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  • Kawanishi H11K Soku (Blue Sky) Heavy Flying Boat / Transport Proposal

    Proposed towards the end of World War 2, the large Kawanishi H11K Soku represented what would have become one of the larger flying boat entries of the conflict - a near-complete mockup was destroyed during an Allied air raid in 1945.

     Updated: 5/23/2016; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    Being an island superpower at the time of World War 2 (1939-1945), the Empire of Japan relied heavily on the capabilities of its flying boat fleet. As the reach of the Empire grew to threaten the American West coast, the Australian mainland, and many parts of Southeast Asia, this fleet of aircraft became evermore critical to the Japanese scope of operations in the Theater.

    By this time in history, the Kawanishi concern was an established flying-boat-maker and claimed some of the more successful flying boat designs of the war - the H6K "Mavis" and the H8K "Emily" being two such examples. Before the close of the war in August of 1945, it tried its hand at what would have become the largest flying boat in Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) service - the oversized H1K "Soku" ("Blue Sky").

    Flying boats have always offered several key inherent strategic advantages during war, namely operational range and no restriction on airstrip length. Able to take-off from a water source, the aircraft type could be operated nearly anywhere that the IJN was committed to during the far-reaching conflict. For the new design, the aircraft would be of considerable size in an effort to haul as much war-making goods from Point A to Point B as possible - helping to reinforce Army positions across the Pacific and turn the tide of active battles elsewhere.

    One key restriction placed on engineers was in extensive reliance on wood for metal had become a precious commodity in wartime, resource-strapped Japan. Designers returned with a dimensionally large flying boat showcasing a high-wing monoplane form that held outrigger pontoon legs (non-retractable). The fuselage was slab-sided with a deep profile, the flight deck (notable for its range of windows for optimal viewing out-of-the-cockpit) seated atop the frontal section and ahead of the wing mainplanes. The empennage was conventional, tapered to meet the base of the single vertical fin. Horizontal planes were feature at the base of the fin itself. As with other flying boats, the aircraft was given a boat-like hull for water landings and take-offs so no complicated wheeled undercarriage was required. The crew complement numbered five and local defense was to come from 3 x 13mm Type 2 machine guns.

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    Kawanishi H11K Soku (Blue Sky) Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1946
    Type: Heavy Flying Boat / Transport Proposal
    National Origin: Imperial Japan
    Manufacturer(s): Kawanishi - Imperial Japan
    Production Total: 0

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 5
    Length: 123.69 feet (37.7 meters)
    Width: 157.38 feet (47.97 meters)
    Height: 41.17 feet (12.55 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 58,213 lb (26,405 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 100,421 lb (45,550 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 4 x Mitsubishi MK4Q "Kasei 22" (Ha-32-22) 14-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engines developing 1,850 horsepower driving four-bladed propellers.

    Maximum Speed: 292 mph (470 kph; 254 knots)
    Maximum Range: 2,485 miles (4,000 km)
    Rate-of-Climb: 855 feet-per-minute (261 m/min)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    3 x 13mm Type 2 Heavy Machine Guns (HMGs) for local defense.

    For offensive operations, internal war load of torpedoes, depth charges, and conventional drop bombs. Otherwise cargo hold for transporting vehicles, wounded, combat infantry, or comparable cargo loads.

    Global Operators / Customers

    Imperial Japan (cancelled)

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    H11K "Soku" - Base Series Designation; partial mockup was all that was had of the program.