From War Thunder Wiki
Revision as of 08:42, 26 April 2024 by 島風 (talk | contribs) (Description)

(diff) ← Older revision | Approved revision (diff) | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search
Rank VI | Premium | Golden Eagles
Chinese A-5C Pack
This page is about the Japanese bomber Ki-21-Ia. For the gift version, see Ki-21-I hei.
GarageImage Ki-21-Ia.jpg
ArtImage Ki-21-Ia.png
Research:4 000 Specs-Card-Exp.png
Purchase:2 100 Specs-Card-Lion.png
Show in game


The Ki-21, designated as the Type 97 Heavy Bomber (九七式重爆撃機), represented a significant advancement in the Japanese Army's aerial capabilities, introducing a new strategic doctrine. Preceding licensed and modified bomber models, such as the Ki-1, Ki-2, Ki-20, and B.R.20, suffered sluggish speed and inadequate armament, rendering them vulnerable to interception. In contrast, the Ki-21 was conceived as a high-speed, long-range twin-engine bomber, prioritizing speed and range over armour and payload. The aim was to strike enemy airfields preemptively, before they could deploy their fighter aircraft, and to evade interception by outpacing enemy fighters. Additionally, the Ki-21 boasted self-defence armament to fend off attacks from various angles with its array of machine guns. The Ki-21-Ia emerged as the first production variant of the Ki-21 series. While initially proving more effective than its predecessors, its effectiveness waned as aerial warfare evolved throughout the war.

Introduced in Update 1.49 "Weapons of Victory", the Ki-21-I ko is a versatile low-altitude medium bomber renowned for its impressive manoeuvrability for a bomber, although hindered by a low total bomb capacity, it excels in targeting ground targets such as pillboxes and tanks, with preferred naval targets being destroyers and cargo ships, while its light turret armament suggests optimal performance at higher altitudes, its different bomb layouts offer versatility, with 20 x 50 kg bombs effective against multiple ground targets and 2 x 500 kg bombs recommended for bases, making it a competent early-rank bomber despite its low total bomb tonnage.

  • IJA Pilot abbreviation:
    • Kyu-Nana Shiki Jū Baku (九七式重爆, Type 97 Heavy Bomb)
    • Kyu-Nana Jū Baku (九七重爆, 97 Heavy Bomb)
    • Kyu-Nana Jū (九七重, 97 Heavy)
  • Allied reporting name:
    • Jane - Objected by Gen. Douglas MacArthur (same name as his wife)
    • Sally
    • Gwen - Ki-21-IIb misreported as separate model

General info

Flight performance

Max speed
at 400 m432 km/h
Turn time14 s
Max altitude8 600 m
Engine2 х Nakajima Ha-5
Cooling systemAir
Take-off weight8 t
Characteristics Max Speed
(km/h at 400 m)
Max altitude
Turn time
Rate of climb
Take-off run
Stock 412 399 8600 14.7 15.3 3.1 3.1 600
Upgraded 453 432 13.6 14.0 9.8 5.9


Combat flaps Take-off flaps Landing flaps Air brakes Arrestor gear
Wings (km/h) Gear (km/h) Flaps (km/h) Max Static G
Combat Take-off Landing + -
540 380 428 399 250 ~7 ~2
Optimal velocities (km/h)
Ailerons Rudder Elevators Radiator
< 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

Crew5 people
Speed of destruction
Structural540 km/h
Gear380 km/h
  • No armour
  • Self-sealing fuel tanks (2 in each wing, 2 in the mid-fuselage)

