Ki-49 file photo [4013]

Ki-49 Donryu

ManufacturerNakajima Aircraft Company
Primary RoleMedium Bomber
Maiden Flight1 August 1939


ww2dbaseThe Ki-49 Donryu ("Dragon Swallower") bombers were all-metal aircraft produced to replace the Japanese Army's Ki-21 bombers. After three prototype designs, production began in Mar 1941 with designation of Army Type 100 Heavy Bomber Model 1. The first WW2 combat missions they saw were in China beginning in autumn 1941. After the start of the Pacific War, they were also used in the South Pacific; they were seen over New Guinea throughout the campaign there and over Darwin, Australia on 18 Feb 1942. By spring 1942, however, it was apparently that the Ki-49 bombers were underpowered, therefore vulnerable to Allied fighters interception. Upgraded versions with more powerful engines, improved armor, and self-sealing fuel tanks were produced, but losses continued to mount. As a result, they were slowly relegated to non-combat roles as the war progressed. Near the end of the war, some of them were converted for special attack missions. Production ceased in Dec 1944, but they continued to serve until the end of the war. Between 1941 and 1944, 819 were built.

ww2dbaseThe Allied code name for Ki-49 bombers was "Helen".

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Jun 2007


MachineryTwo Nakajima Ha-109 14-cylinder radial piston engines rated at 1,500hp each
Armament1x20mm cannon, 5x7.7mm machine guns, 1,000kg of bombs
Span20.42 m
Length16.50 m
Height4.25 m
Wing Area69.05 m²
Weight, Empty6,530 kg
Weight, Maximum11,400 kg
Speed, Maximum492 km/h
Speed, Cruising350 km/h
Service Ceiling9,300 m
Range, Normal2,950 km


Ki-49 bomber of the flight school at Hamamatsu Airfield, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan in flight, circa 1940sKi-49 bomber resting at an airfield, date unknownTwo Ki-49 bombers in flight, date unknownJapanese Nakajima Ki-49 ‘Helen’ bomber at Pitoe, Morotai with staff of Japanese Lt General Fusataro Teshima from Pinrang, Celebes (now Sulawesi) to surrender the Japanese Second Army to General Thomas Blamey, 9 Sep 1945

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Ki-49 Donryu Medium Bomber Photo Gallery
Ki-49 bomber of the flight school at Hamamatsu Airfield, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan in flight, circa 1940s
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