Built by Mitsubishi estimated assembly date during the middle of July 1943. Unknown if this aircraft was a Ki-51A reconnaissance version or Ki-51B assault version. Delivered to the Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) as Type 99 Assault/Recon Plane / Ki-51 Sonia manufacture number 1081.
Assigned to an unknown Sentai in New Guinea. No known markings or tail number. In early 1944, abandoned at Alexishafen Airfield at the eastern edge of Danip Airfield.
On April 26, 1944 captured in a wrecked condition by the Australian Army at Alexishafen Airfield. On June 28, 1944 a team from Air Technical Intelligence
Unit (ATIU) visited the airfield and surveyed and photographed wreckage. At least one dataplate (nameplate) was recovered from this aircraft and reported in Japanese Aircraft Plates and Markings Card 15319 (JAPMC 15319).
In the early 1970s, Charles Darby also located this manufacture number on scraps of metal from this wreckage located at the eastern edge of Danip Airfield (Alexishafen II, Figher Strip).
Charles Darby adds:
"The other Ki-51s [955, 1081, 1242] that I was able to identify consisted of little more than scraps of wreckage that could have been carried in the trunk of a car, and all were close to the main road [eastern edge] at the [Danip] fighter strip."
The ultimate fate of this wreckage is unknown, likely scrapped or otherwise disappeared sometime after the early 1970s.
Production Record of the Type 99 Assault / Recon Plane by Jim Long
Japanese Aircraft Plates and Markings Card 15319 (JAPMC 15319)
Charles Darby and Jim Long for additional information
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July 30, 2020