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Role Dive bomber
National origin Japan
Manufacturer Nakajima Aircraft Company
First flight 1937
Number built 3

The Nakajima D3N (also designated Experimental 11-Shi Carrier Bomber and Nakajima DB) was a Japanese carrier-based dive bomber of the 1930s. Three prototypes were built for the Imperial Japanese Navy, but no production followed, with the Aichi D3A being selected instead.

Design and development[]

In 1936, the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service issued a specification for a carrier based dive bomber to replace the Aichi D1A,[1] a two-seat biplane developed from the German Heinkel He 66.[2] The new dive bomber was to be a low-wing monoplane, with proposals submitted by Aichi, Mitsubishi and Nakajima. Orders were placed with Aichi and Nakajima for prototypes in 1934.[1][3] Nakajima's design was based on its C3N and B5N that had been designed to meet 1935 requirements for a reconnaissance aircraft and torpedo bomber respectively, and like these aircraft, was a single-engined monoplane of all-metal construction with folding wings for storage aboard ship. It was powered by a single Nakajima Hikari nine-cylinder radial engine, rated at 660–820 horsepower (490–610 kW), and driving a two-bladed variable-pitch propeller. It had a retractable tailwheel undercarriage, in which the mainwheels were designed to be lowered for use as dive brakes, although more conventional dive brakes were added as a result of a change in the specification.[1]

The first prototype made its maiden flight in 1937, with the second and third prototypes flying in 1939.[1] Aichi's AM-17 proved superior however, and was ordered into production as the Aichi D3A in December 1939.[1][4]

The second prototype was retained by Nakajima and used as a testbed, helping in the development of the Nakajima Sakae and Homare engines, and remaining in use until 1945.[5]


Data from Japanese Aircraft 1910–1941[5]

General characteristics

  • Crew: two
  • Length: 8.80 m (28 ft 10 in)
  • Wingspan: 14.50 m (47 ft 7 in)
  • Height: 2.80 m (9 ft 2 in) (tail down)
  • Wing area: 34 m2 (370 sq ft)
  • Empty weight: 1,800 kg (3,968 lb)
  • Gross weight: 3,400 kg (7,496 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Nakajima Hikari 1-kai air-cooled radial engine, 610 kW (820 hp)


  • Maximum speed: 352 km/h; 219 mph (190 kn) at 3,000 m (9,800 ft)
  • Cruising speed: 140 km/h (87 mph; 76 kn)
  • Range: 1,519 km; 944 mi (820 nmi)
  • Endurance: 6 hours
  • Service ceiling: 7,000 m (22,966 ft)
  • Time to altitude: 8 minutes to 3,000 m (9,800 ft)


  • Guns: 2 × fixed forward firing 7.7 mm machine guns and 1 × flexibly mounted 7.7 mm gun in rear cockpit
  • Bombs: 1 × 250 kg (550 lb) and 2 × 30 kg (66 lb) bombs

See also[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Mikesh 1990, p. 237.
  2. Francillon 1970, pp. 268–269.
  3. Francillon 1970, p. 271.
  4. Francillon 1970, p. 273.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Mikesh and Abe 1990, p. 238.


  • Francillon, R. F. (1970). Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War. London: Putnam. ISBN 0-370-00033-1. 
  • Mikesh, Robert C.; Abe, Shorzoe (1990). Japanese Aircraft 1910–1941. London: Putnam Aeronautical Books. ISBN 0-85177-840-2. 

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