Aichi D3A Val

The Aichi D3A, Allied reporting name "Val" was a World War II carrier-borne dive bomber of the Imperial Japanese Navy. It was the primary dive bomber in the Imperial Japanese Navy, and participated in almost all actions, including Pearl Harbor. The Aichi D3A was the first Japanese aircraft to bomb American targets in World War II, commencing with Pearl Harbor and US bases in the Philippines, such as Clark Air Force Base. During the course of the Second World War, the Val dive bomber sank more Allied warships than any other Axis aircraft.

Armament was two forward-firing 7.7 mm (.303 in) Type 97 machine guns, and one flexible 7.7 mm (.303 in) Type 92 machine gun in the rear cockpit for defense. Normal bombload was a single 250 kg (550 lb) bomb carried under the fuselage, which was swung out under the propeller on release by a trapeze. Two additional 60 kg (130 lb) bombs could be carried on wing racks located under each wing outboard of the dive brakes.

Starting with the attack on Pearl Harbor, the D3A1 took part in all major Japanese carrier operations in the first 10 months of the war. They achieved their first major success against the Royal Navy during their Indian Ocean raid in April 1942. Val dive bombers scored over 80% hits with their bombs during attacks on two heavy cruisers and an aircraft carrier during the operation. During the course of the war, Val dive bombers had to frequently combine their attacks upon enemy warships with the IJN Kate torpedo plane; consequently enemy vessels were often sunk by a combination strike of bombs and torpedoes.

General characteristics
  • Crew: Two (pilot and gunner)
  • Length: 10.2 m (33 ft 5 in)
  • Wingspan: 14.37 m (47 ft 2 in)
  • Height: 3.85 m (12 ft 8 in)
  • Wing area: 34.9 m² (375.6 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 2,408 kg (5,309 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 3,650 kg (8,047 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1× Mitsubishi Kinsei 44, 798 kW (1,070 hp)

  • Maximum speed: 389 km/h (205 kn, 242 mph)
  • Range: 1,472 km (795 nmi, 915 mi)
  • Service ceiling: 9,300 m (30,500 ft)

  • 2 × fixed, forward-firing 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Type 97 machine guns
  • 1 × flexible, rearward-firing 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Type 92 machine gun
  • 1 × 250 kg (551 lb) or 2 × 60 kg (132 lb) bombs

** Aichi D3A Val - Warbird Fare

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