STATUS: Retired, Out-of-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Mitsubishi - Japan
OPERATORS: Imperial Japan
LENGTH: 58.89 feet (17.95 meters)
WIDTH: 73.82 feet (22.5 meters)
HEIGHT: 19.03 feet (5.8 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 16,367 pounds (7,424 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 23,810 pounds (10,800 kilograms)
ENGINE: 2 x Mitsubishi Ha-104 radial piston engines developing 1,900 horsepower.
SPEED (MAX): 342 miles-per-hour (550 kilometers-per-hour; 297 knots)
RANGE: 1,367 miles (2,200 kilometers; 1,188 nautical miles)
CEILING: 31,070 feet (9,470 meters; 5.88 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 1,476 feet-per-minute (450 meters-per-minute)
Detailing the development and operational history of the Mitsubishi Ki-109 Heavy Fighter / Bomber-Interceptor Aircraft.
Entry last updated on 1/21/2019.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The Mitsubishi Ki-109 was a specialized derivative of the Mitsubishi Ki-67 heavy bomber detailed elsewhere on this site. The Ki-109 was designed specifically to deal with the growing threat posed by the high-attitude American Boeing B-29 Superfortress over the Japanese mainland. As such, the Ki-67 was selected for its adequate performance specs and considered for a new role as a bomber hunter.
Initially, the Ki-109 program was to utilize two Ki-109 aircraft working in conjunction with one version fitted with a searchlight and powerful radar while the other operated with a powerful large caliber weapon. This "hunter-killer" pairing was to work in unison at detecting incoming enemy threats and eliminating them in total darkness. The system, however, proved to be quite complicated and thusly only a single Ki-109 design would emerge, now as a day interceptor, though still mounting a large caliber weapon.
The Ki-109 retained many of the visual qualities of the Ki-67 heavy bomber. Among the chief changes were the lack of much defensive armament and the use of more powerful engines over her predecessor (2 x Mitsubishi Ha-104 series piston engines at 1,900 horsepower). The Ki-109 was defensed by only a single 12.7mm heavy caliber machine gun in the tail. Beyond that, her armament was all-offensive and consisted of a 75mm anti-aircraft cannon in the nose. This system was manually loaded but could be fired with the Ki-109 aircraft still well out of the range of the B-29's defensive machine gun armament.
The new Mitsubishi Ki-109 entered limited production that eventually totaled only some 24 total examples (2 were the day version prototypes). Though maintaining the maneuverability of the Ki-67, the system still proved to lack true high altitude performance that was required of the type. This was basically moot by this point in the war, however, as the American bombers were now conducting low-level nighttime operations for improved accuracy. The Ki-109 - at best - was a stop-gap design that never saw its true operational potential fulfilled. But such was the case when operating from a completely defensive standpoint as the Empire of Japan was by this point in the conflict.
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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.
Relative Maximum Speed Rating
This entry's maximum listed speed (342mph).
Graph average of 300 miles-per-hour.
Graph showcases the Mitsubishi Ki-109's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
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