The Mitsubishi Experimental Tobi-type Reconnaissance Aircraft (2MR1) was a potentially promising aircraft that was badly damaged during an official Japanese Army test flight and never entered production.
In 1926 the Japanese Army issued a specification for a new reconnaissance aircraft, which was to replace the Salmson 2-A.2 (Type Otsu 1 Reconnaissance Aircraft in Japanese service). Four companies were asked to submit designs - Mitsubishi, Kawasaki, Ishikawajima and Nakajima.
Mitsubishi responded with the Experimental Tobi-type Reconnaissance Aircraft (2MR1), Tobi being a type of hawk. Slightly confusingly Mitsubishi's company designations were repeated for Army and Navy aircraft. There were thus two 2MR1s - the Tobi-type Reconnaissance Aircraft for the Army and the Type 10 Carrier Reconnaissance Biplane for the Navy.
The aircraft was designed by a team led by Nobushiro Nakata, overseen by Professor Baumann of Stuttgart University. They produced an odd looking sesquiplane, with a smaller lower wing and a large lower wing mounted very high above the box-like fuselage. The high mounted wing needed unusual central struts. The aircraft had a metal fuselage structure. The wing structure was of mixed wood and metal construction. The wings and most of the fuselage were fabric covered. The forward part of the fuselage used some metal and plywood in the covering.
The prototype was ready in July 1927. It reached a speed of 141mph in tests, well above the army's requirements. The prototype began a series of official army test flights, but on one of them the undercarriage failed and the aircraft suffered heavy damage. The contest was then won by the Kawasaki Type 88 Reconnaissance Aircraft.
Engine: Mitsubishi-Hispano-Suiza 12 cylinder water-cooled vee engine
Length: 31ft 4in
Height: 14ft 3.5in
Empty weight: 2,976lb
Loaded weight: 5,511lb
Max speed: 142mph at 16,404ft
Service ceiling: 27,165ft
Endurance: 6 hours
Armament: Two fixed forward firing 7.7mm machine guns and two flexibly mounted 7.7mm dorsal guns