Mitsubishi Army Type 87 Light Bomber (2MB1)

The Mitsubishi Army Type 87 Light Bomber (2MB1) was a version of the Navy Type 13 Carrier Attack Aircraft that saw service with the Japanese army early in the conflict in Manchuria.

In 1925 the Japanese army asked Mitsubishi, Nakajima and Kawasaki to design new light bombers. The Nakajima and Kawasaki designs didn't have the required performance. The Mitsubishi Experimental Washi-type Light Bomber (2MB2) was a more successful aircraft, but it was too complex and thus too expensive. All three designs were rejected.

Mitsubishi responded by producing a modified version of their own Navy Type 13 Carrier Attack Aircraft (B1M). This aircraft, which had been designed by Herbert Smith, had first flown in 1923, although the 2MB1 was based on the later Type 13-2. The 2MB1 was a three-bay biplane with a wooden structure and fabric covering. It was similar in size to the Type 13-2, with a similar empty weight but higher loaded weight. It was slower and had less endurance than the navy aircraft, but could carry a similar payload. The 2MB1 differed from the Type 13 in having no dihedral on the upper wing, carrying a crew of two instead of three and using a Hispano-Suiza engine instead of the Napier Lion used on the Type 13. The 2MB1 was slower and could carry a smaller payload that the Washi-type bomber, but it was easier and cheaper to produce.

The 2MB1 was accepted by the Japanese Army and entered service as the Army Type 87 Light Bomber. A total of 48 were built between 1926 and 1929, but production stopped after the introduction of the Kawasaki Type 88 Light Bomber and Kawasaki Type 88 Reconnaissance Aircraft.

The Army Type 87 Light Bomber was in service when fighting broke out in Manchuria. They were used in the ground attack role, supporting the army, but were soon replaced by the two Kawasaki designs.

Engine: Mitsubishi-Hispano-Suiza twelve cylinder vee water-cooled engine
Power: 450-600hp
Crew: 2
Span: 48ft 6.5in
Length: 32ft 9.5in
Height: 11ft 11in
Empty weight: 3,968lb
Loaded weight: 7,275lb
Max speed: 115mph at sea level
Climb Rate: 87mph
Service ceiling: 14,025ft
Endurance: 3 hours
Armament: Four 7.7mm machine guns - two fixed forward firing, one flexibly mounted dorsal gun and one flexibly mounted ventral gun
Bomb load: 1,102lb

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (24 August 2012), Mitsubishi Army Type 87 Light Bomber (2MB1), http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_mitsubishi_army_type_87_light_bomber.html

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