Mitsubishi J2M

The Mitsubishi J2M Raiden (Allied codename identification: Jack) was a single-engine, land-based fighter aircraft used by the Imperial Japanese Navy in World War II. The J2M was designed by Jiro Horikoshi, creator of the Mitsubishi A6M. It was a local-defense interceptor intended to counter the threat of high-altitude bomber raids, relying on speed, climb performance and armament at the expense of maneuverability. 


Mitsubishi J2M
Class Aircraft
Type Fighter
Manufacturer Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation
Origin Japan
Country Name Origin Year
Japan 1942
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Japan 1942 1945 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation 621 View

The first few produced J2M2 were delivered to the development units in December 1942 but severe problems were encountered with the engines. Trials and improvements took almost a year and the first batch of the serial built J2M2 Model 11 was delivered in December 1943. The Raiden made its combat debut in September 1944 during the Battle of the Philippine Sea. The primary duty of the Raiden-equipped units was intercepting the B-29 Superfortress flying over the Japanese home islands. The J2M remained in service until the end of the Second World War.

The first few produced J2M2s were delivered to the development units in December 1942 but severe problems were encountered with the engines. Trials and improvements took almost a year and the first batch of the serial built J2M2 Model 11 was delivered to 381st Kokutai in December 1943. Parallel with the J2M2, production of the J2M3 Raiden Model 21 started. The first J2M3s appeared in October 1943 but deliveries to combat units started at the beginning of February 1944.

The Raiden made its combat debut in June 1944 during the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Several J2Ms operated from Guam and Saipan and a small number of aircraft were deployed to the Philippines. Later, some J2Ms were based in Chosen airfields, Genzan (Wonsan), Ranan (Nanam), Funei (Nuren), Rashin (Najin) and Konan under Genzan Ku, for defence of these areas and fighting against Soviet Naval Aviation units.

Primarily designed to defend against the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, the lack of a turbocharger handicapped the aircraft at high altitude. However, its four-cannon armament supplied effective firepower and the use of dive and zoom tactics allowed it to score occasionally. Insufficient numbers and the American switch to night bombing in March 1945 limited its effectiveness.

Two captured J2Ms were U.S. Technical Air Intelligence Command (TAIC) tested using 92 octane fuel plus methanol, with the J2M2 (Jack11) achieving a speed of 655 km/h (407 mph) at 5,520 m (17,400 ft), and J2M3 (Jack21) achieving a speed of 671 km/h (417 mph) at 4,980 m (16,600 ft).

General characteristics

  • Crew: one, pilot
  • Length: 9.95 m (32 ft 8 in)
  • Wingspan: 10.80 m (35 ft 5 in)
  • Height: 3.94 m (13 ft 0 in)
  • Wing area: 20 m (216 ft)
  • Empty weight: 2,839 kg (6,259 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 3,482 kg (7,676 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 x Mitsubishi MK4U-4 Kasei 26a 14-cylinder radial engine, 1,358 kW (1,820 hp)

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 615 km/h (382 mph)
  • Range: 560 km (348 miles)
  • Service ceiling 11,250 m (36,910 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 1,170 m/min (3,838 ft/min)
  • Wing loading: 174 kg/m (35 lb/ft)
  • Power/mass: 0.39 kW/kg (0.24 hp/lb)

Armament

  • 4 x 20 mm Type 99-2 cannon in the wings, two in each wing, approx 200 rpg.
  • 2 x 60 kg (132 lb) bombs or 2 x 200 litre drop tanks.

End notes