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D3A "Val", Japanese Carrier Dive Bomber


Photograph of D3A
                "Val"

U.S. Navy. Via ibiblio.org

3-view diagram of D3A "Val"

U.S. Army. Via ibiblio.org


Aichi D3A1 “Val”


Specifications:


Crew 2 in tandem cockpit

Dimensions

47'2" by 33'7" by 10'11"
14.38m by 10.24m by 3.33m
Wing area 375.7 square feet
34.9 square meters

Weight

5310-8047 lbs
2409-3650 kg

Speed

242 mph at 9845 feet
389 km/h at 3000 meters

Cruising speed     

184 mph at 9845 feet
2967 km/h at 3000 meters

Climb rate

25 feet per second
7.6 meters per second

Ceiling

30,050 feet
9160 meters

Power plant

One 1070 hp (798 kW) Mitsubishi Kinsei 44 fourteen-cylinder air-cooled radial engine driving a three-blade metal propeller

Armament

Two forward-firing 7.7 mm Type 97 machine guns in the engine cowling
One flexible rear-firing 7.7 mm Type 92 machine gun

External stores

One 250 kg (551 lb) bomb under the fuselage
Two 60 kg (132 lb) bombs under the wings

Range

915 miles
1473 km
Fuel
1079 liters
285 gallons

Production

A total of 1495 D3A were manufactured as follows:
 
Aichi Kokuki K.K., at the Funakata, Nagoya plant:

 
470 D3A1 Model 11 production aircraft (12/39 – 8/42)
1 D3A2 Model 12 prototype (6/42)
 815 D3A2 Model 22 production aircraft (8/42 – 6/44)

Showa Hikoki Kogyo K.K. in Tokyo:


 201 D3A2 Model 22 production aircraft (12/42 – 8/45)


Variants

Early production D3A1s had a 1000 hp (746 kW) Kinsei 43 engine.

The D3A2 had a 1300 hp (969 kW) Kinsei 54 engine, which increased its maximum speed to 267 mph (430 km/h) at 20,000 feet (6100 meters).


Also known as the Type 99 Carrier Bomber, "Val" was the standard Japanese carrier dive bomber at the time of Pearl Harbor, and, together with the Zero and "Kate", it ruled the skies of the Pacific during the first half of 1942. It was remarkably maneuverable for a light bomber, and achieved reasonable performance in spite of such anachronisms as its fixed landing gear. It was not able to hold as steep a dive as the U.S. Navy’s Dauntless (65 degrees versus over 70 degrees) but pilot skill more than made up the difference, with a hit accuracy of better than 80% against the British carrier Hermes and cruisers Cornwall and Dorsetshire. It is a measure of how badly Japanese pilot skill deteriorated that, by the end of the war, the remaining "Vals" were hitting their targets only 10% of the time.

"Val" came out of a 1936 Navy design competition for a dive bomber with range and speed compatible with the A5M "Claude". The design team, led by Goake Tokiuchirō, based the design on elements of the German Heinkel HE 70 and Stuka. As with the "Claude", the designers chose fixed landing gear rather than deal with the weight and complexity of retracting gear. The result was an aircraft roughly comparable with the Stuka and Dauntless. However, its low speed and weak armament left it fatally vulnerable to Allied fighters during the long campaign of attrition in the south Pacific in 1942-1943.

Japanese veterans described the "Val" as very stable and easy to fly and land on a carrier. However, the Kinsei engine was slightly prone to leak oil from its cylinders, which sometimes ran across the windshield and obstructed visibility.

Though superseded by the D4Y "Judy" by 1943, "Val" continued in production for second-line and kamikaze service. It was not a particularly successful kamikaze aircraft, achieving few results for the number of aircraft expended.

Photo Gallery


D3A Val in flight

Wikimedia Commons

D3A Val in flight

Wikimedia

Commons

D3A Val in flight

Wikimedia

Commons

D3A
                Val rear view

Wikimedi\a

Commons


References

Francillon (1979)
Peattie (2001)

Werneth (2008)

Wilson (1998)



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