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Yokosuka P1Y1 Ginga (Frances)


Light-Medium Bomber / Dive Bomber / Torpedo Bomber / Night-Fighter


Imperial Japan | 1944



"A late entry into World War 2 for the Japanese Navy, the Yokosuka P1Y failed to make much of an impact despite over 1,000 examples produced."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 08/06/2021 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
Flag of Image from the Public Domain.
Firepower
Performance
Survivability
Versatility
Impact
The twin-engine combat platform proved popular with the forces of the Japanese Empire during World War 2 (1939-1945) - they offered capable bomb loads, strong performance, and the operational ranges needed to cover the vast reaches of the Pacific. One mid-war twin-engine bomber development became the Yokosuka P1Y "Ginga" (meaning "Galaxy") which was developed for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) but intended for service from established land bases. Production reached 1,102 units before war's end. The Allies codenamed the bomber "Frances".

The Yokosuka Naval Air Technical Arsenal pushed for a new modern combining the operational range, firepower, and performance of the best platforms then available to the IJN. In additional to conventional level bombing, it was thought to include a capability for dive bombing and torpedo bombing to make for a more multi-faceted battlefield performer. Engineers elected for a conventional monoplane design form incorporating the two engines at each wing leading edge. The nose section of the aircraft was glazed for good vision out-of-the-cockpit and for bombing. The wing mainplanes were mid-mounted appendages and the tail given a traditional single-rudder form. A "tail-dragger" undercarriage was used. The operating crew would number three. Dimensions included a length of 49 feet, a wingspan of 65.5 feet and a height of 14 feet. Empty weight was 16,000lb against a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of 29,765lb.

The engines were 2 x Nakajima NK9C "Homare 12" series 18-cylinder radial piston engines of 1,825 horsepower each. Performance specifications included a maximum speed of 340 miles per hour, a cruising speed of 230 miles per hour, a range out to 3,340 miles, and a service ceiling up to 30,840 feet.

Beyond the internal bombload of 2,205lb (or 1 x 1,800lb torpedo), the aircraft typically carried defensive armament in the form of 1 x 20mm Type 99 cannon in the nose and 1 x 13mm Type 2 heavy machine gun facing aft on a trainable mounting).

A first-flight of a P1Y prototype occurred during August 1943 and this led to a contract order for 1,002 aircraft which came from Nakajima factories. Twelve total prototypes were eventually constructed testing and mainly carried the Homare 11 series radial. Production yielded variants from the original P1Y1 with Homare 11 or Homare 12 engines to the thirty P1Y1 ground attack forms (these fitted 20 x 20mm Type 99 cannons to specifically target American B-29s on the ground). A non-flying ground replica for decoy purposes was also built under the "MXY10" designator. Production peaked in 1944 with 620 examples of all variants delivered and a further 434 followed during the first half of 1945.

Introduction of the P1Y was during October 1944 and the type saw combat service until the end of the war in August of 1945. By this time, the Japanese situation had deteriorated enough to showcase the P1Y bombers as kamikaze weapons against Allied warships. This proved the case during the Okinawa assault that helped pave the way for the Japanese surrender. At the end of the war, at least three P1Y examples were delivered to the United States for testing.

One notable offshoot of the P1Y program became the P1Y2 "Kyokko" ("Aurora") which was a night-fighter / night-intruder version of the original. Kawanishi handled manufacture of 96 of this aircraft which carried Mitsubishi Kasei engines (due to the growing scarcity of the Homare engines) and were fitted with radar kits. Armament included an oblique-firing system which allowed for attacking bombers from their more vulnerable bellies. However, this design failed to produce the needed performance to assail enemy Boeing B-29 Superfortresses and were therefore reconfigured to their traditional bomber roles before the end.

