File: Japanese Military Aircraft
Report: Compiled by Calvin W. Lew
The code name system for Japanese aircraft originated in the Southwest Pacific theatre in the second half of 1942. Before Pearl Harbor, very little was known about Japanese military aircraft of any type, and it was widely assumed that most Japanese military aircraft were second-rate copies of obsolescent Western designs. It goes without saying that the first six months of the Pacific War showed just how wrong that view was!
The Allies were thus faced with a desperate need for accurate, up-to-date intelligence on the Japanese aircraft which were at that time riding roughshod over the entire Pacific theatre of operations. In June, 1942 Captain Frank T. McCoy of Nashville, Tennessee became head of the Material Section of the Directorate of Intelligence of the allied air forces in the entire Southwest Pacific area. His team was assigned the task of identifying and classifying Japanese aircraft.
Since Captain McCoy was from Tennessee, he initially assigned hillbilly names such as ZEKE, RUFE, NATE, and JAKE to Japanese aircraft--chosen so that they were short, simple, unusual, and easy to remember. 75 code names were assigned the first month. By September 1942, these names were in wide use throughout the entire Southwest Pacific. Shortly thereafter, they went into use throughout the entire Pacific.
These odd-sounding code names soon attracted attention from high-ranking military brass. Captain McCoy assigned to what later turned out to be a modified Zero the code name HAP, the nickname of General Henry H. ("Hap") Arnold, USAAF Chief of Staff. The General was NOT amused, and had Capt McCoy summoned before General MacArthur's chief of operations to explain what he was up to. Captain McCoy seems to have gotten himself out of this particular jam, but the name HAP was quietly changed to HAMP.
In the summer of 1944, a joint Army-Navy Air Technical Center in Washington took over responsibility for assigning the names.
The code names were alloted according to the following system:
Male first names: Fighters and reconnaissance seaplanes
Female first names: Bombers, attack bombers, dive bombers, Reconnaissance aircraft, Flying boats
Transports (names beginning with letter T).
Tree names: Trainers
Bird names: Gliders
However, there were some exceptions to the rule. The Ki-44 Shoki single-seat fighter was assigned the name TOJO.
Here is a list of code names. Supposedly it is complete, but I would appreciate being informed of any omissions.
ALLIED CODE NAMES FOR JAPANESE AIRCRAFT
Designator Code Name Manufacturer
FIGHTERS and RECONNAISSANCE SEA PLANES (Male first names):
A5M CLAUDE Mitsubishi Navy carrier-based single-seat fighter
A5M SANDY Mitsubishi Navy carrier-based fighter. Name given to a non-existent inverted-gull wing version of CLAUDE.
A6M Reisen (Zero Fighter)/BEN Mitsubishi Name briefly assigned to
Zero in CBI theatre.
A6M Reisen (Zero Fighter)/RAY Mitsubishi Name briefly assigned to Zero in CBI theatre.
A6M2 Reisen (Zero Fighter) Mitsubishi The Zero is the most recognizable of all Japanese aircraft, comprising almost all the fighter planes fielded by
Japan in World War II. It was exactly the state of the art at its introduction in 1940, but fell behind the technology power curve in mid-war. Its 1130-horsepower engines were no longer powerful enough to compete, and models with more powerful engines were not available until near war's end. Max speed was about 350 mph, and range in the thousand-mile bracket with drop tanks.
A6M5 Model 52Reisen (Zero Fighter)/ZEKE Mitsubishi Navy single-engined carrier- based fighter.
A6M2-N RUFE Nakajima Seaplane fighter version of Mitsubishi A6M2 Reisen.
A6M3 HAMP Mitsubishi Navy carrier-based fighter. First named HAP, then HAMP, then finally ZERO 32.
A7He1 JERRY Heinkel Heinkel He 112B-0 in service in Japan as Navy land-based
A7M Reppu (Hurricane)/SAM Mitsubishi Navy single-seat carrier-based fighter
A8V1 DICK Seversky Seversky 2PA-B3 purchased from USA and operated as two-seat Navy land-based fighters.
