Kawasaki Ki-32 'Mary'

The Kawasaki Ki-32 'Mary' was a single-engined light bomber slightly superior to the contemporary Fairey Battle, and that benefited greatly from operating against limited aerial opposition over China during the second Sino-Japanese War.

The Ki-32 was one of two aircraft developed to replace the Kawasaki Ki-3, alongside the Mitsubishi Ki-30. While Mitsubishi produced a radial-engined aircraft, Kawasaki decided to use their own Ha-9-II twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled engine, a new design that would cause significant delays in the development of the Ki-32.

Kawanishi Ki-32 'Mary' in flight
Kawanishi Ki-32 'Mary' in flight

The prototype Ki-32 made its maiden flight in March 1937. It was a mid-wing cantilever monoplane, with a fixed spatted undercarriage, carrying one fixed forward firing 7.7mm machine gun and one flexible rear firing 7.7mm gun. Engine problems meant that although the Ki-32 performed better in trials than the Ki-30, it was Mitsubishi who were awarded the first production contract, and the Ki-30 entered production as the Type 97 Light Bomber.

Kawasaki didn't have to wait too long for their own production contract, and the Ki-32 entered service as the Army Type 98 Single-engined Light Bomber. A total of 846 production aircraft were built between July 1938 and May 1940, and the aircraft saw service against the Chinese during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The Ki-32 was also used during the Japanese attack on Hong Kong in December 1941, and was given the Allied code-name 'Mary', but soon after this it was withdrawn from front line service and allocated to training units.

Engine: Kawasaki Ha-9-IIb V-12 liquid cooled engine
Power: 850hp at take-off, 775hp at sea level, 950hp at 12,470ft
Crew: 2
Wing span: 49 ft 2 9/16in
Length: 38ft 2 9/32in
Height: 9ft 6 3/14in
Empty Weight: 5,179lb
Loaded Weight: 7,802lb
Max Speed: 263mph at 12,925ft
Cruising Speed: 186mph
Service Ceiling: 29,265ft
Range: 826 miles
Armament: Two 7.7mm machine guns, one fixed forward firing and one flexible rear-firing
Bomb-load: 661lb normal, 992lb maximum

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (9 March 2010), Kawasaki Ki-32 'Mary', http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_kawasaki_ki-32.html

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