Planes of Fame Air Museum
 
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Home »  Collection »  Flying & Static Aircraft »  Yokosuka D4Y3 Model 33 'Suisei'

HISTORY

  • Late in World War II Japan adopted the practice of giving names to their aircraft. The Suisei (or "Comet") was the fastest carrier-based dive bomber of WWII. This was accomplished at the peril of the crew as the aircraft had no armor, unprotected fuel tanks, and light armament. Given the Allied code name "Judy," the Suisei also saw duty as a reconnaissance aircraft, a night fighter, a kamikaze craft.
  • As early as 1937 the Imperial Japanese Navy saw that a replacement for the Aichi D3A dive bomber was needed. Yokosuka Naval Air Arsenal was asked to produce a new dive bomber with a range of 1,380 miles and a 550-pound payload, capable of a top speed of 320 miles per hour. Yokosuka chose an inline engine, the Aichi Atsuka which was a licensed copy of the Daimler-Benz DB 600. The prototype flew in November 1940. Although it was fast and handled well, the airplane's engine suffered from continual problems which required almost two additional years to resolve. Some pre-production models did go into active service in 1942 but were employed as high-speed reconnaissance craft and were lost with the sinking of the Soryu at Midway in June of 1942.
  • Late models of the D4Y were introduced with radial engines which proved more reliable. A total of 2,319 D4Ys were built during the war, the bulk of which were destroyed by the masses of U. S. fighters sent up to intercept them before reaching their intended targets. Although the D4Ys performed well, their minimal protective armor and lack of self-sealing fuel tanks made them vulnerable to attack.

 

DISTINCTION

  • The Museum’s Suisei is a WWII combat veteran.  It was one of 660 D4Y1 aircraft that were licensed built by the Aichi Aircraft Co. Ltd.  It was likely assigned to the Imperial Japanese Navy’s 202nd Kokutai (Air Group) operating out of Babo Airfield in the Dutch East Indies (today, West Papua, Indonesia).  It probably flew missions in the defense of Truk and against the American landings at Biak (May - August 1944).  It was abandoned at Babo following U.S. bomb attacks.  It was discovered there in 1991 in ruins.  Later acquired by the Museum, it was restored in 2012 as a D4Y3 static aircraft.  Planes of Fame’s D4Y3 Suisei is not a flying aircraft, but upon engine start, is taxiable.
  • Model:  D4Y3 (Originally D4Y1);  Serial Number: 483;  Manufactured:  Nagoya, Japan ;  Date of Delivery:  February 1944.
 

SPECIFICATIONS

Status: Taxiable aircraft
Manufacturer: Yokosuka Naval Air Technical Arsenal
Year: 1944
Model: D4Y3 Suisei
Registration Number:
Serial Number: 483
Crew: 2
Max T/O Weight: 10,267 lb.
Span: 37 ft. 9 in.
Length: 33 ft. 6 in.
Height: 12 ft. 3 in.
Maximum Speed: 357 mph
Cruise Speed: 265 mph
Rate of Climb: climb to 9,800 ft altitude in 4.5 min.
Power Plant: 1 × Mitsubishi MK8P Kinsei 62 fourteen-cylinder air-cooled radial engine, 1,400 hp.
Range: 944 mi.
Service Ceiling: 34,450 ft.
Armament: Three 7.7-mmmachine guns, two forward-firing and one rear-firing; max bomb load 1,234 lb.

 

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