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Japan's Imperial Navy flag

Japan's Aichi D3A; Navy Type 99 Carrier Bomber Model 11; Navy Type 99 Model 11
Allied Code Name: Val

Photos

Aichi T-99 dive bomber:
Japan's Aichi T-99 dive bomber
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook

Aichi T-99 dive bomber:
Japan's Aichi T-99 dive bomber
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook

Aichi D3A Val dive bomber:
Japan's Aichi D3A Val dive bomber

Design

In 1936 the Imperial Japanese Navy issued specifications for a dive-bomber to replace the Aichi D1A2 biplanes.1,2,4 Aichi, Mitsubishi, and Nakajima submitted designs.4 Aichi and Nakajima were asked to construct prototypes.4

Aichi delivered a design that had a fixed undercarriage and a wing that was inspired by the German He 70.1,2,4 It was decided that the complexity and extra weight of a retractable landing gear wasn't worth the small increase in performance.1

Initial tests showed a number of problems that resulted in a redesign.1 This aircraft was then chosen over the Nakajima D3N1.1 There were still directional stability problems that resulted in a dorsal fin being installed.1 This was done before carrier qualification testing that occurred in 1940.1

The D3A was constructed of metal.4

Wings

The wings were placed low in the fuselage.4

Undercarriage

The D3A used a fixed faired undercarriage.4

Prototype

The prototype first flew in August 19363 / January 19382,4. The prototype D3A had a Nakajima Hikari 1 radial engine (710 HP).2,4

Production

  • Prototypes3: 23
  • Aichi D3A12,3: 4762,3
  • Aichi D3A22,3: 1,0162,3
  • Aichi D3A3 - Aichi3: 8163
  • Aichi D3A3 - Hikoki-Kogyo3: 2013
  • Total: 1,4954
    • Manufacturer: Aichi Kokuki K.K.4
    • Production: December 1939 - August 19454

Variants

  • Aichi D3A: Prototype.3
  • Aichi D3A1 / Navy Type 99 Model 113: Had a smaller wing than the D3A2.2 Used a Mitsubishi Kinsei 43 radial engine (1,000 HP).2
  • Aichi D3A1-K: Trainer.3
  • Aichi D3A1-2K: Trainer.3
  • Aichi D3A2 / Navy Type 99 Model 223: Became available in June 1942.1,2 Had a modified canopy, a propeller spinner, and more fuel.1
  • Aichi D3A2-K Bomber Trainer Model 12.1
  • Aichi D3A3:

Usage

Because the D3A was very agile, it was sometimes flown as a fighter.1

The D3A1 entered service in 1937.3

Testing

The tests of the D3A were conducted on the Kaga and Akagi.4

Pearl Harbor

126 D3As were used in the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.1,2,4,5

Indian Ocean

The Aichi D3As took part in the sinking of the British aircraft carrier, the HMS Hermes with 80% of their bombs hitting their target.1,3,4 D3A1s also sank the British cruisers HMS Cornwall and HMS Dorsetshire in April 1942 with 80% of their bombs hitting their target.2,3,4

Battle of the Coral Sea

There were significant loses during the Battle of the Coral Sea of the D3A2 and the remaining were withdrawn to land bases.2

Most Successful

The D3A sank more Allied navy ships than any other aircraft.4

Specifications

  Aichi D3A
Type Dive-bomber3,5
Crew 23,5
Engine (Type) Aichi5
Cylinders Radial5
Cooling Air5
Net HP  
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span 47' 2"3, 48'5
14.37 m3
Length 33' 7"3, 37'5
10.24 m3
Height 10' 11.25"3
3.33 m3
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Performance  
Speed - cruising  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament 2: MG5
Cockpit - rear 1 or 2: MG5
  Aichi D3A1
Type Bomber4
Crew 24
Engine (Type) Mitsubishi Kinsei 434
Mitsubishi Kinsei 443
Cylinders Radial 143,4
Cooling Air4
Net HP 1,0004, 1,0803
Propeller blades 33
Dimensions  
Span 47' 1"4
Length 33' 5"4
Height 12' 7"4
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 5,310 lb3
2,408 kg3
Loaded 8,047 lb3,4
3,650 kg3
Performance  
Speed - cruising 184 mph3
296 kph3
Speed @ 9,840' /
3,000 m
242 mph3
390 kph3
Speed @ 9,845' 240 mph4
Climb to 9,845' /
3,000 m
6.5 minutes3
Service ceiling 30,050'3,4
9,160 m3
Range 915 miles4, 1,130 miles3
1,820 km3
Armament 3: MG4
Nose 2: 7.7 mm MG3
Cockpit - rear 1: 7.7 mm MG3
Bombs 815 lb4
Bomb load under fuselage and wings 683 lb3
310 kg3
  Aichi D3A2 Model 22
Aichi D3A2
Type Dive-bomber1,2
Crew 21,2
Engine (Type) Kinsei4
Mitsubishi Kinsei 54 piston1,2,3
Cylinders Radial2, Radial 141,3
Cooling Air1
Net HP 1,3001,2,3,4
Propeller blades 33
Dimensions  
Span 47' 2"1,2
14.37 m1, 14.38 m2
Length 33' 5 3/8"2, 33' 6"1
10.2 m1,2
Height 12' 7.5"2, 12' 8"1
3.85 m1,2
Wing area 373 ft 2 1, 375.7 ft2 2
34.9 m2 1,2
Weight  
Empty 5,654 lb1, 5,666 lb2, 5,772 lb3
2,570 kg1,2, 2,618 kg3
Loaded 8,360 lb1, 8,378 lb2,3
3,800 kg1,2,3
Performance  
Speed - cruising  
Speed @ 18,536' /
5,650 m
266 mph3
428 kph3
Speed @ 20,000' /
6,000 m
267 mph1
430 kph1
Speed @ 20,340' /
6,200 m
267 mph2
430 kph2
Climb to 9,845' /
3,000 m
5.76 minutes2
Service ceiling 34,450'2, 35,695'3
10,500 m2, 10,880 m3
Range 840 miles2
1,352 km2
Range with bomb load 840 miles1, 970 miles3
1,352 km1, 1,560 km3
Armament 2: 7.7 mm Type 97 MG forward firing1
1: 7.7 mm Type 97 MG flexible in rear cockpit1
3: MGs3
Nose 2: 7.7 mm Type 97 MG2
Cockpit - rear 1: 7.7 mm Type 92 MG2
Bomb - under fuselage 551 lb2, 814 lb1
250 kg2, 370 kg1
Bomb load under fuselage and wings 816 lb3
370 kg3

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of World War II, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  3. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  4. World War II Airplanes Volume 2, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  5. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site