Aichi B7A Ryusei (Grace) History

The Aichi-produced B7A "Meteor" (translated by the Allies as "Meteor" and named by the Allies as "Grace") was a limited edition torpedo/dive bomber (IJN) used by the Imperial Japanese Navy in later years in service during World War II. Unfortunately, since the Japanese Navy had no viable carrier options when the B7A was introduced, the aircraft arrived too late to deploy.

With only 114 production aircraft, the series became a neglected Aichi wartime design that never had a chance to fulfill its potential as a new, state-of-the-art carrier-based torpedo/dive bomb platform.

Back in 1941, the B7A Ryusei was developed to meet the new requirements of the Japanese Navy for a carrier-based torpedo/dive bomber. At this point, the Japanese Navy is all but paralyzed by its strategically vital aircraft carriers on the Pacific coast, which the B7A will see limited use at land-based airfields.

The heart of the Aichi B7A Ryusei is a single-engine, two-seater, low-profile monoplane. The dorsal arrangement allows for a single 1,764-pound torpedo or equivalent standard throwing weapon.

In addition, two forward-facing fixed 20mm cannons are mounted on the front wing edges, while a defensively aimed 7.92mm or 13mm machine gun is mounted on a flexible bracket in the rear cockpit position for additional defense.

Power is provided by a Nakajima NK9C Homare 12-type, 18-cylinder, air-cooled, radial piston engine with 1,825 horsepower, a top speed of 352 mph, a range of up to 1,890 miles, and a service ceiling of 36,910 feet. The engine drives a four-bladed propeller assembly.

Dimensions include 37' 8" length, 47' 3" wingspan and 13' 5" height. Since the B7A is intended for carrier service, it is equipped with a full folding wing section to allow folding on space-constrained IJN aircraft carriers.

The prototype was identified as the B7A1, and a total of nine were produced. The B7A2 designation indicates IJN's production-quality bomber, of which 105 have been built. One model was used as an experimental product to match the Nakajima Homare 23 series engine.

The B7A3 designation is a proposed brand with a Mitsubishi MK9A (Ha-43) engine - none of which was built.

Aichi B7A Ryusei (Grace) Specification

BASICS

Year:
1944
Status:
Retired, Out-of-Service
Crew:
2

MANUFACTURING

[ 114 Units ] :
Aichi Kokuki KK - Japan

ROLES

- Ground Attack

DIMENSIONS

Length:

37. 73 ft (11. 5 m)

Width/Span:

47. 24 ft (14. 4 m)

Height:

13. 35 ft (4. 07 m)

WEIGHTS

Empty Weight:

8,378 lb (3,800 kg)

MTOW:

14,330 lb (6,500 kg)

(Diff: +5,952lb)

POWER

1 x Nakajima NK9C Homare 12-series 18-cylinder radial piston air-cooled engine producing 2,000 hp driving a four-bladed propeller unit on the nose.

PERFORMANCE

Maximum Speed:

351 mph (565 kph; 305 kts)

Service Ceiling:

36,909 feet (11,250 m; 6. 99 miles)

Maximum Range:

1,889 miles (3,040 km; 1,641 nm)

Rate-of-Climb:

1,890 ft/min (576 m/min)

ARMAMENT

STANDARD:

2 x 20mm Type 99 cannons in wings (one gun per wing).

1 x 7,92mm Type 1 OR 13mm Type 2 air-cooled machine gun on trainable mounting in rear cockpit (aft-facing).

OPTIONAL:

Up to 1,765lb of drop-ordnance including 1 x "Long Lance" torpedo or conventional drop bombs (for dive bombing).

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.

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