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Mitsubishi J2M Raiden (Jack)


Interceptor


Imperial Japan | 1942



"The Mitsubishi J2M series Raiden became Japan's first dedicated interceptor of World War 2 when introduced in 1942."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/05/2016 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The J2M Raiden (translating to "Thunderbolt" and codenamed "Jack" by the Allies) was primarily used as a local defense fighter / interceptor by the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). The aircraft was developed to combat the growing threat of high-flying American bombers - primarily the new Boeing B-29 "Superfortresses" being used during daylight raids over Japan. The J2M's design was attributed to Jiro Horikoshi, famous engineer of the fabled A6M "Zero" IJN fighter aircraft that provided near-complete air dominance for the Empire during the early years of the war. Introduced in December of 1942, the Raiden fought on well into 1945 (the final year of World War 2) where it was eventually retired from service in August with the fall of the Japanese Empire itself.

Design of the J2M was traditional, with the cockpit seated in the middle of the stubby fuselage, a single vertical fin at rear and the powerplant up hled up front. Wings were rounded monoplanes and low-mounted just forward and under the cockpit seating area, which had accommodations for a single pilot. The engine was of a Mitsubishi design, an MK4R-A Kasei 23a 14-cylinder 2-row radial piston engine, developing 1,800 horsepower.

As an interceptor, the J2M design centered around a powerful armament array. This consisted of 4 x 20mm Type 99-2 cannons in the wings. Fuel drop tanks could added for increased range at the expense of weight and performance. By all accounts, the Raiden offered up poor visibility for the pilot but made up for it in performance, firepower and rate of climb - factors vital in the success of any interceptor of the time. Production of the Raiden totaled some 621 aircraft and covered six variants from J2M1 through J2M6.

Initially, the service models of the J2M were plagued by engine issues that limited the reach of the aircraft, delaying outright production by up to a year or more. Some J2M's fought on in the Battle of Philippine Sea but were mostly relegated to homeland defense as the war progressed. Their use became increasingly light as the Americans would adapt to nighttime bombing raids, effectively rendering further development of the J2M's a moot point.

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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 Mitsubishi J2M3 Raiden (Jack) Interceptor.
1 x Mitsubishi MK4R-A Kasei 23a 14-cylinder 2-row radial piston engine developing 1,820 horsepower.
Propulsion
370 mph
595 kph | 321 kts
Max Speed
38,386 ft
11,700 m | 7 miles
Service Ceiling
656 miles
1,055 km | 570 nm
Operational Range
3,838 ft/min
1,170 m/min
Rate-of-Climb
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 Mitsubishi J2M3 Raiden (Jack) Interceptor.
1
(MANNED)
Crew
32.6 ft
9.95 m
O/A Length
35.5 ft
(10.82 m)
O/A Width
13.0 ft
(3.95 m)
O/A Height
5,423 lb
(2,460 kg)
Empty Weight
8,697 lb
(3,945 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 Mitsubishi J2M Raiden (Jack) Interceptor .
STANDARD:
4 x 20mm Type 99-2 cannons in wings

OPTIONAL:
2 x 132 lb (60 kg) conventional drop bombs OR 2 x jettisonable fuel drop tanks
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Mitsubishi J2M Raiden (Jack) family line.
J2M1 - Prototype Model Designation; fitted with Mitsubishi MK4C Kasei 13 14-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine of 1,400 horsepower; 2 x 7.7mm Type 97 machine guns in fuselage and 2 x 20mm Type 99 Model II cannons in wings.
J2M1 Model 11 - Similar to J2M1; fitted with Mitsubishi MK4R-A Kasei 23a 14-cylinder radial piston engine of 1,820 horsepower.
J2M3 Model 21 - Fitted with Mitsubishi MK4R-A Kasei 23a engine; 2 x 20mm Type 99 Model II cannons in wings and 2 x 20mm Type 99 Model I cannons in wings.
J2M3a Model 21A - Fitted with Mitsubishi MK4R-A Kasei 23a engine; 4 x 20mm Type 99 Model II cannons in wings.
J2M4 Model 32 - Prototype Model; fitted with Mitsubishi MK4R-C Kasei 23c engine of 1,820 horsepower; 2 x 20mm Type 99 Model I cannons at oblique angle in fuselage and 2 x 20mm Type 99 Model 2 cannons in wings.
J2M5 Model 33 - Fitted with turbocharged Mitsubishi MK4U-A Kasei26a series engine of 1,820 horsepower; short range; improved performance model; 2 x 20mm Type 99 cannons in fuselage and 2 x Type 99 Model II cannons in wings.
J2M5a Model 33a - 4 x 20mm Type 99 Model II cannons in wings.
J2M6 Model 31 - Based on the J2M3 model; redesigned cockpit and canopy.
J2M6a Model 31A - Based on the J2M3a model; redesigned cockpit and canopy; single example produced.
J2M7 Model 23A - Proposed Model based on the J2M3; fitted with Kasei 26a series engine.
J2M7a Model 23A - Proposed Model based on the J2M3a; fitted with Kasei 26a series engine.
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Mitsubishi J2M Raiden (Jack). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 621 Units

Contractor(s): Mitsubishi - Japan
National flag of Indonesia National flag of modern Japan

[ Imperial Japan; Indonesia ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (370mph).

Graph Average of 300 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
621
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
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Future
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Image of the Mitsubishi J2M Raiden (Jack)
Image granted from user David M via email.
2 / 2
Image of the Mitsubishi J2M Raiden (Jack)
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.
INTERCEPTION
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Mitsubishi J2M Raiden (Jack) Interceptor appears in the following collections:
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