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Japan's Imperial Navy flag

Japan's Yokosuka D4Y Suisei dive bomber, "Comet"
Navy Type 2
Allied Code Name: Judy

Design

The design for the Yokosuka D4Y was based on the purchased design of the German He 118. When the original He 118 was destroyed, the Imperial Japanese Navy as the Dai-Ichi Kaigun Koku Gijitsusho (First Technical Arsenal of Naval Aviation) in Yokosuka to design a replacement following the design of the He 118.

The D4Y was supposed to replace the Aichi D3A but it wasn't well armed and the engines were unreliable.

Engine

The engine was based on an imported Daimler-Benz DB 600G engine. Initially there were problems with the Aichi Atsuta model, the DB 601A, and this delayed the D4Y.

The D4Y was one of two mass produced aircraft that used liquid cooled engines in the Japanese military, the Ki-61 Hien being the other.

The engines were the D4Y's Achilles heel.

Prototype

The D4Y1 prototype first flew in December 1940 / 1941.

Production

Aichi's Nagoya plant produced the D4Y1-C. 660 were delivered by the spring of 1942.

  • Prototypes: 5
  • Yokosuka D4Y: 2,033
  • Yokosuka D4Y2 Model 12:
    • Production: October 1944 - ?
  • Yokosuka D4Y3: 536
  • Total: 2,033, 2,038
    • Manufacturer: Aichi, Aichi Kokuki K.K., 11th Naval Air Arsenal
    • Production: Spring 1942 - August 1945

Variants

  • Prototype: Powered by Daimler-Benz DB 600G (950 HP).
  • Yokosuka D4Y1: First production model.
  • Yokosuka D4Y1 Model 11: Strengthened wing spars. Improved dive brakes.
  • Yokosuka D4Y1-C: Reconnaissance.
  • Yokosuka D4Y2, Yokosuka D4Y2 Model 12: Had a Aichi Atsuta 32 engine (1,400 HP).
  • Yokosuka D4Y2-S: Night fighter. Wasn't successful against B-29s.
  • Yokosuka D4Y3, Yokosuka D4Y3 Model 33: Had Kinsei 62 radial engine.
  • Yokosuka D4Y4: Suicide bomber. Had one crewman. Had Kinsei 62 radial engine. Carried 1,764 lb / 800 kg bomb under the fuselage.

Usage

Preproduction models were deployed in April 1942. Due to its capabilities the D4Y1-Cs were deployed for reconnaissance.

Midway

The first aircraft to be lost were on the Soryu when it was sunk at Midway in June 1942.

Battle of the Philippine Sea

The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Kodu Sentais were equipped with 174 D4Ys. They sustained heavy casualties before any could reach the American carriers.

One D4Y, piloted by Rear Admiral Arima, was possibly the first used in a suicide attack against the USS Franklin.

Last Futile Attack

On August 15, 1945, eleven D4Ys were used in Kamikaze attacks off of Okinawa. Included in these was one D4Y4 flown by Admiral Ugaki.

Specifications

  Yokosuka D4Y Suisei
Type Carrier dive bomber , carrier reconnaissance
Crew 2
Engine (Type)  
Cylinders  
Cooling  
Net HP  
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span 37' 8.75"
11.5 m
Length 33' 6.5"
10.22 m
Height 12' 3.25"
3.74 m
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Performance  
Speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
  Yokosuka D4Y1 Suisei
Type Bomber
Crew 2
Engine (Type) Aichi AE1A Atsuta
Aichi AE1A Atsuta 12 (Daimler-Benz DB 601A)
Cylinders Inverted V-12, V-12
Cooling Liquid
Net HP 1,200
Propeller blades 3
Dimensions  
Span 37' 8", 37' 8.75"
11.5 m
Length 33' 6", 33' 6.5"
10.22 m
Height 12' 1", 12' 3.25"
3.74 m
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 5,379 lb
2,440 kg
Loaded 8,047 lb, 9,370 lb
4,250 kg
Performance  
Speed @ 15,585' /
4,750 m
343 mph
552 kph
Climb to 9,840' /
3,000 m
5.2 minutes
Service ceiling 32,480'
9,900 m
Range 975 - 2,417 miles, 978 miles
1,570 - 3,890 km
Armament 3: MG
Nose 2: 7.7 mm MG
Cockpit - rear 1: 7.92 mm MG
Bombs 683 lb, 1,234 lb
560 kg
  Yokosuka D4Y2 Suisei
Type  
Crew  
Engine (Type) Aichi AE1P Atsuta 32
Cylinders  
Cooling  
Net HP 1,400
Propeller blades 3
Dimensions  
Span 37' 8.75"
11.5 m
Length 33' 6.5"
10.22 m
Height 12' 3.25"
3.74 m
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Performance  
Speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
Nose 2: 7.7 mm MG
Cockpit - rear 1: 7.92 mm MG
Bombs 1,234 lb
560 kg
  Yokosuka D4Y3 Suisei
Type Carrier dive bomber
Crew 2
Engine (Type) Mitsubishi MK8P Kinsei 62 piston
Mitsubishi MK8P Kinsei
Cylinders Radial, 14
Cooling  
Net HP 1,560
Propeller blades 3
Dimensions  
Span 37' 8.75"
11.5 m
Length 33' 6 3/8", 33' 6.5"
10.22 m
Height 12' 3.25"
3.74 m
Wing area 254.03 ft2
23.6 m2
Weight  
Empty 5,514 lb
2,501 kg
Loaded 10,267 lb
4,657 kg
Performance  
Speed @ 19,850' /
6,050 m
357 mph
575 kph
Climb to 9,840' /
3,000 m
4.6 minutes
Climb to 9,845' /
3,000 m
4.55 minutes
Service ceiling 34,450'
10,500 m
Range 945 miles, 945 - 1,796 miles
1,520 km, 1,520 - 2,890 km
Armament  
Nose 2: 7.7 mm MG
2: 7.7 mm Type 97 MG
Cockpit - rear 1:7.92 mm MG
1: 13.2 mm Type 2
Bombs 1,234 lb
560 kg
  Yokosuka D4Y4 Suisei
Type  
Crew  
Engine (Type) Mitsubishi MK8P Kinsei
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling  
Net HP 1,560
Propeller blades 3
Dimensions  
Span 37' 8.75"
11.5 m
Length 33' 6.5"
10.22 m
Height 12' 3.25"
3.74 m
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Performance  
Speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
Bombs 1,764 lb
800 kg

Sources:

  1. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  2. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  3. World War II Airplanes Volume 2, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site