Aviation of World War II

Home Russian

H6K Mavis
Flying Boat

H6K Mavis

Kawanishi H6K. (飛行艇) Mavis ("Songbird"). The all-metal long-range four-engine flying boat "97" of the Imperial Japanese Navy was developed by Kawanishi under the leadership of Shizuo Kikuhara. The first prototype of the H6K1 flying boat was manufactured by July 1936, and on July 14, Kawanishi test pilot Katsui Kondo took it into the air. Flight tests confirmed the expectations of the designers, and on July 25, 1936, the aircraft was handed over to the customer.

Structurally, the aircraft was a four-engine all-metal upper wing with a "parasol" -type wing attached to the fuselage by means of inverted V-shaped struts and struts. As a power plant, the developers chose the Nakajima Hikari 2 engines with a capacity of 840 hp. from. The H6K1's twin-run fuselage was similar in design to Short's British flying boats . Japanese designers sent to Great Britain to the aircraft building firm "Short Brothers" "took out" all the best from there and did not "reinvent the wheel" in their homeland. A characteristic feature of the new aircraft was the use of an unusually large aspect ratio and span. This made it possible to accommodate six fuel tanks in the wing with a total capacity of 7765 liters. On subsequent modifications of the H6K4, the capacity of the fuel tanks reached 13409, which made it possible to achieve an impressive range.

Power plant. As a power plant, the developers chose Nakajima Hikari 2 engines with a capacity of 840 hp, but their power was insufficient. Problems with the insufficient power of the power plant were solved by installing more powerful engines of 14-cylinder air-cooled Mitsubishi MK8D Kinsei 45 engines with a capacity of 1000 hp, rotating three-blade propellers with variable pitch with a diameter of 5.2 meters. The H6K5 Model 23 was powered by even more powerful Mitsubishi Kinsei 51 or 53 engines with 1,300 hp. s, while the power of the power plant was 5200 liters. from.

Armament H6K5. Four 7.7 mm type 92 machine guns in the nose and upper turrets and two side blisters, one 20 mm type 99 model 1 cannon in the tail turret (three 7.7 mm machine guns on front turret, top and rear turrets); 2 × 800 kg of torpedoes or up to 1000 kg of bombs.

Combat use. At first, the effectiveness of the actions of flying boats of this type as bombers was very high, but then, in the face of increased opposition from the enemy, it began to decline. Due to the lack of reservations for crew jobs and protection of fuel tanks, H6K aircraft became easy prey for Allied fighters, so they soon ceased to perform such tasks. But as a long-range reconnaissance, when the probability of meeting with enemy fighters was small, flying boats operated very successfully. In the vast expanses of the Pacific Ocean, the long flight duration of the H6K came in handy. Beginning in the second half of 1942, the Mavis began to be ousted from parts of the first line by the more advanced N8K boats. Releasing machines were transferred to perform tasks of patrolling the oceanic expanses. At least three H6K boats at the turn of 1942-1943 were equipped with search radars (first used in the Imperial Japanese Air Force).

The Allied flying boats received the code designation "Mavis" ("Songbird"). In total, in 1938-1942, 215 H6K flying boats of all modifications were produced.

H6K5 Specification
Crew 9
Length, m 25.625
Height, m 6.27
Wing span, m 40.00
Wing area, m² 170.0
4×PE Mitsubishi Kinsei 51 ore 52 4×1,300 h.p.
Weight, kg
Empty 12,380
Loaded weight 17,500
Gross weight 23,000
Maximum speed, km/h 380
Cruising speed, km/h 255
Maximum rate of climb, m/min 375
Service ceiling, m 9560
Service range, km 4870
Photo Description
Drawing Kawanishi H6K5

Drawing Kawanishi H6K5>

Kawanishi H6K in flight

Kawanishi H6K in flight

H6K Variants

  • H6K2 Model 2 (since April 1940 - H6K2 Model 11) is a pre-production batch produced in 1939 in the amount of 10 cars. The aircraft of this version were almost identical to the prototypes, the only difference was the composition and placement of the onboard equipment. Two copies (seventh and eighth) were converted into H6K2-L transport vehicles.
  • H6K2-L - transport variant based on H6K2. From 1940 to 1942, 16 aircraft were manufactured. They were designed to carry 10-18 passengers, the crew was reduced to eight people. There was no weaponry.
  • H6KЗ Model 12 - transport option. Two examples were built, which were used as transport vehicles for transporting the highest command personnel of the Imperial Japanese Navy.
  • H6K4 is the first truly mass modification, produced from 1939 to 1942. 127 built flying boats of this variant differed from their predecessors in the increased fuel supply from 7765 liters to 13409 liters and enhanced armament. The dorsal shooting tower was replaced by two side blisters with 7.7-mm Type 92 machine guns in each, one more of the same machine gun was installed in two open (nose and top) turrets, and a 20-mm cannon was placed in the tail section instead of a machine gun Type 99 Model 1. Initially, the aircraft of this modification (variant H6K4 Model 22) were equipped with Mitsubishi Kinsei 43 engines with a power of 1000 hp, in August 1941 they were replaced by improved Kinsei 46 engines of the same power. Flying boats with new engines received the designation H6K4 Model 23.
  • H6K4-L - transport variant based on H6K4. In 1942-1943, 20 aircraft were manufactured, two more were obtained as a result of alteration of standard H6K4 boats. They differed from the transport flying boats of earlier versions only in a number of small details.
  • H6K5 Model 23 - modification with engines (Mitsubishi Kinsei 51 or 53 1300 hp). Until February 1942, when the production of N8K flying boats began at the Kavanishi plant in Naruo, 36 aircraft of this variant were built. Instead of an open bow firing point, a closed rotating turret with a 7.7-mm machine gun was installed on them.


  • World War II Japan Aircraft. /O.V. Doroshkekvich /
  • Encyclopedia of Military Equipment / Aerospace Publising /