Aviation of World War II

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Q1W Tokai

  • Patrol anti-submarine aircraft
  • First flight: 1943
  • Kyushu

At the initial stage of the war in the Pacific, the command of the aviation of the Japanese navy did not attach much importance to patrolling the expanses of water. It was carried out by units of the second line, equipped with obsolete equipment, mainly Mitsubishi G3M bombers withdrawn from combat units and various types of reconnaissance seaplanes. At first, this approach was justified, but over time, as the activity of enemy submarines increased, the losses of the Japanese transport fleet began to grow and soon acquired simply catastrophic proportions.

Japan is in danger of being cut off from sources of strategic raw materials. Realizing the seriousness of the situation, in 1942, Kaigun Koku Hombu developed the 17-Si requirements for a specialized patrol aircraft, the implementation of which was entrusted to Watanabe. In accordance with the specification, the new machine was supposed to have a long flight time at a relatively low cruising speed and allow the release of depth charges in a dive. Defensive armament was limited to one machine gun - it was assumed that the aircraft would operate in the depths of controlled areas, where the likelihood of meeting an enemy fighter would be small. To increase its effectiveness, it was planned to equip it with means of active detection of enemy ships, for example, magnetic anomaly detectors or search radars.

On the instructions of the 17-C, the designers of the Watanabe company, which soon changed its name to Kyushu Hikoki KK, led by engineer Nojiri, designed a twin-engine low-wing aircraft. It was characterized by good visibility due to the use of a spacious cabin shifted forward with a large glass area, in which the jobs of all three crew members were located - modeled on the German Junkers Ju 88 A-4 bomber, purchased by the Japanese fleet in one copy. The all-metal construction of the aircraft was distinguished by simplicity, manufacturability and, as a result, low cost. The economical 9-cylinder air-cooled Hitachi Amakaze 31 engines with a capacity of 610 hp were chosen as the power plant. With. The aircraft was supposed to be equipped with a new compact high-frequency radar, but its unavailability forced the installation of a rather primitive and bulky Type 3 radar, supplemented by a magnetic detector located in the rear of the fuselage. The standard armament included one 7.7 mm machine gun, in the future it was supposed to mount one or two 20 mm Type 99 Model 2 guns in the bow, but in practice this was never carried out. The bomb load consisted of two depth charges weighing 250 kg each.

The assembly of the first prototype, designated Q1W1, was completed in December 1943. Flight tests began immediately, which were quite successful. The new aircraft was easy to fly, and its performance generally met the requirements of the 17-Ci specification. It was sent to mass production under the designation "Tokay Patrol Plane (East Sea) Model 11" (Q1W1 Tokay Model 11). Starting in the spring of 1944, Q1W1s began to enter combat units. They operated from bases located on the Japanese Islands, Taiwan and China and were used mainly to cover sea convoys transporting oil and other raw materials from the Dutch East Indies and the Malay Peninsula.

Until the end of the war, 153 Q1Ws were produced, a small number of which were made in the Q1W1a (with an additional 20-mm cannon) and Q1W2 (with a wooden tail). In addition, one all-wooden Q1W1-K Tokai Ren was built, it was planned to be used to train radio operators.

The combat effectiveness of "Tokaev" was very limited. Imperfect airborne equipment did not allow for serious success, and weak armament and low speed made the Q1W an easy prey for enemy fighters, especially in the second half of 1944, when the activity of American naval aviation over the western regions of the Pacific Ocean increased significantly and Q1W patrols found themselves in the combat zone . They received the code designation "Lorna" from the Allies.

Construction. 9-cylinder air-cooled Hitachi GK2C Amakase-31 engine with a capacity of 610 hp. drove a three-bladed variable-pitch propeller with a diameter of 2.5 m. The Q1W triple cabin had a large glass area and was designed on the model of the German Junkers Ju 88 A-4 bomber.

The narrow all-metal fuselage of the Q1W, like the cockpit, was designed on the basis of the Yu-88 A-4, but at the same time it was extremely simplified - to facilitate the production process.

The all-metal low-lying wing consisted of a rectangular center section, under which two depth charges weighing 250 kg were suspended, and two trapezoidal consoles with rounded tips.

Q1W1 Specification
Crew 3
Length, m 12.09
Height, m 4,10
Размах крыла, м 16.00
Wing areaа, m² 38.20
2 × PE Hitachi GK2C Amakase - 31, power hp 2 × 610
Weights, kg
Empty weight 3,102
Loaded weight 4,800
Gross weight 5,318
Maximum speed, km/h 320
Cruise speed, km/h 240
Maximum rate of climb, m/min 230
Service ceiling, m 4,490
Service range, km 1,340

Armament. One 7.7 mm Type 92 machine gun or one 20 mm Type 99-1 cannon (on the Q1W1a version). 500 kg of bombs or depth charges.

Photo Description
Drawing Q1W1

Drawing Q1W1 Tokai


  • "Encyclopedia of military engineering " /Aerospace Publising/
  • "Japan Warplanes of World War II" /Oleg Doroshkevich/