Mitsubishi Ka 46 Dinah at the RAF Museum

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This is the Mitsubishi Ka-46 Dinah – a twin engine, long-range reconnaissance aircraft that was operated by the Imperial Japanese Army and developed to replace the ageing Mitsubishi Ki-15. The Dinah was to have an endurance of over 6 hours and was to be fast enough to evade enemy interception. With fully-retractable gear, this aircraft is quite streamlined. First flying in 1939, the type entered service in 1941 and was retired in 1945.

The Dinah had a crew of two, who were separated by a large fuel tank. When it entered service the Dinah was faster than all other Japanese fighters such as the Nakajima Ki-43 and the A6M2 Zero.

The Dinah proved to be almost immune to Allied interception until more advanced fighters were developed such as the P51 Mustang and the P38 Lightning.

The type was initially flown in the Manchurian campaign and was also used for intelligence-gathering over the skies of northern Australia, New Guinea, Burna, Indochina and Thailand. A British pilot based in Burma reportedly shot-down a Dinah by removing his seat armour and two machine guns, to help his aircraft gain an extra few knots.

To counter the B29 Superfortress threat, towards the end of the war the Dinah was developed into a high-altitude interceptor and was fitted with two 20 mm cannons along with a 37mm cannon directed in the upward position, similar to the Schraege Musik cannons fitted to Luftwaffe night fights such as the Messerschmitt BF 110.

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