Aichi B7A Ryusei

The Aichi B7A Ryusei (Shooting Star) Allied reporting name "Grace" was a large and powerful carrier-borne torpedo-dive bomber produced by Aichi Kokuki KK for the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service during the Second World War. Built in only small numbers and deprived of the aircraft carriers it was intended to operate from, the type had little chance to distinguish itself in combat before the war ended in August 1945.

the B7A first flew as a prototype in May 1942, but teething problems with the experimental NK9C Homare engine and necessary modifications to the airframe meant that the type did not enter into production until two years later in May 1944. 9 prototype B7A1s were built and 80 production version B7A2s completed by Aichi before a severe earthquake in May 1945 destroyed the factory at Funakata where they were being assembled. A further 25 examples were produced at the 21st Naval Air Arsenal at Omura.

In June 1944, IJN Taihō, the only Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft carrier then large enough to operate the B7A Ryusei in its intended role, was sunk during the Battle of the Philippine Sea before enough B7As were even available to embark. Thereafter, the B7A was relegated to operating from land bases, primarily with the Yokosuka and 752nd Kokutais. The Japanese completed only one other carrier capable of operating the B7A, IJN Shinano, but she was sunk by an American submarine in November 1944, just ten days after being commissioned.

General characteristics
  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 11.49 m (37 ft 8.33 in)
  • Wingspan: 14.40 m (47 ft 3 in)
  • Height: 4.07 m (13 ft 4.5 in)
  • Wing area: 35.40 m² (381.041 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 3,810 kg (8,400 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 5,625 kg (12,401 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 6,500 kg (14,330 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Nakajima NK9C Homare 12 18-cylinder air-cooled radial engine, 1,360 kW (1,825 hp)

  • Maximum speed: 567 km/h (306 kn, 352 mph)
  • Range: 3,038 km (1,888 mi)
  • Service ceiling: 11,250 m (36,910 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 9.6 m/s (1,889.8 ft/min)
  • Wing loading: 158.9 kg/m² (32.5 lb/ft²)
  • Power/mass: 0.24 W/kg (0.147 hp/lb)

  • 2× 20 mm Type 99 Model 2 cannons in wings
  • 1× 7.92 mm (0.312 in) Type 1 or
  • 1× 13 mm (0.51 in) Type 2 machine gun in the rear cockpit
  • 800 kg (1,764 lb) of general ordnance or
  • 1× 800 kg (1,764 lb) torpedo

** Aichi B7A Ryusei - Warbird Fare

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