 x Kinsei 46
Mitsubishi
798 kW
4 x Kinsei 51/53
Mitsubishi
969 kW
Thrust/Weight0.330.38
Armament
Guns1 x 20-mm
4 x 7.7-mm
1 x 20-mm
4 x 7.7-mm
Payload1,000 kg1,000 kg
Production
Built12736
Total217