AI-104 IONE Aichi Nonexistent reconnaissance seaplane.
AT-27 GUS Nakajima Fictional twin-engined fighter.
Bf 109E MIKE Messerschmitt German fighter erroneously believed to be in service in Japan.
Bf 110 DOC Messerschmitt German twin-engined fighter erroneously believed to be in service in Japan.
E7K ALF Kawanishi Navy single-engined reconnaissance biplane seaplane
E8N DAVE Nakajima Navy two-seat reconnaissance seaplane biplane.
E9W SLIM Watanabe Navy Reconnaissance Seaplane
E10A HANK Aichi Navy reconnaissance seaplane
E13A JAKE Aichi Navy single-engined reconnaissance seaplane.
E14Y GLEN Yokosuka Navy single-engined reconnaissance seaplane
E15K Shiun (Violet Cloud)/NORM Kawanishi Navy single-engined high-speed reconnaissance seaplane
E16A Zuiun (Auspicious Cloud)/PAUL Aichi Navy single-engined reconnaissance seaplane
F1M PETE Mitsubishi Navy single-engined observation biplane seaplane.
FW 190A-5 FRED Focke-Wulf Erroneously believed to be in service in Japan
J1N Gekko (Moonlight)/IRVING Nakajima Navy twin-engined land-based night fighter and reconnaissance aircraft.
J2M Raiden (Thunderbolt)/JACK Mitsubishi Navy single-seat land-based interceptor. The J2M was a Japanese fighter developed in the later years of WWII. Designed to be an interceptor, the plane was never really the nemesis of B-29 bombers that it was hoped to be.
He 112B-0 Heinkel In service in Japan as Navy land-based fighter.
J4M Senden/LUKE Mitsubishi Navy interceptor
Ki-001 BEN Nagoya-Sento Did not exist.
Ki-10 PERRY Kawasaki Army single-seat biplane fighter Relegated to training roles by beginning of Pacific War
Ki-27 ABDUL Nakajima Army single-seat fighter serving in CBI theatre. Duplicate of NATE in Southwest Pacific. After 1943, code name NATE was used exclusively.
Ki-27 NATE Nakamima Army single-seat fighter Name initially used only in Southwest Pacific theatre, whereas the same plane was called ABDUL in CBI theatre. From 1943 onward used name NATE exclusively.
Ki-28 BOB Kawasaki Erroneously believed to be in production as fighter
Ki-43 Hayabusa (Peregrine Falcon)/JIM Nakajima Army single-seat fighter - name later changed to OSCAR
Ki-43 Hayabusa (Peregrine Falcon)/OSCAR Nakajima Army single-seat fighter - known for a time in CBI theatre as JIM
Ki-44 Shoki (Devil-Queller)/TOJO Nakajima Army single-seat fighter
Ki-45 Toryu (Dragon Killer)/NICK Kawasaki Army two-seat, twin-engined fighter
Ki-46 DINAH Mitsubishi Army twin-engined reconnaissance and interceptor aircraft.
Ki-61 Hien (Swallow)/TONY Kawasaki Army single-seat fighter
Ki-64 ROB Kawasaki Experimental Army single-seat fighter
Ki-72 STEVE Mitsubishi Army experimental twin-engined fighter
Ki-74 PAT Tachikawa Erroneously believed to be a long-range fighter. Name changed to PATSY when true role of bomber became known.
Ki-84 Hayate (Gale)/FRANK Nakajima Single-seat Army fighter.
Ki-102b RANDY Kawasaki Army twin-engined assault plane
N1K Shiden (Violet Lightning)/GEORGE Kawanishi Navy single-seat land-based interceptor-fighter
N1K Kyofu (Mighty Wind)/REX Kawanishi Navy single-engined seaplane fighter.
