The Yokosuka D4Y Suisei ("Comet") was a carrier-borne navy dive bomber and reconnaissance plane that was meant to replace the obsolete Aichi D3A2 "Val" dive bomber, however it proved to be insufficiently armed and protected, and the engine was not altogether reliable. Along with the Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien fighter, it was one of only two Japanese aircraft with an inline engine to be produced in significant numbers. Both aircraft were plagued by engine troubles throughout their careers and therefore failed to perform as well as they might have. The design was originally based on the German Heinkel He-118, for which Japan had acquired the license for production. When the original model of the He-118 was destroyed and the program suspended, the naval authorities were still impressed enough with its potential that they requested that a carrier-based dive bomber be modeled after the Heinkel prototype. The first D4Y1 bombers were ready for operational use in March of 1943, but the aircraft was not a great success. Even the improved D4Y2 models did not change the situation very much. These models were also built in a reconnaissance version, and they were decimated by American fighters. The next version, the D4Y3, had a Mitubishi Kinsei 62 radial engine instead of the original inline engine, and this eliminated several problems. A total of 536 of this version was built. A final version was the D4Y4, which was specifically designed for suicide missions. It was at the controls of a D4Y4 that Admiral Ugaki carried out the last kamikaze attack of the war on August 15, 1945. A total of 2,038 Yokosuka D4Ys were built between spring 1942 and August 1945. The Allied codename for this aircraft was "Judy" (though the type was mistakenly also given the codename of "Dot" until it was realized that the two aircraft were identical).
Yokosuka D4Y1 Model 11 (in-line engine)
Type: Carrier Bomber Service: Japanese Navy Air Force (JNAF) Crew: 2 (Pilot, gunner) Armament: two 7.7mm Type 97 machine guns in nose one flexible 7.92mm Type 1 machine gun in rear position up to 683 lbs (310 kgs) of bombs Reference: Francillon: 460, Mondey: n/a Specifications: Length: 33' 6.5" (10.22 m) Height: 12' 0.75" (3.675 m) Wingspan: 37' 8.75" (11.5 m) Wing area: 254.027 sq. ft (23.6 sq. m) Empty Weight: 5379 lbs (2440 kg) Loaded Weight: 8047 lbs (3650 kg) Max Weight: 9370 lbs (4250 kg) Propulsion: No. of Engines: 1 Powerplant: Aichi AE1A Atsuta 12 12-cylinder liquid-cooled vee engine Horsepower: 1200 hp Performance: Normal Range: 968 st miles (850 naut miles) Max Range: 2417 st miles (2100 naut miles) Cruise Speed: 265 mph at 9845 ft (230 kt at 3000 m) Max Speed: 343 mph at 15585 ft (298 kt at 4750 m) Climb to/in: 9845 ft (3000 m) in 5 min 14 sec Ceiling: 32480 ft (9900 m)
Yokosuka D4Y3 Model 33 (radial engine)
Type: Carrier Bomber Service: Japanese Navy Air Force (JNAF) Crew: 2 (Pilot, gunner) Armament: two 7.7mm Type 97 machine guns in nose one flexible 7.92mm Type 1 machine gun in rear position up to 1234 lbs (560 kgs) of bombs Specifications: Length: 33' 6.5" (10.22 m) Height: 12' 3.25" (3.74 m) Wingspan: 37' 8.75" (11.5 m) Wing area: 254.027 sq. ft (23.6 sq. m) Empty Weight: 5514 lbs (2501 kg) Loaded Weight: 8276 lbs (3754 kg) Max Weight: 10267 lbs (4657 kg) Propulsion: No. of Engines: 1 Powerplant: Mitsubishi MK8P Kinsei 62 14-cylinder radial Horsepower: 1560 hp Performance: Normal Range: 944 st miles (820 naut miles) Max Range: 1796 st miles (1560 naut miles) Cruise Speed: 207 mph at 9845 ft (180 kt at 3000 m) Max Speed: 357 mph at 19850 ft (310 kt at 6050 m) Climb to/in: 9845 ft (3000 m) in 4 min 35 sec Ceiling: 34450 ft (10500 m)
Production: 2038 D4Ys total
Additional information on this aircraft can be found at Wikipedia
For several very nice scale color drawings of this aircraft, see here (5 versions available on left).
Additional color schemes for this aircraft can be found
(go to Yokosuka page)
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