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Japan's Imperial Navy flag

Japan's Aichi B7A Ryusei (shooting star, falling star) dive bomber
Allied Code Name: Grace

Design

The Aichi B7A was developed for a specification for a high performance aircraft to replace the Nakajima B6N torpedo bomber and Yokosuka D4Y dive bomber.

The B7A could fly almost as fast as the Mitsubishi A6M fighter and had good manoeuverability.

Engine

The Homare engine caused delays to the development of the B7A.

Prototype

The B7A1 prototype first flew in May 1942.

Production

  • Aichi B7A1 (prototype): 9
  • Aichi B7A2: 114 (Aichi: 105, Omura Naval Air Arsenal: 25)
  • Total: 114
    • Manufacturer: Aichi Kokuki K.K.

Due to an earthquake in May 1945, the Aichi Funakata plant was destroyed.

Variants

  • Aichi B7A1: Development and test version.
  • Aichi B7A2:
  • Aichi B7A3: Was designed to have a Nakajima Homare 23 engine (2,000 HP). Was never produced.

Usage

By the time the B7A2 was reaching front line units in 1944 the war situation was going against Japan. There were no aircraft carriers for the B7A to fight from.

Only two land based Kokutais were equipped with the B7A2s.

Specifications

  Aichi B7A
Type Dive-bomber
Torpedo bomber
Crew 2
Engine (Type)  
Cylinders  
Cooling  
Net HP  
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span 47' 3"
14.4 m
Length 37' 8.5"
11.49 m
Height 13' 4.5"
4.08 m
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 8,400 lb
3,810 kg
Normal load 12,568 lb
5,700 kg
Maximum load 14,300 lb
6,500 kg
Performance  
Speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
Wings 2: 20 mm
Rear cockpit 1: 7.92 mm or 13 mm MG
Torpedo or bombs 1,764 lb
800 kg
  Aichi B7A1
Type  
Crew  
Engine (Type) Nakajima NK9B Homare 11
Cylinders Radial 18
Cooling  
Net HP 1,800
Propeller blades 4
Dimensions  
Span  
Length  
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Normal load  
Maximum load  
Performance  
Speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
  Aichi B7A2
Type Bomber
Crew 2
Engine (Type) Nakajima NK9C Homare 12
Cylinders Radial 18
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,825
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span 47' 3"
Length 37' 8"
Height 13' 4"
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Normal load 12,401 lb
Maximum load  
Performance  
Speed @ 21,490' /
6,550 m
352 mph
566 kph
Climb to 13,120' /
4,000 m
6.9 minutes
Service ceiling 29,365'
8,950 m
Range 1,888 miles
3,038 km
Range with full load 1,150 miles
1,850 km
Armament 1: MG
2: 20 mm
Bombs 1,764 lb

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  2. World War II Airplanes Volume 2, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site