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Kawanishi H6K Mavis

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It was Japanese navy need for an aircraft which could cover the vast expanses of the Pacific that inspired Kawanishi to design the 'Mavis'. Powered by four engines, the H6K, first flown in July 1936, was one of the most reliable and efficient of the flying-boats used by Japan during World War II. It also had a very long range and an endurance of more than 24 hours, making it ideally suited to long overwater missions.

The initial production model of the 'Mavis', the H6K2, had a powered turret with a single machine-gun on top of the rear fuselage, plus manually operated guns in the nose and tail. The 10 built were delivered to the Japanese navy in 1939, but were subsequently converted for use as transports.

The main version was the H6k4, which had two blisters for machine-guns on the sides of the forward fuselage. There were 66 of this model in service at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor and during the Japanese conquests of early 1942 they were used widely both for bombing and maritime patrol.

In 1942 the H6K5 introduced 969.4-kW(1,300 hp) engines, but by this time the 'Mavis" was proving too vulnerable to Allied fighters and its H8K replacement, the fastest flying-boat of the war was already in production.

Altogether, 215 H6Ks were built before production ended in 1943. They included some 18 transports used by the Kaiyo (Ocean) division of Greater Japan Air Lines until 1945. A few survivors were used by the republican Indonesian air force during the post-war fight for independence and the civil war which followed.


Kawanishi H6K Mavis

Early introduction of Kawanishi H6K Mavis Reconnaissance for the Imperial Fleet Kawanishi H6K Mavis Kawanishi H6K Mavis with an offensive armament
In 1938, the first H6K1s entered service with the Imperial Japanese Navy after 18 months of flying and sea trials with four prototypes. The final maritime reconnaissance version was the H6K5. Fitted with more powerful Mitsubishi Kinsei 53 radial engines, this version had a turret housing a 7.7 mm (.303 cal) machine gun aft of the flight deck. In the attack role, the H6K could carry two 800 kg (1,760 lbs) torpedoes or up to 1,000 kg (2,200 lbs) of bombs attached to the wing-supporting struts.

Kawanishi H6K Mavis (Technical Specification)
Role Long-range reconnaissance, bomber or transport flying-boat
Manufacturer Kawanishi
Maximum Speed 340 kmh (211 mph)
Maximum Range 6,080 km (3,778 miles)
Ceiling 9,610 meters (31,530 feet)
Maximum Takeoff

21,545 kg (47,499 lbs)
Wing Area

40.00 meters (13 ft 3 in)
25.63 meters (84 ft 1 in)
6.27 meters (20 ft 7 in)
170.00 square meters (1,830 sq ft)
Engines Four Mitsubishi Kinsei 43 14-cylinder radial engines each providing 745.7-kW (1,000 hp)
Armament Four 7.7mm (.303 cal.) machine guns (one each in nose, dorsal and fuselage side mountings)
One 20 mm (0.79 in) cannon in tail
Two 800 kg (1,760 lbs) torpedos or 1000 kg (2,200 lbs) of bombs

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