STK-97 ADAM Nakajima Nonexistent fighter seaplane
Type 97 BOB Aichi Navy recon seaplane - did not exist
TK-4 FRANK Mitsubishi Fictional twin-engined fighter. Name later applied to Nakajima Ki-84
TK-19 JOE Fictional single-seat fighter
20 OMAR Suzukaze Fictional twin-engined fighter
BOMBERS, ATTACK BOMBERS, DIVE BOMBERS, RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT, FLYING BOATS (Female first names):
B4Y JEAN Yokosuka Navy carrier-based single-engined attack bomber biplane.
B5M MABEL Mitsubishi Carrier-based attack bomber. Name later changed to KATE 61
B5N KATE 61 Nakajima Navy single-engined carrier-based attack bomber
B6N Tenzan (Heavenly Mountain)/JILL Nakajima Navy single-engined carrier- based attack bomber.
B7A Ryusei (Shooting Star)/GRACE Aichi Navy single-engined carrier-based attack bomber.
B-97 DORIS Mitsubishi Medium bomber- did not exist
BR-20 RUTH Fiat Italian-built heavy bomber in Japanese service
C6N Saiun (Painted Cloud)/MYRT Nakajima Navy single-engined carrier-based reconnaissance aircraft
D1A SUSIE Aichi Navy single-engined carrier-based biplane dive bomber
D3A VAL Aichi Navy single-engined two-seat carrier-based dive bomber
D4Y DOT Yokosuka Carrier-based dive bomber - duplicate of JUDY
D4Y Suisei (Comet)/JUDY Yokosuka Navy carrier-based single-engined dive bomber.
E11A LAURA Aichi Navy reconnaissance seaplane
Fw 200 TRUDY Focke-Wulf German four-engined maritime reconnaissance aircraft erroneously believed to be in service in Japan
G3M NELL Mitsubishi Navy land-based twin-engined attack bomber
G4M BETTY Mitsubishi Navy twin-engined land-based attack bomber
G5N Shinzan (Mountain Recess)/LIZ Nakajima Navy four-engined attack bomber operated as freight transport.
G8N Renzan (Mountain Range)/RITA Nakajima Navy land-based four-engined attack bomber.
H5Y CHERRY Yokosuka Navy flying boat
H6K MAVIS Kawanishi Navy four-engined maritime reconnaissance flying boat
H7Y TILLIE Yokosuka Navy experimental flying boat
H8K EMILY Kawanishi Navy four-engined long-range reconnaissance flying boat
Ju 52/3m TRIXIE Junkers German trimotor transport erroneously believed to be in service in Japan
Ju 87A IRENE Junkers German single-engine dive bomber erroneously believed to be in service with Japanese army.
Ju 88A-5 JANICE Junkers German light bomber erroneously believed to be in service in Japan.
JULIA/Misidentified LILY Believed to be a heavy bomber
JUNE/Misidentified JAKE Believed to be a floatplane version of VAL
Ki-2 LOUISE Mitsubishi Army twin-engined light bomber
Ki-15/C5M BABS Mitsubishi Army/Navy single-engined reconnaissance aircraft
Ki-15/C5M NORMA/Misidentified BABS Mitsubishi Believed to be a light bomber.
Ki-30 ANN Mitsubishi Army single-engined light bomber
Ki-21 JANE Mitsubishi Army heavy bomber - Name later changed to SALLY
Ki-21-IIb GWEN Mitsubishi Army heavy bomber - name later changed to SALLY III.
Ki-21 SALLY Mitsubishi Army twin-engined heavy bomber. Formerly named JANE.
Ki-32 MARY Kawasaki Army single-engined, two-seat light bomber
Ki-48 LILY Kawasaki Army twin-engined light bomber
Ki-49 Donryu (Storm Dragon)/HELEN Nakajima Army twin-engined heavy bomber.
