B5N Kate Torpedo Plane under Restoration

Posted on April 21st, 2016 by:

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B5N Kate Torpedo Plane under Restoration

A rare Nakajima B5N torpedo plane is currently undergoing restoration at Pearl Harbor’s Pacific Aviation Museum. The B5N was Japan’s premier torpedo plane at the beginning of WWII. Codenamed “Kate” by the Allies, it participated in the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 as well as the Battles of Coral Sea, Midway and Guadalcanal. In all, 1,149 B5N Kate torpedo planes were built.

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A Nakajima B5N2 Kate in flight



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A B5N1 Kate Torpedo Bomber takes off from the aircraft carrier Akagi

The B5N Kate currently undergoing restoration in Hawaii was one of the last flyable airplanes on Rabaul when the Japanese garrison surrendered in 1945. The plane was flown to New Guinea then abandoned and left to the elements. The plane was never wrecked and remained largely intact, standing on its own wheels until 1981, when it was disassembled along with a Ki-46 “Dinah” also left on the island. In 2003, both planes were prepared for shipment to Australia but were impounded by the government of New Guinea which claimed they were illegally taken. The court case was resolved in 2005 and the Kate and Dinah were sent to Australia and later New Zealand to be offered for sale. In 2012, the Nakajima B5N Kate was acquired by the Pacific Aviation Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii. The museum plans to restore it and put it on static display.

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The wing and fuselage of the B5N Kate currently under restoration at the Pacific Aviation Museum

In 2016, the wing and part of the fuselage of the Kate were put on display at the museum. The parts garner much attention, being from a type of plane that was instrumental in the attack on Pearl Harbor and the early battles in the Pacific War. Once restored, the Pacific Aviation Museum’s B5N Kate will be the only restored example in the world. No other B5N Torpedo planes exist intact or nearly intact anywhere in the world.



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Cockpit view of the B5N currently under restoration

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The interior of the plane

The Pacific Aviation Museum expects the restoration to take five years. When it is complete the plane will hold a fitting place at Pearl Harbor where WWII began for America on that fateful December morning in 1941.

Pictures via The Pacific Aviation Museum

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