D3A file photo [2177]


ManufacturerAichi Kokuki KK
Primary RoleDive Bomber
Maiden Flight1 January 1938


ww2dbaseThe D3A Navy Type 99 dive bombers were introduced to the Japanese Navy admirals in Dec 1937 after a request for such an attack aircraft in the summer of 1936. The initial tests done in Jan 1938 were rather disappointing; naval experts deemed the aircraft underpowered and unstable. It took a modification in the design for the D3A to barely win the contract over competitor Nakajima's D3N. The first major combat the D3As saw was no other than the Pearl Harbor attack that started the Pacific War. Through the successful Japanese conquest of the Pacific Ocean in the following six months, D3A dive bombers, by now code named Val by Allied airmen, became among the most dreaded sights for opposing sailors. During the Indian Ocean Raid of Apr 1942 for example, 80% of the bombload dropped by D3As against British cruisers Cornwall and Dorsetshire and carrier Hermes found their targets, causing devastation. In Jun 1942, D3As were produced with a more powerful engine, adding more power but reducing range, so many of them began carrying additional fuel tanks to make up for the difference. Later on in the war, Yokosuka D4Y Suisei dive bombers replaced them as the standard dive bombers of the Navy, and many D3As were transferred onto smaller carriers, to land-based units, or back to Japan as trainers. Some of these aircraft saw one last mission as kamikaze in the final year of the war.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Oct 2006

D3A Timeline

7 Dec 1941 Destroyer USS Helm patrolling off Honolulu harbor was straddled by two 100-pound bombs dropped from an Aichi D3A1 'Val' bomber that caused minor structural damage.


MachineryOne Mitsubishi Kinsei 3 14-cylinder air-cooled radial engine rated at 840hp2x
Armament3x7.7mm Type 97 machine guns, 1x250kg bomb, 2x60kg bombs
Span14.37 m
Length10.20 m
Height3.85 m
Wing Area34.90 m²
Weight, Empty2,408 kg
Weight, Loaded3,650 kg
Speed, Maximum387 km/h
Speed, Cruising296 km/h
Service Ceiling9,300 m
Range, Normal1,472 km

MachineryOne Mitsubishi Kinsei 54 14-cylinder air-cooled radial engine rated at 1,300hp
Armament3x7.7mm Type 97 machine guns, 1x250kg bomb, 2x60kg bombs
Span14.37 m
Length10.20 m
Height3.85 m
Wing Area34.90 m²
Weight, Empty2,570 kg
Weight, Loaded3,800 kg
Speed, Maximum430 km/h
Speed, Cruising296 km/h
Rate of Climb8.62 m/s
Service Ceiling10,500 m
Range, Normal1,352 km


D3A dive bomber in flight, date unknownD3A dive bomber of carrier Akagi in flight, date unknownD3A dive bombers prepared for take off from an airfield, date unknownA6m and D3A aircraft prepared to launch from Shokaku to attack Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii, 7 Dec 1941, photo 1 of 3
See all 35 photographs of D3A Dive Bomber

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More on D3A
Notable Figure:
» Kobayashi, Michio

Notable Event:
» Attack on Pearl Harbor

D3A Dive Bomber Photo Gallery
D3A dive bomber in flight, date unknown
See all 35 photographs of D3A Dive Bomber

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