×
Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Infantry Arms Warships & Submarines Military Pay Scale Military Ranks
HOME
AIRCRAFT / AVIATION
MODERN AIR FORCES
COUNTRIES
MANUFACTURERS
COMPARE
BY CONFLICT
BY TYPE
BY DECADE
WORLD WAR 2

Nakajima J1N1 Gekko (Irving)


Reconnaissance Aircraft / Night-Fighter / Heavy Fighter (1942)


Aviation / Aerospace

1 / 20
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
2 / 20
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
3 / 20
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
4 / 20
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
5 / 20
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
6 / 20
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
7 / 20
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
8 / 20
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
9 / 20
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
10 / 20
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
11 / 20
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
12 / 20
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
13 / 20
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
14 / 20
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
15 / 20
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
16 / 20
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
17 / 20
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
18 / 20
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
19 / 20
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
20 / 20
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.

Jump-to: Specifications

The Nakajima J1N1 Gekko served several roles in the Imperial Japanese Navy of World War 2 including reconnaissance, night-fighter, and kamikaze strikes.



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 02/01/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.
Advertisements
Many of the participating air powers of World War 2 (1939-1945) adopted twin-engine "heavy fighter" designs intended to provide greater range than that of a single-engine fighters of the period while proving capable of carrying greater armament loads. In this way, these designs could be used to counter enemy fighters one-on-one, escort allied bombers, or intercept incoming enemy bombers as required. The Germans had already found success with their twin-engine Messerschmitt Bf 110 and the British with their de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito. For the Empire of Japan, the Nakajima J1N1 "Gekko" (translating to "Moonlight") stood out as a fine twin engine heavy fighter example that went on to find several uses during the conflict. Its initial service tenure was as a three-man long-endurance reconnaissance platform until it became a short-term success as a night fighter when properly equipped and its crew reduced. By the end of the war, the role of the Gekko was reduced to bomb-laden suicide aircraft for kamikaze attacks against the Allies in the Pacific theater.

Origins of the Gekko were in a 1938 IJN (Imperial Japanese Navy) requirement for a twin-engine heavy fighter suitable for long endurance sorties as escorts for bomber aircraft. Success shown by the German Bf 110 design furthered thinking into a twin-engine heavy type for the needed operational ranges and armament suite. The Nakajima Aircraft Company went ahead with a prototype fitting Sakae series radial engines to low-wing monoplane wings along a smooth fuselage. Its crew numbered three and the undercarriage was the "tail dragger" arrangement. The tail unit utilized a single vertical tail fin and low-mounted horizontal planes. Armament became 1 x 20mm Type 99 cannon with 2 x 7.7mm Type 97 machine guns. A turret fitting an additional 4 x 7.7mm machine guns was also featured. The aircraft was designated J1N1.

In testing, the prototype failed to impress as an escort platform and modified for the reconnaissance role instead as the J1N1-C. Service entry, although slow, began in April 1942 and first actions against Allied forces was over the Solomon Islands to which the type was then given the codename of "Irving" by the enemy. The J1N1-C gave good service in its intended role for the interim as the Japanese still maintained the advantage in the Pacific theater.

However, fortunes for the Empire changed as night attacks on important positions increased. In 1943, Japanese Commander Yasuna Kozono of the 251st Kokutai had developed the idea of outfitting the J1N1 with heavier armament. This led to 2 x 20mm cannons being installed at the observer's cockpit, angled 30-degrees upwards to fire into the vulnerable underside of an unsuspecting enemy bomber. A J1N1-C was quickly modified in-the-field and testing in action successfully when two allied heavy bombers were downed. With more J1N1-C models modified in similar fashion, the J1N1-C KAI designation was born - these aircraft carrying an armament suite of 4 x 20mm Type 99 cannon in two upward- and two downward-firing mountings.

