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"Performance of Newer Types of Japanese Aircraft" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following intelligence report on WWII Japanese military aircraft is taken from Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 6, August 27, 1942.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


Single-seated Fighters:

Japan has two types of Zero Fighters.

The Mitsubishi Zero, used in land-based operations by both the Army and Navy Air Forces, has a wing spread of 37 feet, and is short and stubby in appearance.

The Mitsubishi-Nagoya Zero (see this publication No. 5, p. 1 for detailed description) has a longer and thinner tapered wing, 40 feet in length, hinged 24 inches from the tips, which fold up for stowage purposes when carrier-based. It may also be equipped with a single float for operation as a float plane.

Although basically the same type of aircraft, the performances of these two Zeros differ particularly in the matter of speed. Both are low-wing monoplanes with retractable landing gear and powered by twin-row 14-cylinder radial, air-cooled engines. Both have a normal range of about 500 miles, but with the use of detachable belly tanks the range can be increased from 850 to 1,150 miles, depending on the size of the tanks. Both have a maximum ceiling of 33,000 feet. Both are armed with one 20-mm. cannon in each wing, with about 60 rounds of ammunition per cannon, and two 7.7-mm. recoil-operated guns, synchronized to fire through the propeller, with 500 rounds per gun. None of these fighters of either type has been reported as having any armor or being equipped with leak-proof gasoline tanks.

Of the two, the Mitsubishi-Nagoya is heavier, more powerful, and faster, with a reported maximum speed of 344 miles per hour as against 298 miles per hour for the Mitsubishi "stubby type".

Light Bomber--Single Engine:

The Mitsubishi 98 is being used extensively as a light bomber.

It is a low-wing monoplane powered with 2 twin-row 14-cylinder radial air-cooled engines. It has a wing spread of 46 feet and the latest models are equipped with retractable landing gear. The speed varies from 200 to 250 miles per hour with a range of 500 to 800 miles depending on the load. This light bomber carries a crew of two and 790 pounds of bombs and is armed with three 7.7-mm. machine guns.

Single-Engine Dive Bomber:

The Aichi 99 is in regular use by both the Army and Navy. It is a low-wing monoplane, having a wing spread of 47 feet, and a non-retractable landing gear. The speed varies from 204 to 256 miles per hour, with a range of 450 to 1,300 miles, the greater distance being obtained by means of a detachable belly tank. The armament consists of 2 fixed 7.7-mm. machine guns and one flexible machine gun of the same caliber; its full bomb load is 1,100 pounds.

This dive bomber is equipped with floatation gear when operating from carriers. Its crew consists of a pilot, and a gunner who can also serve as co-pilot and radio operator.

Bomber--Twin Engine:

A newer version of the Mitsubishi T-96, known as the Zero medium bomber, has been reported in use by the Japanese Navy. It is a monoplane with two radial air-cooled engines and has a retractable landing gear.

Although full specifications and performance data of this bomber are not yet available, its speed is reported to be about 270 miles per hour, with a maximum ceiling of 26,000 feet, and normal cruising range of 1,560 miles.

It is equipped to carry one 1,500-pound torpedo or equivalent weight in bombs. Another special characteristic is a tail turret equipped with one 20-mm. cannon. The T-96 carries a crew of two, and its armament, in addition to the cannon, consists of four 7.7-mm. machine guns.

Heavy Bomber--Twin Engine:

The Kawasaki 97 land-based army bomber is being currently used over China and India. This bomber is powered with either two twin-row radial air-cooled engines, or with two liquid-cooled engines. It is a mid-wing monoplane, and has a retractable landing gear, twin rudders, and a wing spread of 72 feet. The speed ranges from 185 to 230 miles per hour; the rate of climb has been reported as being 3,281 feet in 2.11 minutes, and the maximum ceiling with a normal load is 24,500 feet.

With 4,400 pounds of bombs the range of this bomber is 1,180 miles at 181 miles per hour for 6 1/2 hours. With 2,000 pounds of bombs the range is increased to 10 hours or about 1,800 miles. The armament consists of four 7.7-mm. machine guns and two 20-mm. cannons. It generally carries a crew of five.

This bomber is reported to be well equipped with radio, oxygen, and self-sealing tanks, together with some armor and bullet-proof glass.


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