Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Mitsubishi Navy Type 10 Carrier Reconnaissance Aircraft

Mitsubishi 2MR1 designed by Herbert Smith

While the Type 10 Carrier Fighter was still under design, Mitsubishi received a non-competitive request from the Navy to design and build a carrier-borne reconnaissance aircraft, the first of this type to be built in Japan for the new aircraft-carrier, Hosho. Designed by Herbert Smith, the 2MR1 as the new design was designated by Mitsubishi, was to be a scaled-up two-seat version of his Type 10 Carrier-borne Fighter. The first prototype was completed on 12 January, 1922, and was flown for the first time by William Jordan from the airfield in front of the Nagoya factory. The success of this aircraft was immediately apparent and this led the Navy to officially adopt this new design as the Navy Type 10 Carrier Reconnaissance Aircraft. Production began at once in 1922 and continued until 1930, the type serving with operational units throughout this period.

Powered by a 300 hp Mitsubishi built-Hispano-Suiza eight-cylinder vee water-cooled engine, the 2MR1 was two-bay two-seat equal-span biplane of wooden construction with fabric covering. It was armed with two fixed forward-firing 7.7 mm (0.303 in) machine-guns in the engine cowling and two flexible rear-firing 7.7 mm (0.303 in) machine-guns twin-mounted for operation by the observer., and three 30 kg (66 lb) bombs.

The aircraft was produced in a number of configurations to meet certain specific needs. Of these, two basic designs evolved: the Type 10-1 (2MR1) identified those with the honeycomb radiator in front of the engine, while the Type 10-2 (2MR2) had the more pointed nose and Lamblin radiators placed in other locations. Other variations included having the pilot's seat further forward on the 2MR2 than on the 2MR1, and replacing the car-type honeycomb radiator in front of the engine with that of a Lamblin radiator beneath the fuselage. This change improved pilot visibility. The 2MR3 had an increase in tail area, and the Lamblin radiator moved further forward. The 2MR4 was the last production version of this aircraft for carrier duty. The wingtips were more rounded, and the pilot's seat was returned to the original rearward position for better communication with the rear-seat occupant.

A later version of the Type 10 Carrier Reconnaissance Aircraft built around 1928 was called the Karigane-type. This had improved performance, and the Lamblin radiators were moved from beneath the fuselage to under the wings outside the propeller arc. This model also had a taller vertical tail, but with all these refinements at this late stage of development, neither the Navy nor the Army accepted the version.

Pushing the design even further, the 2MRT1 became an intermediate trainer with dual-controls fitted to the 2MR1. The 2MRT1A was as the previous model but with the horizontal tail of the 2MR2. The change from the frontal honeycomb radiator to that of the underfuselage located Lamblin-type created the 2MRT2. The rudder and vertical fin were identical to those of the later version (from the 93rd aircraft) of the 2MR2, ie larger rudder, smaller fin. The horizontal tail remained the same as that of the 2MR2. The 2MRT2A became the trainer version of the 2MR3, except that the Lamblin radiator was relocated to beneath the lower wing and the pilot's cockpit moved rearward. The wings were no longer staggered. The 2MRT3 model had the radiator of the 2MRT2 moved beneath the lower wings, and the final version, the 2MRT3A had emergency water alighting flotation bags installed inside the rear of the fuselage. External and internal lighting was also installed for night flying.

Until the Kusho Type 93 Intermediate Trainer, (K5Y), became operational in 1933, this converted reconnaissance aircraft was the sole intermediate trainer for the Navy. Most of them were assigned to Kasumigaura Air Base for Navy pilot training. Many were eventually released for civilian use, mostly by the press for communication, liaison and other duties.

Technical Data
Manufacturer: Mitsubishi Nainenki Seizo KK (Mitsubishi Internal Combustion Engine Manufacturing Co Ltd).
Type: Single-engined Carrier reconnaissance aircraft.
Crew (2): Pilot and observer/gunner in open cockpits.
Powerplant: One 300 hp Mitusbishi-built Hispano-Suiza eight-cylinder vee water-cooled engine, driving a two-blade wooden propeller.
Armament: two fixed forward-firing 7.7 mm (0.303 in) machine-guns and twin-mounted flexible 7.7 mm (0.303 in) machine-guns in rear dorsal position. Bomb-load: three 30 kg (66 lb) bombs.
Dimensions: Span 12.039 m (39 ft 6 in); length 7.925 m (26 ft); height 2.895 m (9 ft 6 in); wing area 37.69 sq m (405.695 sq ft).
Weights: Empty 980 kg (2,160 lb); loaded 1,320 kg (2,910 lb); wing loading 35 kg/sq m (7.168 lb/sq ft); power loading 4.4 kk/hp (9.7 lb/hp).
Performance: Maximum speed 110 kt (127 mph); climb to 3,000 m (9,843 ft) in 17 min; endurance 3 1/2 hr.
Production: A total of 159 aircraft were built by Mitsubishi Nainenki Seizo KK between 1922 and 1930.

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