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General characteristics
5 peopleCrew
4.3 tEmpty weight
7.9 tTake-off weight
Flight characteristics
8 600 mCeiling
sec15.9/15.9/14.0Turn Time
128 km/hStalling speed
2 х Nakajima Ha-5Engine
airCooling system
Speed of destruction
540 km/hStructural
380 km/hGear
Defensive armament
2 х 7.7 mm Type 89 machine gun 'special'Turret
900 roundsAmmunition
700 shots/minFire rate
7.7 mm Te-1 machine gun2 х Turret
483 roundsAmmunition
950 shots/minFire rate
Suspended armament
20 х 50 kg Army Type 94 GPHE bombSetup 1
10 х 100 kg Army Type 94 GPHE bombSetup 2
4 х 250 kg Army Type 92 GPHE bombSetup 3
2 х 500 kg Army Type 92 GPHE bombSetup 4
2 900 Rp icon.pngResearch
700 Sl icon.pngPurchase
Sl icon.png610 / 767/610 / 767/200 / 251Repair
200 Sl icon.pngCrew training
1 000 Sl icon.pngExperts
20 Ge icon.pngAces
x 1.00 Rp icon.pngReward for battle
This page is about the Japanese bomber Ki-21-Ia. For the gift version, see Ki-21-I hei.


GarageImage Ki-21-Ia.jpg

The Ki-21-Ia is a rank I Japanese bomber with a battle rating of 2.0 (AB) and 1.7 (RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.49 "Weapons of Victory".

The Ki-21-Ia's role is a low-altitude medium bomber capable of destroying ground targets such as pillboxes and tanks. Although hindered by a low total bomb capacity, this aircraft is renowned for its impressive manoeuvrability. This being said, it is very easy for the Ki-21 to hover above an area and drop all of its payload rather quickly. The main targets of this bomber should be ground targets. The preferred naval targets of this plane should be destroyers and cargo ships, do not try to attack large vessels like carriers and battleships as your weak payload would not be strong enough to sink the vessel.

With light turret armament, the Ki-21 is a plane that would probably perform its role as a bomber best at higher altitudes. The different bomb layouts on the plane add a degree of versatility, with the 20 x 50 kg bombs allowing the plane to take out a lot of ground targets effectively. Though, if the plane were dragged into higher rank matches the bomb load would be pretty ineffective against ground vehicles and wouldn't be very efficient against bases. For bases, naturally the best payload option would be the 2 x 500 kg bombs. For an early-rank bomber, it does its job well and though it lumbers through the air from time to time, it is much more manoeuvrable than the other Japanese equivalent at this rank, the H6K4.

General info

Flight performance

Describe how the aircraft behaves in the air. Speed, manoeuvrability, acceleration and allowable loads - these are the most important characteristics of the vehicle.

Max Speed
(km/h at 400 m)
Max altitude
Turn time
Rate of climb
Take-off run
413 398 8 600 14.7 15.2 3.1 3.1 600
Max Speed
(km/h at 400 m)
Max altitude
Turn time
Rate of climb
Take-off run
454 432 8 600 13.6 14.0 9.8 5.9 600


Combat flaps Take-off flaps Landing flaps Air brakes Arrestor gear
Wing-break speed
Gear limit
Combat flaps
Max Static G
+ -
540 380 450 ~7 ~2
Optimal velocities
< 260 < 260 < 260 > 320
Compressor (RB/SB)
Setting 1
Optimal altitude 100% Engine power WEP Engine power
3,700 m 890 hp 1,080 hp

Survivability and armour

Examine the survivability of the aircraft. Note how vulnerable the structure is and how secure the pilot is, whether the fuel tanks are armoured, etc. Describe the armour, if there is any, and also mention the vulnerability of other critical aircraft systems.


Suspended armament

The Ki-21-Ia can be outfitted with the following ordnance:

  • 20 x 50 kg Army Type 94 GPHE bombs (1,000 kg total)
  • 10 x 100 kg Army Type 94 GPHE bombs (1,000 kg total)
  • 4 x 250 kg Army Type 92 GPHE bombs (1,000 kg total)
  • 2 x 500 kg Army Type 92 GPHE bombs (1,000 kg total)

Defensive armament

The Ki-21-Ia is defended by:

  • 2 x 7.7 mm Type 89 special army machine guns, dorsal turret (450 rpg = 900 total)
  • 1 x 7.7 mm Te-1 army machine gun, nose turret (483 rpg)
  • 1 x 7.7 mm Te-1 army machine gun, ventral turret (483 rpg)

Usage in battles

If attacked by fighters, it is important to remember and recognize the Ki-21's turning capabilities. It is actually possible to win lateral turn fights against fighters with this aircraft as she is one of the most manoeuvrable bombers if not the most manoeuvrable bomber in game. While the Ki-21's defensive firepower isn't going to deter enemies from attacking, they still can damage enemy planes.

