Nakajima G10N Fugaku (Mount Fuji) - Imperial Japan, 1944
Detailing the development and operational history of the Nakajima G10N Fugaku (Mount Fuji) Very-Long-Range Heavy Bomber Proposal.
Entry last updated on 5/6/2016; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
What began as an Army long-range heavy bomber program for Japan during World War 2 became the short-lived Nakajima G10N Fugaku for the Imperial Japanese Navy - none were produced.
Just as the Germans devised their "Amerika Bomber" program of World War 2 (1939-1945) to attack American cities and industry on the East Coast so too did the Empire of Japan in an effort to thwart production and incite fear along the American West Coast and beyond. The Nakajima G10N "Fugaku" ("Mount Fuji") very-long-range heavy bomber was being developed for this very purpose during the middle-war years. The program was begun in 1943 and a manufacturing facility even arranged for its construction but the complex nature of the intended engines, coupled with the ambitious nature of the program as a whole, forced its cancellation in 1944 in favor of more pressing needs.
The large bomber was given a wingspan of 207 feet, a length of 131 feet, and a height of 28.8 feet. Its configuration was largely conventional relying on a large-area monoplane wing seated ahead of midships, a forward-mounted flight deck, and a traditional single-finned tail unit. The undercarriage was to be jettisonable to help lighten operating loads for the long journey ahead.
Power was initially to come from 6 x Nakajima Ha-44 36-cylinder radial engines of 5,000 horsepower each though these remained in development and proved unreliable for the interim - destined to hole the Fugaku project back. Its complexity led to the selection of the Nakajima NK11A 18-cylinder, air-cooled radial piston engine of 2,500 horsepower - three engine nacelles being fitted to each wing mainplane - and driving a pair of four-bladed constant speed propeller units through a contra-rotating action. The operating crew numbered between seven and eight personnel and planned defensive armament was 4 x 20mm Type 99 series cannons. The internal bombload was 44,000lb of conventional drop stores.
The G10N1 was born from the Japanese Army's "Project Z" initiative of 1942 and evolved to become a Japanese Navy endeavor involving Nakajima. The original design idea was to have a bomber platform with enough inherent endurance to carry it from the northern-based Kuril Islands near the Japanese mainland all the way to the United States - providing access to targets along the West Coast, the Midwest and, ultimately, the East Coast. As Japan maintained a wartime alliance with Germany, the bomber would then be tasked to leave American airspace and find itself en route to German-occupied territories in Europe where it could safely refuel and rearm. The bomber would fly high enough and fast enough to avoid enemy ground-based fire and interceptors. The project also covered a heavy-lift transport model as well as a fixed-wing, forty-gun "gunship" armed with downward-firing armament - but none of these were furthered beyond the "paper stage".
Estimated performance specifications of the proposed IJN "Fugaku" bomber - which was essentially an evolved version of the IJA "Project Z" product - included a maximum speed of 485 miles per hour, a range of 12,055 miles, and a service ceiling of 49,215 feet. The latter quality would necessitate pressurized crew sections for high-altitude survival.
No mockups or prototypes of the G10N were ever attempted as the project was ended almost as soon as it began in 1944 following the fall of Iwo Jima to the Americans. By this time, territorial and material losses (particularly in aircraft carriers) for Japan across the Pacific Theater and Asia were mounting and its war-making resources back home were under ever-growing pressure to stem the tide of defeat. This led to a design and production focus on defensive-minded fighter types and, as such, large heavy bomber projects became the least of Japan's concerns going into 1945 as defense of the homeland proved the call-of-the-day. This fate befell many of the German Amerika Bomber projects as well.