IJN authorities became aware of the successful modification and ordered Nakajima to quickly produce dedicated night fighter forms which begat the J1N1-S designation. This design saw its original crew of three reduced to two and the observer's position faired over. Production began as soon as possible in August of 1943 and ran until December of 1944.

In practice, the J1N1-S night fighters proved their worth against the lower-flying and slower-moving American bombers like the Consolidated B-24 Liberator. J1N1-S aircraft soon carried basic radar and search lights for night time scanning, Their downward-firing 20mm cannons were soon found to be rarely used in action and were appropriately deleted. With the introduction of the higher-flying Boeing B-29 Superfortress by the Americans, Gekko night fighters did not fare as well. Several kills of the large bombers were managed by Gekko crews but on the whole the type was outmatched. Even the addition of another 20mm cannon (to produce the J1N1-Sa mark) could not generate success.

With their wartime usefulness more or less over, and the crumbling war effort in Japan, the Gekko was fitted with bomb racks to employ a pair of 550 lb drop bombs to serve in the kamikaze role. These aircraft saw service into August 1945.

Other variants of the line included the J1N1-R which featured a 20mm Type 99 cannon in a dorsal turret and 1 x rear-firing 13mm Type 2 machine gun. These were later redesignated as J1N1-F.

Specifications



Service Year
1942

Origin
Imperial Japan national flag graphic
Imperial Japan

Status
RETIRED
Not in Service.
Crew
2

Production
479
UNITS


Nakajima - Japan
National flag of modern Japan Imperial Japan
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Air-to-Air Combat, Fighter
General ability to actively engage other aircraft of similar form and function, typically through guns, missiles, and/or aerial rockets.
Ground Attack (Bombing, Strafing)
Ability to conduct aerial bombing of ground targets by way of (but not limited to) guns, bombs, missiles, rockets, and the like.
Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.


Length
41.9 ft
(12.77 m)
Width/Span
55.7 ft
(16.98 m)
Height
15.0 ft
(4.56 m)
Empty Wgt
10,670 lb
(4,840 kg)
MTOW
18,045 lb
(8,185 kg)
Wgt Diff
+7,374 lb
(+3,345 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Nakajima J1N1-S Gekko (Irving) production variant)
Installed: 2 x Nakajima NK1F "Sakae 21" 14-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engines developing 1,130 horsepower each driving three-bladed propeller units.
Max Speed
314 mph
(505 kph | 273 kts)
Ceiling
30,577 ft
(9,320 m | 6 mi)
Range
981 mi
(1,578 km | 2,922 nm)
Rate-of-Climb
1,726 ft/min
(526 m/min)


♦ 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


(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the Nakajima J1N1-S Gekko (Irving) production variant. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database. View aircraft by powerplant type)
STANDARD:
2 OR 3 x 20mm Type 99 cannons fixed to fire upward and forward (obliquely).
2 x 20mm Type 99 cannons fixed to fire downward and forward (removed in later models).

OPTIONAL:
1 x 20mm cannon in a forward-fixed firing position (J1N1-Sa).
2 x 551lb bombs (for kamikaze role).


Supported Types


Graphical image of an aircraft automatic cannon
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition


(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 2


J1N1 "Gekko" - Base Series Designation; prototype.
J1N1-C - Long-range reconnaissance model.
J1N1-C KAI - J1N1-C production models converted to night-fighters.
J1N1-R
J1N1-F - Redesignation of J1N1-R mark.
J1N1-S - Dedicated night-fighter variant.
J1N1-Sa - Dedicated night-fighter variant; additional 20mm gun fitted.


Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
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 representing modern aircraft
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 War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft


Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective aerial campaigns / operations / aviation periods.

Advertisements





Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies


2022 Military Pay Scale Army Ranks Navy Ranks Air Force Ranks Alphabet Code DoD Dictionary American War Deaths French Military Victories Vietnam War Casualties

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org, the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft, and SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane.


Facebook Logo YouTube Logo

www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-