Aichi B7A Ryusei


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The Aichi B7A Ryusei (流星, Ryūsei, "Shooting Star", Allied reporting name "Grace") was a large and powerful carrier-borne torpedo-dive bomber produced by Aichi Kokuki for the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service during the Second World War. Built in only small numbers and deprived of the aircraft carriers it was intended to operate from, the type had little chance to distinguish itself in combat before the war ended in August 1945.

In June 1944, the Taihō was the only Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft carrier then modern enough to operate the B7A Ryusei in its intended role. Other Japanese carriers lacked the modern arresting gear necessary to assist the recovery of aircraft weighing over 4000 kg. However, Taiho was sunk during the Battle of the Philippine Sea before enough B7As were even available to embark. Afterward, the B7A was relegated to operating from land bases, primarily with the Yokosuka and 752nd Air Groups. The Japanese completed only one other carrier capable of operating the B7A, the Shinano, which was sunk by an American submarine in November 1944, just ten days after being commissioned.

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