Nakajima B5N “Kate”

General Information

MAKE: Nakajima
NUMBER BUILT: 1,149 B5N1/2 between 1937 and 1943
MISSION: Carrier based Torpedo Bomber
Located in Hangar 79


The first model of the Kate was the B5N1, and it had its operational debut during the conflict in China. It was used both as a torpedo plane and as a conventional bomber.
The second version was the B5N2, which began its combat career at Pearl Harbor, when 144 of these planes took part in the attack. It proved to be Japan’s best carrier-based torpedo bomber until 1944, when it was replaced.

The Nakajima B5N1 carrier based Torpedo Bomber (Kate) was designed in 1935 by a Nakajima design team under the supervision of Katsuji Nakamura and went into production as the Navy Type 97 Model 1 attack bomber in 1937.  It was soon discovered that it was extremely vulnerable to any modern fighter aircraft, so by 1939 the B5N2 was designed and put into production. By the outbreak of the war, even the B5N2 was considered obsolete; yet still an effective torpedo attack aircraft.

The Nakajima Kate is one of the aircraft types that bombed and torpedoed ships at Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7, 1941. The Museum’s Kate is one of only two Kates in existence.


DATE DEPLOYED: First flight: 1937
PROPULSION: Nakajima Nk1B Sakae 11 14-cylinder radial
HORSE POWER: 1000 hp
SPAN: 50 feet, 11 inches (15.52 m)
LENGTH: 33 feet, 9.5 inches (10.3 m)
HEIGHT: 12 feet, 1.3 inches (3.7 m)
EMPTY WEIGHT: 5,024 pounds (2,279 kg)
LOADED WEIGHT: 8378 pounds (3800 kg) 
MAXIMUM WEIGHT: 9039 pounds (4100 kg)
PAYLOAD: One 1764 lb. (800 kg) torpedo or up to 1764 lb. (800 kg) bombs
MAXIMUM SPEED: 235 mph at 11810 feet (204 kt at 3600 m)
CRUSING SPEED: 161 mph at 9845 feet (140 kt at 3000 m)
SERVICE CEILING: 27100 ft (8260 m)
RANGE: 1075 nautical miles (1237 statute miles) (1990.7 km)
CREW: Three
ARMAMENT: One rear-firing 7.7mm Type 92 machine gun



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