Ki-51 SONIA Mitsubishi Army two-seat, single-engined assault aircraft
Ki-54? JOYCE/Misidentified HICKORY Tachikawa? Believed to be a light bomber version of Tachikawa Ki-54
Ki-67 Hiryu (Flying Dragon)/PEGGY Mitsubishi Army twin-engined heavy bomber
Ki-70 CLARA Tachikawa Army command reconnaissance aircraft
Ki-71 EDNA Mansyu Army experimental single-engined two-seat tactical reconnaissance aircraft. Development of Mitsubishi Ki-51.
Ki-74 PATSY Tachikawa Army experimental long-range, high-altitude reconnaissance bomber.
Ki-76 STELLA Kokusai Army single-engined command liaison aircraft. Generally similar to Fieseler Fi 156 Storch but not a copy.
H3K1 BELLE Kawanishi Navy biplane flying boat
He 111 BESS Heinkel Erroneously believed to being built under license in Japan
MXY7 Ohka (Cherry Blossom)/BAKA Yokosuka Navy rocket-powered suicide attacker.
Ohtori/EVA(EVE) Mitsubishi Erroneously believed to be a bomber
P1Y Ginga (Milky Way)/FRANCES Yokosuka Navy land-based twin-engined light bomber/night fighter.
Q1W Tokai (Eastern Sea)/LORNA Kyushu Navy twin-engined land-based patrol aircraft.
V-11GB MILLIE Vultee Erroneously believed to be in production by Showa in Japan
TRAINERS (Tree Names):
K3M PINE Mitsubishi Navy single-engined crew trainer
K5Y WILLOW Yokosuka Navy intermediate trainer biplane.
K9W CYPRESS Kyushu Navy primary trainer
K10W OAK Kyushu Navy intermediate trainer License-built North American NA-16
Ki-9 SPRUCE Tachikawa Army medium-grade two-seat single-engined biplane trainer
Ki-17 CEDAR Tachikawa Army single-engined two-seat biplane primary trainer
Ki-36/55 IDA Tachikawa Army single engined two-seat monoplane trainer and army cooperation aircraft
Ki-54 HICKORY Tachikawa Army twin-engined advanced crew trainer and light transport.
Ki-55/36 IDA Tachikawa Army single engined two-seat monoplane trainer and army cooperation aircraft
Ki-86 Kokusai Army primary trainer
GLIDERS (Bird Names):
Ku-7 Manazuru/BUZZARD Kokusai Army transport glider
Ku-8 GANDER Kokusai Army transport glider Formerly named GOOSE
Ku-8 GOOSE Kokusai Army transport glider Named changed to GANDER
TRANSPORTS (Names beginning with letter T):
DC-2 TESS Douglas License-built DC-2s erroneously believed to be in widespread use by Japanese Navy.
14 TOBY Lockheed Commercial Lockheed 14s used by Japan during Pacific War.
Ki-33 TINA Mitsubishi Army transport - misidentified Yokosuka L3Y transport version of G3M attack bomber.
Ki-34/L1N THORA Nakajima Army/Navy twin-engined transport
Ki-56 THALIA Kawasaki Army twin-engined transport. Japanese-built adaptation of Lockheed Model 14-WG3.
Ki-57/L4M TOPSY Mitsubishi Army/Navy twin-engine transport
Ki-59 THERESA Kokusai Army twin-engined light personnel transport
L2D TABBY Showa/Nakajima Navy land-based twin-engined transport. License-built version of Douglas DC-3.
Type LO THELMA Tachikawa/Kawasaki Twin-engined Army transport. License built version of Lockheed Model 14.
CARGO / TRANSPORTS:
C-1A Trader Grumman Aerospace
“Japanese Military Aircraft” -- Compiled by Calvin W. Lew,
Post Office Box 6586, Oceanside, California 92052-6586
Telephone: (619) 687-9090 (Pager / Voicemail)
(619) 840-0971 (Mobile)
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