Over twenty IJN squadrons fielded the P1Y including the 302nd Kokutai which became the sole night-fighter group.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Yokosuka P1Y1a Light-Medium Bomber / Dive Bomber / Torpedo Bomber / Night-Fighter.
2 x Nakajima NK9C Homare 12 18-cylinder radial piston engines developing 1,825 horsepower each driving three-bladed propeller units.
Propulsion
342 mph
550 kph | 297 kts
Max Speed
30,840 ft
9,400 m | 6 miles
Service Ceiling
3,337 miles
5,370 km | 2,900 nm
Operational Range
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Yokosuka P1Y1a Light-Medium Bomber / Dive Bomber / Torpedo Bomber / Night-Fighter.
3
(MANNED)
Crew
49.2 ft
15.00 m
O/A Length
65.6 ft
(20.00 m)
O/A Width
14.1 ft
(4.30 m)
O/A Height
16,017 lb
(7,265 kg)
Empty Weight
29,762 lb
(13,500 kg)
MTOW
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
RANGE
ALT
SPEED
Armament
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Yokosuka P1Y1 Ginga (Frances) Light-Medium Bomber / Dive Bomber / Torpedo Bomber / Night-Fighter provided across 4 hardpoints.
STANDARD:
1 x 20mm Type 99 cannon in nose position.
1 x 13mm Type 2 heavy machine gun in rear-facing trainable position.

OPTIONAL:
Up to 2.205lb of conventional drop stores OR 1 x 1,800lb torpedo.


X
X
X
X
Hardpoints Key:


Centerline
Wingroot(L)
Wingroot(R)
Wing
Wingtip
Internal
Not Used
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Yokosuka P1Y1 Ginga (Frances) family line.
P1Y1 "Ginga" - Base Series Designation; medium bomber form.
P1Y1a - Nakajima Homare 12 engines; 1 x 13mm machine gun in aft-facing position.
P1Y1b - Developed from P1Y1a; Nakajima Homare 12 engines; 2 x 13mm machine guns in aft-facing position.
P1Y1c - Developed from P1Y1b; Nakajima Homare 12 engines; 1 x 13mm defensive machine gun; single example completed.
P1Y1 Model 11 - Night-fighter development based on P1Y1; 2 x 20mm Type 99 cannons.
P1Y1-S - Night-fighter development; 4 x 20mm cannons in two obliquely-angled positions, one fitted fore and the other aft of cockpit; 1 x 13mm machine gun in aft position for defense.
P1Y1 Attacker - Ground attack model; 20 x 20mm Type 99 cannons in ventral bay; 30 examples completed.
P1Y2-S "Kyokko" - Night-fighter variant; 96 examples built from the P1Y1.
P1Y2 - Developed from P1Y2-S nigth-fighter; Mitsubishi Kasei 25 engines.
P1Y2a - Developed from P1Y1a; Mitsubishi Kasei 25 engines.
P1Y2b - Developed from P1Y1b; Mitsubishi Kasei 25 engines.
P1Y2c - Developed from P1Y1c; Mitsubishi Kasei 25 engines.
P1Y3 - Developed from P1Y1; Nakajima Homare 21 engines.
P1Y4 - Developed from P1Y1; Nakajima Homare 23 engines
P1Y5 - Developed from P1Y1; Mitsubishi Ha-43 engines
P1Y6 - Developed from P1Y2; Mitsubishi Kasai 25 engines
Model 33 - Long-range bomber variant; 4-person crew and bombload of 3,000kg; not pursued.
"Tenga" - Proposed jet-powered bomber form of 1945
MXY10 - Decoy bomber; non-flying
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Yokosuka P1Y1 Ginga (Frances). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 1,102 Units

Contractor(s): Yokosuka Naval Air Technical Arsenal / Nakajima / Kawanishi - Imperial Japan
National flag of modern Japan

[ Imperial Japan ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (342mph).

Graph Average of 300 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
1102
36183
44000
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
EarlyYrs
WWI
Interwar
WWII
ColdWar
Postwar
Modern
Future
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Image of the Yokosuka P1Y1 Ginga (Frances)
Image from the Public Domain.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
AIR-TO-AIR COMBAT
GROUND ATTACK
ANTI-SHIP
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Similar
Developments of similar form-and-function, or related, to the Yokosuka P1Y1 Ginga (Frances) Light-Medium Bomber / Dive Bomber / Torpedo Bomber / Night-Fighter.
Going Further...
The Yokosuka P1Y1 Ginga (Frances) Light-Medium Bomber / Dive Bomber / Torpedo Bomber / Night-Fighter appears in the following collections:
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