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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 D3A Val dive bomber
  • Aichi D3A1 Type 99 Val dive bomber
  • Aichi T-99 dive bomber
  • Aichi T-99 dive bomber

Design

In 1936 the Imperial Japanese Navy issued an 11-Shi specifications for a dive-bomber to replace the Aichi D1A2 biplanes. Aichi, Mitsubishi, and Nakajima submitted designs. Aichi and Nakajima were asked to construct prototypes.

Aichi's designer, Tokuhishiro Goake, delivered a design that had a fixed undercarriage and a wing that was inspired by the German He 70. It was decided that the complexity and extra weight of a retractable landing gear wasn't worth the small increase in performance.

Initial tests showed a number of problems that resulted in a redesign. This aircraft was then chosen over the Nakajima D3N1. There were still directional stability problems that resulted in a dorsal fin being installed. This was done before carrier qualification testing that occurred in 1940.

The D3A was constructed of metal.

Wings

The wings were placed low in the fuselage. At about six feet from the tip the wings could be folded up.

Undercarriage

The D3A used a fixed faired undercarriage with spats.

Prototype

The prototype D3A had a Nakajima Hikari 1 radial nine cylinder engine (710 HP) and was completed in December 1937.

The prototype first flew in August 1936 / January 1938.

The second prototype was extensively modified. It had a Mitsubishi Kinsei 3 radial 14 cylinder (840 HP) engine installed. Tail surfaces were enlarged and the stronger dive brakes added. This prototype was used in the competition against the Nakajima D3N1.

Production

  • 11-Shi Prototypes: 2
    • Production: 1937 - 1938
  • Aichi D3A1 Service Trial: 6
    • Production: 1939
  • Aichi D3A1 Model 11: 470, 476
    • Production: December 1939 - August 1942
  • Aichi D3A2 Model 12 prototype: 1
    • Production: June 1942
  • Aichi D3A2 Model 22: 1,016
    • Manufacturer:
      • Aichi Kokuki K.K.: 815
        • Production: August 1942 - June 1944
      • Showa Hikoki Kogyo K. K.: 201
        • Production: December 1942 - August 1945
  • Aichi D3A3 - Aichi: 816
  • Aichi D3A3 - Hikoki-Kogyo: 201
  • Total: 1,495
    • Manufacturer: Aichi Kokuki K.K. in Funakata, Nagoya; Showa Hikoki Kogyo K.K. in Tokyo
    • Production: December 1939 - August 1945

Variants

  • Aichi D3A: Prototype.
  • Aichi D3A1 / Navy Type 99 Carrier Bomber Model 11: The dorsal fin had an extension on it that improved flying. Had a smaller wing than the D3A2.
  • Aichi D3A1-K: Trainer.
  • Aichi D3A1-2K: Trainer.
  • Aichi D3A2 / Navy Type 99 Carrier Bomber Model 22: Became available in June 1942. Had a modified canopy, a propeller spinner, and more fuel.
  • Aichi D3A2-K Bomber Trainer Model 12.
  • Aichi D3A3:

Usage

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

The D3A1 entered service in 1937.

Units

Testing

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

Pearl Harbor

126 D3A1s were used in the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

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. D3A1s also sank the British cruisers HMS Cornwall and HMS Dorsetshire in April 1942 with 80% of their bombs hitting their target.

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.

