Kawasaki Ki-48 Type 99 “Lily”

Inspired by their experience meeting the Soviet Tupolev SB-2 high-speed bomber over China, the Japanese Army issued a request in 1937 for a new twin-engined light bomber with equivalent performance. Kawasaki, who were at that time also designing the Ki-45 twin-engined fighter, put forward a design that was designated the Kawasaki Ki-48.

Although the initial designs met the speed requirements, it could only do so with a small bomb load of just 800kg and limited defensive armament. The engines were too weak to allow for greater capacity, although later models attempted to remedy this. The Ki-48 was also used as a dive-bomber, a role in which it was reasonably successful.

The Ki-48 began to enter service with light bomber sentai in China through 1940. Ki-48s gradually replaced Mitsubishi Ki-30s and Kawasaki’s own Ki-32, and made up the majority of Army light bombers by the time the Pacific War broke out in December 1941. They were particularly prevalent during the attacks on Malaya and Burma, striking British airfields as the Japanese advance took them into Singapore and on to the Indian border. Light bomber sentai were also posted to New Guinea as the Army began to exert more of an influence in the Southwest Pacific.

Later in the war the Ki-48 was clearly outclassed by Allied fighters, and required extensive fighter escort in order to be able to survive. Many were expended as kamikazes as the British and American fleets closed in on Japan.

In 1942 the Ki-48 was assigned the Allied reporting name “Lily”.

Kawasaki Ki-48 Type 99 Specifications

Kawasaki Ki-48-Ia Sokei
RoleTwin Engined Light Bomber
Powerplant2x Nakajima Ha-25 (1,000hp)
Speed217mph (cruise)
298mph (max)
Range1,230 miles (internal)
Armament3x Type 97 7.7mm Machine Gun
Ordnance1,764lb bombs
Dimensions41ft 4in (length)
57ft 3in (wingspan)
12ft 5in (height)
Wing Area431 sq.ft.
Weight8,929lb (empty)
13,007lb (gross)
Number produced557
Kawasaki Ki-48-IIa Sokei
RoleTwin Engined Light Bomber
Powerplant2x Nakajima Sakae 31 (1,210hp)
Speed314mph (max)
Range1,491 miles (internal)
Armament3x Type 89 7.7mm Machine gun
Ordnance1,764lb bombs
Dimensions41ft 9in (length)
57ft 3in (wingspan)
12ft 5in (height)
Wing Area431 sq.ft.
Weight10,031lb (empty)
14,350lb (gross)
14,881lb (max)
Number produced1,408

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