Yokosuka D4Y Suisei

The Yokosuka D4Y Suisei is a two-seat carrier-based dive bomber.

Operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy from 1942 to 1945 during World War II.

Development of the aircraft began in 1938.

The first D4Y1 was complete in November 1940 and made its maiden flight at Yokosuka the following month.

While the aircraft was originally conceived as a dive bomber, the D4Y was used in other roles including reconnaissance, night fighter and special attack (kamikaze).

It made its combat debut as a reconnaissance aircraft when two pre-production D4Y1-Cs embarked aboard the Sōryū to take part in the Battle of Midway in 1942.

It was not until March 1943 that it was accepted for use as a dive bomber.

The early D4Y1 and D4Y2 featured the liquid-cooled Aichi Atsuta engine, a licensed version of the German Daimler-Benz DB 601, while the later D4Y3 and D4Y4 featured the Mitsubishi MK8P Kinsei radial engine.

Like many other Japanese aircraft of the time, the D4Y lacked armor and self-sealing fuel tanks and it was not until the final variant, the D4Y4, that the aircraft was given bulletproof glass and armor protection for the crew and fuel tanks.

Nevertheless, the D4Y was one of the fastest dive bombers of the war.

Only the delays in its development hindered its service while its predecessor, the slower fixed-gear Aichi D3A, remained in service much longer than intended.

Famously, a D4Y was used in one of the final kamikaze attacks in 1945, hours after the surrender of Japan, with Vice Admiral Matome Ugaki in the rear cockpit.


D4Y1 Experimental Type 13 carrier dive-bomber 

5 prototypes were produced.

3 and 4 were rebuilt to reconnaissance plane and carried on aircraft carrier Sōryū.

D4Y1-C Type 2 reconnaissance aircraft Model 11 

Reconnaissance version produced at Aichi’s Nagoya factory.

Developed on 7 July 1942.

D4Y1 Suisei Model 11 

First batch of serial produced dive bomber aircraft.

Powered by 895 kW (1,200 hp) Aichi AE1A Atsuta 12 engine.

Developed in December 1943.

D4Y1 KAI Suisei Model 21

D4Y1 with catapult equipment for battleship Ise and Hyūga.

Developed on 17 March 1944.

D4Y2 Suisei Model 12 

1,044 kW (1,400 hp) Aichi AE1P Atsuta 32 engine adopted.

Developed in October 1944.

D4Y2a Suisei Model 12A 

D4Y2 with the rear cockpit 13 mm (.51 in) machine gun.

Developed in November 1944.

D4Y2a KAI Suisei Model 22A 

D4Y2a with catapult equipment for battleship Ise and Hyūga.

D4Y2-S Suisei Model 12E

Night fighter version of the D4Y2 with bomb equipment removed and a 20 mm upward-firing cannon installed.

D4Y2 KAI Suisei Model 22 

D4Y2 with catapult equipment for battleship Ise and Hyūga.

D4Y2-R Type 2 reconnaissance aircraft Model 12 

Reconnaissance version of the D4Y2.

Developed in October 1944.

D4Y2a-R Type 2 reconnaissance aircraft Model 12A 

D4Y2-R with the rear cockpit 13 mm (.51 in) machine gun.

D4Y3 Suisei Model 33 

Land-based bomber variant.

1,163 kW (1,560 hp) Mitsubishi Kinsei 62 radial engine adopted.

Removed tail hook also.

D4Y3a Suisei Model 33A 

D4Y3 with the rear cockpit 13 mm (.51 in) machine gun.

D4Y3 Suisei Model 33 night-fighter variant 

Temporary rebuilt night-fighter version.

Two planes were converted from D4Y3, Equipment was a 20 mm upward-firing cannon.

D4Y4 Suisei Model 43 

Final production variant.

Bomb load increased to 800 kg (1,760 lb) with the main bomb semi-recessed in the bomb bay.

It had 75 mm bullet-proof glass in front of the canopy, plus 5mm and 9mm thick armour plates fore and aft of the cockpit.

The fuel tanks were also given added protection, and the movable rear machine gun was removed.

The addition of five RATO boosters was considered: three in the lower-bottom part of the fuselage and two on both sides below the engine.

Generally, the D4Y4 is often recognized as being purpose-built for special attack operations.

D4Y5 Suisei Model 54

Planned version with Nakajima Homare radial engine, four-blade propeller, and more armour protection.





10.22 m (33 ft 6 in)


11.5 m (37 ft 9 in)


3.74 m (12 ft 3 in)

Wing area

23.6 m2 (254 sq ft)

Empty weight

2,440 kg (5,379 lb)

Gross weight

4,250 kg (9,370 lb)


1 × Aichi Atsuta AE1P 32,

V-12 inverted liquid-cooled piston engine,

1,000 kW (1,400 hp)


Maximum speed

550 km/h (340 mph, 300 kn)


1,465 km (910 mi, 791 nmi)

Service ceiling

10,700 m (35,100 ft)

Rate of climb

14 m/s (2,800 ft/min)

Wing loading

180 kg/m2 (37 lb/sq ft)


025 kW/kg (15 hp/lb)



2× forward-firing 7.7 mm Type 97 aircraft machine guns

1× rearward-firing 7.92 mm Type 1 machine gun


500 kg (1,100 lb) of bombs (design)

800 kg (1,800 lb) of bombs.


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