Most Successful

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

Specifications

  Aichi D3A
Type Dive-bomber
Crew 2
Engine (Type) Aichi
Cylinders Radial
Cooling Air
Dimensions  
Span 47' 2", 48'
14.37 m
Length 33' 7", 37'
10.24 m
Height 10' 11.25"
3.33 m
Armament 2: MG
Cockpit - rear 1 or 2: MG
  Aichi D3A1 Model 11
Type Bomber
Crew 2
Engine (Type) Mitsubishi Kinsei 43
Mitsubishi Kinsei 44
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,000, 1,080
43: 1,000
44: 1,070
Propeller blades 3, 3 metal
Dimensions  
Span 47' 1", 47' 1.9375"
14.365 m
Length 33' 5", 33' 5.375"
10.195 m
Height 12' 7", 12' 7.46875"
3.847 m
Wing area 375.659 sq ft
34.9 sq m
Weight  
Empty 5,309 lb, 5,310 lb
2,408 kg
Loaded 8,047 lb
3,650 kg
Performance  
Speed at 9,840' / 9,845' / 3,000 m 240 mph, 242 mph
390 kph
Speed - Cruising 184 mph
296 kph
Speed - Cruising at 9,845' / 3,000 m 184 mph
Climb to 9,845' / 3,000 m 6 minutes 27 seconds, 6.5 minutes
Service ceiling 30,050'
9,160 m, 9,300 m
Range 915 miles, 1,130 miles
1,820 km
Armament 3: MG
Nose 2: 7.7 mm MG, 7.7 mm Type 97 MG
Cockpit - Rear 1: 7.7 mm MG, 7.7 mm Type 92 MG
Bombs 815 lb
Bomb - Under Fuselage 1: 551 lb
1: 250 kg
Bombs - Under Wings 2: 132 lb
2: 60 kg
Bombs - Under Fuselage and Wings 683 lb
310 kg
  Aichi D3A2 Model 22, Aichi D3A2
Type Carrier Based Dive-bomber
Crew 2
Engine (Type) Kinsei
Mitsubishi Kinsei 54 piston
Cylinders Radial, Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,280, 1,300
Propeller blades 3, 3 metal
Fuel Capacity 206 Gallons, 237.4 Gallons
1,079 Liters
Dimensions  
Span 47' 1.9375", 47' 2", 47' 2.1", 47' 8"
14.365 m, 14.37 m, 14.38 m, 14.53 m
Length 33' 5.375", 33' 5.6", 33' 6", 34' 9"
10.2 m, 11.5 m
Height 12' 7.46875", 12' 7.5", 12' 7.6", 12' 8"
3.847 m, 3.85 m
Wing area 373 sq ft, 375.659 sq ft, 375.7 sq ft, 389 sq ft
34.9 sq m, 36.2 sq m
Weight  
Empty 5,654 lb, 5,666 lb, 5,772 lb
2,570 kg, 2,618 kg
Loaded 8,360 lb, 8,378 lb
3,800 kg
Performance  
Speed at 18,536' / 5,650 m 266 mph
428 kph
Speed at 20,000' / 6,000 m 267 mph
430 kph
Speed at 20,300' / 6,100 m 281 mph
450 kph
Speed at 20,340' / 20,341' / 6,200 m 267 mph
430 kph
Speed - Cruising at 9,845' / 3,000 m 184 mph
Climb to 9,843' / 9,845' / 3,000 m 5.76 minutes, 5 minutes 48 seconds
Service ceiling 30,000', 34,449', 34,450', 35,695'
9,180 m, 10,500 m, 10,880 m
Range 840 miles, 874 miles
1,352 km, 1,400 km
Range with bomb load 840 miles, 970 miles
1,352 km, 1,560 km
Armament 2: 7.7 mm Type 97 MG forward firing
1: 7.7 mm Type 97 MG flexible in rear cockpit
3: MGs
Nose 2: 7.7 mm / 0.303" Type 97 MG, 7.7 mm MG
Cockpit - Rear 1: 7.7 mm / 0.303" Type 92 MG
1 or 2: 7.7 mm MG
Bombs - Under Fuselage 550 lb, 551 lb, 814 lb
250 kg, 370 kg
Bombs - Under Wings 2: 132 lb
2: 60 kg
Bomb load under fuselage and wings 816 lb
370 kg

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
  6. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  7. Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, René J Francillon, 1970
  8. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Bill Gunston, 1989
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