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Kawanishi H6K (Mavis)

Imperial Japan (1938)
Picture of Kawanishi H6K (Mavis) Maritime Reconnaissance Flying Boat Aircraft
Picture of Kawanishi H6K (Mavis) Maritime Reconnaissance Flying Boat Aircraft Picture of Kawanishi H6K (Mavis) Maritime Reconnaissance Flying Boat Aircraft

The Kawanishi H6K series was really the only viable long-range flying boat in service with the Empire of Japan when the nation went to war in 1941.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Kawanishi H6K (Mavis) Maritime Reconnaissance Flying Boat Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 5/22/2016. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

Though looking very much the part of a German-produced Dornier series flying boat, the Kawanishi brand H6K series (codenamed "Mavis" by the Allies) had more in common with Western flying boat designs if anything. Interestingly enough, when one considers the Empire of Japan as the island nation that it is, it becomes astounding to think that the H6K was really the only viable reconnaissance flying boat in service with any long-range capabilities with the Empire at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor. In practice, the H6K was a serviceable breed of flying boat with impressive endurance and adequate offensive capabilities but the type shown similar drawbacks of other aircraft models of Japanese design - namely poor armoring and no self-sealing fuel tanks.

Design-wise, the aircraft was of a sleek design. All four engines (of types that varied throughout the course of development and the war itself) were mounted high atop the wing assembly which sat on the fuselage via struts. Pontoons adorned either wing for water-based operations and the boat-like hull could clearly be distinguished. The fuselage was long and slender ending in a twin vertical tail design. Accommodations amounted to 9 personnel and positions included defensive armament consisting of 4 x 7.7mm machines found in the open bow, dorsal and two beam blister positions. A 20mm cannon turret was seated at the extreme rear of the aircraft. Offensive armament could amount to over 4,400 pounds of ordnance or 2 x 1,764 pound torpedoes for anti-shipping duty.

The H6K1 was the initial service model to enter production but this service was limited in 1938. The first major production model series became the H6K2 and that was followed by the solid addition of the H6K4 which sported 4 x Mitsubishi Kinsei 43 radial engines (later production models featured the Kinsei 46) and improved defensive armament. Dedicated transport derivatives were designated by an "L" and were spawned from the H6K2 and the H6K4 models. As these models went to war, it was found that they were highly susceptible to enemy fire and as such the H6K5 series was developed.

The H6K5 featured self-sealing fuel tanks and better armor protection for the crew and systems alike. Additionally, the open bow gun position was altogether removed in favor of a covered dorsal machine gun turret above the cockpit flight deck. Despite these improvements, the H6K was never really up to the demanding and changing tasks of the Pacific War and thusly production of this model was limited.

As the production line evolved and progressed during war time, the H6K "Mavis" also took on the codename of "Tillie" for the Allies to represent the dedicated transport derivatives of the H6K series. Some 215 total H6K's were produced by and for Kawanishi. Japan ceased operation of the type in 1945 whilst Indonesia gave up operations in 1948. The H6K was replaced in production by the more capable Kawanishi brand H8K series of flying boat, detailed elsewhere on this site.


Picture of the Kawanishi H6K (Mavis) Maritime Reconnaissance Flying Boat Aircraft
Picture of the Kawanishi H6K (Mavis) Maritime Reconnaissance Flying Boat Aircraft



Any available statistics for the Kawanishi H6K (Mavis) Maritime Reconnaissance Flying Boat Aircraft are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 300mph
Lo: 150mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (239mph).

    Graph average of 225 miles-per-hour.
Relative Operational Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Kawanishi H6K5 (Mavis)'s operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era Impact
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
215
215


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
  Compare this entry against other aircraft using our Comparison Tool  
Supported Mission Types:
Air-to-Air
Interception
Unmanned
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Training
Anti-Submarine
Anti-Ship
Airborne Early Warning
MEDEVAC
Electronic Warfare
Maritime/Navy
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Search/Rescue
Recon/Scouting
Special Forces
X-Plane/Development
National Flag Graphic
National Origin: Imperial Japan
Service Year: 1938
Classification Type: Maritime Reconnaissance Flying Boat Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Kawanishi - Imperial Japan
Production Units: 215
Global Operators:
Imperial Japan; Indonesia
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Kawanishi H6K5 (Mavis) model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
9


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
84.09 ft


Meters
25.63 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
131.23 ft


Meters
40 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
20.57 ft


Meters
6.27 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
27,293 lb


Kilograms
12,380 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
50,706 lb


Kilograms
23,000 kg

Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
4 x Mitsubishi Kinsei 53 14-cylinder air-cooled radial engines developing 1,300 horsepower each.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
239 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
385 kph


Knots
208 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
4,210 mi


Kilometers
6,775 km


Nautical Miles
3,658 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
31,496 ft


Meters
9,600 m


Miles
5.97 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
1,215 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
370 m/min

Armament - Hardpoints (2):

STANDARD:
1 x 7.7mm machine gun in bow position
1 x 7.7mm machine gun in dorsal position
1 x 7.7mm machine gun in left fuselage position
1 x 7.7mm machine gun in right fuselage position
1 x 20mm cannon in tail position

OPTIONAL:
Up to 4,409 lb (2,000 kg) of bombs OR 2 x 1,764 lb torpedoes.
Visual Armory:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Graphical image of an aircraft aerial torpedo
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Navy Type 97 Flying Boat - Initial Production Designation.
• H6K1 - Initial Production Evaluation Models; four produced; fitted with 4 x Nakajima Hikari 2 type engines.
• H6K1 (Navy Flying Boat Type 97 Model 1) - Follow-up prototype model but fitted with Mitsubishi Kinsei 43 type engines; 3 produced.
• H6K2 Model 11 - Initial Production Model; 10 produced.
• H6K2-L (Navy Transport Flying Boat Type 97) - Based on the H6K2 model but powered with Mitsubishi Kinsei 43 engines; sans armament; 16 produced.
• H6K3 Model 21 - VIP Transport Conversion Model based on the H6K2; only 2 produced.
• H6K4 Model 22 - Full-Scale Production Version; fitted with 4 x Mitsubishi Kinsei 43 radial engines of 930 horsepower; 10 produced; increased fuel capacity; revised defensive armament; capability for torpedo and bomb load out as needed.
• H6K4-L - Dedicated transport model of the H6K2-L; fitted with Mitsubishi Kinsei 46 series engines; 20 produced; seating for 18 troops.
• H6K5 Model 23 - Fitted with Mitsubishi 51 OR 53 series engines of 1,300 horsepower; open dorsal gun position replaced by enclosed turret; 36 produced.