This aircraft has the ability to hold up to 1000 kg of bombs in several different variations: 20 x 50 kg, 10 x 100 kg, 4x 250 kg, and 2 x 500 kg. Use the 20 x 50 kg or 10 x 100 kg bombs to attack light tanks and light pillboxes. They are not viable against bigger targets, since direct hits are needed to destroy. This loadout is particularly useful on maps that have an abundance of non-moving targets (light pillboxes) or lightly armoured targets (armoured cars or AA trucks for example). Use either of the 4 x 250 kg or 2 x 500 kg payload to destroy heavier targets such as medium tanks, pillboxes, destroyers, and cargo ships.

Although unconventional, this aircraft is a fantastic weapon if you want to bait the enemy. Ideally, you would want to attract a higher flying enemy down to you and to get into a turn fight. This way, depending on the enemy aircraft you can out manoeuvre and distract him while teammates fly down to finish him off.

You should avoid any plane with cannons as this plane, while it is reasonably durable, does not like to take hits from cannon rounds. The plane that should be feared the most is the LaGG-3-34 which has the 37 mm cannon with the Air targets belts, as a single round from the 37 mm cannon will either cripple the Ki-21 or destroy it immediately.

Manual Engine Control

MEC elements
Mixer Pitch Radiator Supercharger Turbocharger
Oil Water Type
Not controllable Not controllable
Not auto controlled
Auto control available
Auto control available
Separate Not controllable
1 gear
Not controllable


Tier Flight performance Survivability Weaponry
I Fuselage repair Radiator Turret 7 mm 12 in (mod30)
II Compressor Airframe New 7 mm MGs (turret)
III Wings repair Engine Turret 7 mm 14 in (mod30)
IV Engine injection Cover New 7 mm MGs (turret)
  • Being a bomber, speed is not necessarily an important attribute, however payload and defensive armament is. Upgrading the bombs allows for more target flexibility and damage potential while turret upgrades will help survivability. the turret belts and the "new turrets" upgrades are useful. The "new turrets" upgrade will allow you to fire the turrets for longer periods of time and having access to multiple ammunition belts is also helpful. The engine upgrades are also useful in that they will help you reach your target faster and will control engine temperature. Having all of the weapons upgrades will help drastically in unlocking the other modules on this aircraft. Getting the airframe module does help in survivability as it helps your plane's durability.

Pros and cons


  • Very manoeuvrable
  • Extensive bombload for a rank I Japanese bomber
  • Decent cruising speed
  • Durable, can take some hits
  • Above average defensive armament for its BR
  • Internal payload


  • Loses effectiveness with altitude
  • No armour
  • Defensive armament is still outclassed by many
  • Falls quickly when attacked by multiple foes
  • Head on attacks are usually fatal because of lack of protection for the pilots


In 1936, the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service issued a requirement for a new heavy bomber to replace two previous models. This new heavy bomber had to have a crew of four to six men, a top speed of 400 km/h (250 mph), had to be able to carry a bomb load greater than 750 kg (1,650 lb), had to be able to climb to altitude in less than 8 minutes, and had to take off in less than 300 m (980 ft). The new bomber also had to utilize Nakajima Ha-5 or Mitsubishi Ha-6 engines and had to contain specific models of radios, among many other specifications. These requirements were quite extensive and there weren't many heavy bombers in existence at the time that could perform at these standards.

Mitsubishi produced two prototypes of the Ki-21 to meet these standards. This new design proved superior to the design submitted by Kawasaki but was nearly on-par with Nakajima's submission. In early tests, Nakajima's prototype, the Ki-19 had more reliable engines and a better bombing platform, while the Ki-21 had better overall performance. In later rounds of testing, after the Army Air Service ordered modifications to be made to both prototypes, the Ki-21 came out on top and won the Army's contract for a heavy bomber.

Production began in November 1937 and the bomber began to see action in August 1938. The specific variant seen in game, the Ki-21-Ia, was used on the Chinese front during the Second Sino-Japanese War and against the Soviet Union during the Nomohan Incident. The Ki-21 would start off successfully during early World War 2, but by the end of World War 2 it was relegated to second line duties or kamikaze attacks. Overall 2,064 Mitsubishi Ki-21s of all variants were produced for the Japanese Army Air Force.


Excellent additions to the article would be video guides, screenshots from the game, and photos.

See also

Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:

  • reference to the series of the aircraft;
  • links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.

External links

Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:

  • topic on the official game forum;
  • encyclopedia page on the aircraft;
  • other literature.

Japan bombers
Flying boats  H6K4 · H8K2 · H8K3
Naval  D3A1 · B5N2 · B7A2
Dive  D4Y1 · D4Y2 · D4Y3 Ko · P1Y1 mod. 11
Light  Ki-32
Medium  Ki-21-Ia · Ki-21-I hei · G4M1 · Ki-49-I Donryu · Ki-49-IIa Donryu · Ki-49-IIb Donryu · Ki-49-IIb Donryu /Late · Ki-67-I Ko · Ki-67-I otsu
Heavy  G5N1 Shinzan · G8N1 Renzan · ▅B-17E Flying Fortress
Jet  R2Y2 Keiun-Kai V1 · R2Y2 Keiun-Kai V2 · R2Y2 Keiun-Kai V3