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Aichi B7A Ryusei (Grace)

Imperial Japan (1944)
Picture of Aichi B7A Ryusei (Grace) Torpedo Bomber / Dive Bomber

By the time the Aichi B7A series made it to operational status, Japan no longer had her aircraft carriers.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Aichi B7A Ryusei (Grace) Torpedo Bomber / Dive Bomber.  Entry last updated on 4/11/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The Aichi-produced B7A "Ryusei" (translated to "Shooting Star" and nicknamed "Grace" by the Allies) was a limited-production torpedo/dive bomber in service with the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) during the late stages of World War 2. Unfortunately for the design, the aircraft arrived too late to be fielded in force as the Japanese Navy was now without any viable carrier options by the time of the B7A's adoption. With just a scant 114 production aircraft resulting, the series became an overlooked Aichi wartime design that would never have a chance to live up to its perceived potential as a new, all-modern carrier-based torpedo/dive bombing platform.

The B7A Ryusei was conceived of to fulfill a new Japanese Navy requirement for a carrier-based torpedo/dive bomber as early as 1941. A prototype was flown during 1942 but the aircraft, seeing prolonged delays from engine development issues and natural causes (an earthquake on the island), was forced to await receiving its official operational status until 1944. By then, the Japanese Navy was all but crippled of her strategic, and vastly important, aircraft carriers across the Pacific Theater that the B7A would instead see limited-duty from land-based airfields.

At its core, the Aichi B7A Ryusei was a single engined, two-seat, low monoplane aircraft design. A dorsal arrangement allowed for the carrying of a single 1,764lb torpedo or an equal amount of standard drop ordnance. Additionally, two forward-firing, fixed 20mm cannons were mounted in the leading wing edges while a single, defensive-minded, 7.92mm or 13mm machine gun was fitted to a flexible mounting at the rear cockpit position for added defense.
Power was served through a Nakajima NK9C Homare 12 model, 18-cylinder, air-cooled, radial piston engine of 1,825 horsepower providing for a top speed of 352 miles per hour, a range out to 1,890 miles and a service ceiling up to 36,910 feet. The engine drove a four-bladed propeller assembly.

Dimensions included a length of 37 feet, 8 inches, a wingspan of 47 feet, 3 inches, and a height of 13 feet, 5 inches. As the B7A was intended for carrier service, it came complete with hinged wing sections to allow for folding on space-strapped aircraft carriers of the IJN.

Prototypes were recognized as B7A1 and a total of nine were produced. The B7A2 designation marked production quality bombers for the IJN to which 105 examples emerged. One model served as an experimental product fitting the Nakajima Homare 23 series engine. The B7A3 designation was a proposed mark outfitted with the Mitsubishi MK9A (Ha-43) engine - none of this mark were constructed.






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (351mph).

    Graph average of 300 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Aichi B7A Ryusei (Grace)'s operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
114
114


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
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Origin: Imperial Japan
Year: 1944
Type: Torpedo Bomber / Dive Bomber
Manufacturer(s): Aichi Kokuki KK - Japan
Production: 114
Status: Retired, Out-of-Service
Global Operators:
Imperial Japan
Historical Commitments / Honors:

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Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
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Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Aichi B7A Ryusei (Grace) model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
2


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
37.73 ft


Meters
11.5 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
47.24 ft


Meters
14.4 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
13.35 ft


Meters
4.07 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
8,378 lb


Kilograms
3,800 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
14,330 lb


Kilograms
6,500 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Nakajima NK9C Homare 12 series 18-cylinder radial engine developing 2,000 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
351 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
565 kph


Knots
305 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
1,889 mi


Kilometers
3,040 km


Nautical Miles
1,641 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
36,909 ft


Meters
11,250 m


Miles
6.99 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
1,890 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
576 m/min

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Graphical image of an aircraft aerial torpedo
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Armament - Hardpoints (2):

STANDARD:
2 x 20mm Type 99 cannons in wings
1 x 7,92mm Type 1 OR 13mm Type 2 machine gun in rear cockpit position.

OPTIONAL:
Up to 1,765lbs of drop ordnance including 1 x "Long Lance" torpedo.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• B7A "Ryusei" - Base Series Designation
• B7A1 - Prototype designation; nine examples completed.
• B7A2 - IJN production bomber designation
• B7A2X - Experimental mount fitted with Nakajima Jomare 23 series radial piston engine of 1,490 horsepower; single example of B7A2 model.
• B7A3 - Proposed variant fitting Mitsubishi MK9A engine of 2,200 horsepower; not produced.