Modifications and economy

Repair costBasic → Reference
AB239 → 301 Sl icon.png
RB340 → 428 Sl icon.png
SB482 → 607 Sl icon.png
Total cost of modifications4 430 Rp icon.png
2 690 Sl icon.png
Talisman cost300 Ge icon.png
Crew training600 Sl icon.png
Experts2 100 Sl icon.png
Aces45 Ge icon.png
Research Aces110 000 Rp icon.png
Reward for battleAB / RB / SB
20 / 40 / 80 % Sl icon.png
100 / 100 / 100 % Rp icon.png
Flight performance Survivability Weaponry
Mods aerodinamic fuse.png
Fuselage repair
220 Rp icon.png
135 Sl icon.png
45 Ge icon.png
Mods radiator.png
220 Rp icon.png
135 Sl icon.png
45 Ge icon.png
Mods compressor.png
330 Rp icon.png
200 Sl icon.png
70 Ge icon.png
Mods aerodinamic wing.png
Wings repair
280 Rp icon.png
170 Sl icon.png
60 Ge icon.png
Mods new engine.png
280 Rp icon.png
170 Sl icon.png
60 Ge icon.png
Mods metanol.png
Engine injection
480 Rp icon.png
290 Sl icon.png
100 Ge icon.png
Mods armor frame.png
330 Rp icon.png
200 Sl icon.png
70 Ge icon.png
Mods armor cover.png
480 Rp icon.png
290 Sl icon.png
100 Ge icon.png
Mods ammo.png
220 Rp icon.png
135 Sl icon.png
45 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 0.png
Mods pilon bomb.png
12 in (mod30)
220 Rp icon.png
135 Sl icon.png
45 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 1.png
Mods turret gun.png
330 Rp icon.png
200 Sl icon.png
70 Ge icon.png
Mods ammo.png
280 Rp icon.png
170 Sl icon.png
60 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 0.png
Mods pilon bomb.png
14 in (mod30)
280 Rp icon.png
170 Sl icon.png
60 Ge icon.png
Mods turret gun.png
480 Rp icon.png
290 Sl icon.png
100 Ge icon.png

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.


Suspended armament

List of setups (4)
Setup 120 x 50 kg Army Type 94 GPHE bomb
Setup 210 x 100 kg Army Type 94 GPHE bomb
Setup 34 x 250 kg Army Type 92 GPHE bomb
Setup 42 x 500 kg Army Type 92 GPHE bomb

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

2 х Turret7.7 mm Te-1 machine gun
Ammunition483 rounds
Fire rate950 shots/min
Turret2 x 7.7 mm Type 89 machine gun 'special'
Ammunition900 rounds
Fire rate700 shots/min

The Ki-21-Ia is defended by:

  • 2 x 7.7 mm Type 89 'special' machine guns, dorsal turret (450 rpg = 900 total)
  • 1 x 7.7 mm Te-1 machine gun, nose turret (483 rpg)
  • 1 x 7.7 mm Te-1 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 1,000 kg of bombs in several different variations: 20 x 50 kg, 10 x 100 kg, 4 x 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 Controllable
Not auto controlled
Auto control available
Auto control available
Separate Not controllable
1 gear
Not controllable

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
  • Gunners can be knocked out easily


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.



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

Mitsubishi Company (三菱商会)
Fighters  A5M4 · Hagiri's A5M4
  A6M2 mod. 11 · A6M2 · A6M3 · A6M3 mod. 22 · A6M3 mod. 22Ko · A6M5 · A6M5 Ko · A6M5 otsu · A6M5 Hei · A6M6c
  A7M1 (NK9H) · A7M2
  J2M2 · J2M3 · J2M4 Kai · J2M5 · J2M5 (30 mm)
Hydroplanes  F1M2
Interceptors  Ki-83 · Ki-109
Bombers  G4M1
  Ki-21-Ia · Ki-21-I hei · Ki-67-I Ko · Ki-67-I otsu
Jet Fighters  Ki-200
Captured  ▃A6M2 · ␗A6M2
See also  Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (Post-War)

Japan bombers
Carrier-based attack bomber 
B5N  B5N2
B6N  B6N1 · B6N2 · B6N2a
B7A  B7A2 · B7A2 (Homare 23)
Carrier-based dive bomber 
D3A  D3A1
D4Y  D4Y1 · D4Y2 · D4Y3 Ko
Shipboard Observation seaplane 
F1M  F1M2
Land-based Attack bomber 
G4M  G4M1
G5N  G5N1
G8N  G8N1
Flying boat 
H6K  H6K4
H8K  H8K2 · H8K3
Land-based Bomber 
P1Y  P1Y1
Light  Ki-32
  Ki-48-II otsu
Heavy  Ki-21-Ia · Ki-21-I hei
  Ki-49-I · Ki-49-IIa · Ki-49-IIb · Ki-49-IIb/L
  Ki-67-I Ko · Ki-67-I otsu
Other countries  ▅B-17E