Monday, March 2, 2015

Kokusai Ku-7 Manazuru

The Kokusai Ku-7 Manazuru ("White-naped Crane"; Allied code-name Buzzard) was a large experimental twin boom Japanese military glider. An enlarged version of the earlier Maeda Ku-1 glider, it was developed during 1942. The use of a twin boom design allowed for a large square cargo door, which meant that the aircraft was capable of carrying either 32 soldiers, 7600 kg of cargo or even a light tank. It required a powerful towing aircraft, either the Nakajima Ki-49 or the Mitsubishi Ki-67, which were in short supply. As a result the aircraft were modified by fitting them with engines, which were designated the Ki-105 Otori ("Phoenix"). Only nine (two?) were produced before development priorities were shifted elsewhere.

    * Ku-7: Large experimental military transport glider.
    * Ku-7-II: Original designation for the Ki-105.
    * Ki-105 Otori: Long-range fuel tanker aircraft. Powered version. Nine built.

Specifications (Ku-7)
General characteristics
    * Crew: two
    * Capacity: 32 passengers or 8000kg of supplies or a 8-ton light tank.
    * Length: 19.92 m (65 ft 4¼ in)
    * Wingspan: 35.0 m (114 ft 10 in)
    * Height: ()
    * Wing area: 100.37 m² (1080 ft²)
    * Empty weight: 3,536 kg (7,800 lb)
    * Loaded weight: 12,000 kg (26,455 lb)
    * Useful load: 7,664 kg (16,900 lb)
    * Max takeoff weight: 11,000 kg (24,250 lb)
    * Never exceed speed: 355 km/h (192 kn, 220 mph)
    * Cruise speed: 220 km/h (108 kn, 125 mph)


  1. Did this plane ever see service? it would have been an easy target for Allied fighters, so I presume it was kept well away from the front lines of the Pacific theatre.

  2. No. The Ki-105 first flew in April 1945, with nine prototypes being tested. Plans called for 300 aircraft of this type to be produced and used to carry fuel supplies from the Sumatran oilfields to Japan (despite the fact that 80% of the fuel load would have been consumed during the trip), but these plans did not see fruition before the war's end.