Kawasaki Ki-48 Sokei (Lily) Light Fast Bomber / Dive Bomber Aircraft
After witnessing the usefulness of the Soviet Tupolev SB-2 bomber seires, Japanese authorities adopted the Kawasaki Ki-48 of similar form and function.
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The Kawasaki Ki-48 proved itself a serviceable twin-engine light bomber mount for the Japanese military of World War 2 (1939-1940). Having already worked on bringing the famous Ki-45 "Toryu" twin-engine heavy fighter along, Kawasaki turned its attention to an Imperial Japanese Army Air Force (IJAAF) requirement calling for a twin-engine aircraft built along the lines of a light fast bomber. The primary quality of the mount was to be speed and thusly the IJAAF looked for an airframe capable of reaching 300 miles per hour and operate at altitudes over 16,000 feet. The Kawasaki result became the Ki-48 model and was known to the Allies as "Lily".
After passing its requisite tests and evaluations, the Ki-48 was pressed into service during 1940 against Chinese forces during the Japanese expansion westward (the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945)). The aircraft succeeded the outgoing Kawasaki Ki-32 line (Allied codename of "Mary"), a single-engine, low-wing monoplane with fixed, spatted leg fairings introduced in 1938. The newer Ki-48 proved itself through its inherent speed which was overall good for the period. However, the design was limited in several respects - its bomb load was light (approximately 1,700lbs) and armor protection for the crew and critical systems alike was lacking on the whole (the latter did keep operational weights in check). Speed was its critical quality and in this way the Ki-48 did not disappoint in the early going. The light bomber role for the aircraft was later expanded to include dive bombing with appropriate modifications in place (strengthening of the fuselage, dive brakes).