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Mitsubishi Ki-67 Hiryu (飛龍 Flying Dragon)

21 October 2013

Mitsubishi Ki-67 Hiryu (飛龍 Flying Dragon)

Mitsubishi Ki-67 Hiryu (飛龍 Flying Dragon / Allied reporting name "Peggy") — San Diego Air & Space Museum archive photo

Mitsubishi Ki-67 Hiryu (飛龍 Flying Dragon / Allied reporting name “Peggy”) — San Diego Air & Space Museum archive photo

The Ki-67 Hiryu (飛龍 Flying Dragon / Allied reporting name “Peggy”) was a highly capable aircraft design inspired by the lessons Japan had learned during their Manchurian campaign, the opening act of World War II. The campaign did not go quickly and soon became a quagmire which threatened a war against Japan’s historical enemy, Russia. Mitsubishi responded to a request from the Japanese military to produce this fast twin engine heavy bomber in late 1942. By U.S. standards the bomb load of 1070kg (2360 pounds) would have the Hiryu fall into the medium bomber class, but what a medium bomber! Hiryus could outpace all medium bombers of World War II but the de Havilland Mosquito and, like the Mosquito, could dive quickly and turn as smartly as a fighter.

Mitsubishi Ki-67 Hiryu (飛龍 Flying Dragon / Allied reporting name "Peggy") — San Diego Air & Space Museum archive photo

Mitsubishi Ki-67 Hiryu (飛龍 Flying Dragon / Allied reporting name “Peggy”) — San Diego Air & Space Museum archive photo

Japan foresaw Hiryu’s striking deeply into Russian territory so the aircraft was designed, uncommonly for Japan, with armor as well as self-sealing fuel tanks — defensive armament was impressive with a 20mm cannon in the dorsal turret, a pair of 12.7mm (0.50 inch) machine guns in the rear position with a single 12.7mm (0.50 inch) machine gun each in the nose and waist positions.

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Mitsubishi Ki-67 Hiryu (飛龍 Flying Dragon / Allied reporting name “Peggy”) — San Diego Air & Space Museum archive photo

Sadly, none have survived to be exhibited in museums though over 700 were manufactured.

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