Dai-Nippon Teikoku Rikugun Kokutai

Imperial Japanese Army Air Service

Aircraft Code Names & Designations

1921 - 1927: First Designation System

The Imperial Japanese Army continued obtaining more advanced aircraft, primarily license-built versions of French origin. Starting in November/December 1921, IJA aircraft were assigned a manufacturer type code (from the 10 Stems of the Japanese zodiac) along with a numerical designation:

Stem (kanji) Pronounciation (romaji) Manufacturer
Ko Nieuport
Otsu Salmson
Tei Farman
Bo Caudron
Ki Hanriot

Example: Army Type Ko 2 Trainer - license-built Nieuport Nie.83.

Manufacturer Designation Notes
SPAD S.XIII Army Type Hei 1 Fighter 100 imported in 1919; new designation in 1921.
Farman F.50Bn.2 Army Type Tei 1 Heavy Bomber One imported; new designation in 1921.
Farman F.60 Army Type Tei 2 Heavy Bomber Unknown number imported; new designation in 1921.
Mitsubishi Army Type Ko 1 Trainer 57 license-built Nieuport Nie.81 in 1922.
Nakajima Army Type Ko 2 Trainer 40 license-built Nieuport Nie.83 in 1922.
Nakajima Army Type Ko 3 Trainer Re-designation of Army Type Ni-24; 77 Nieuport Nie.24 license-built in 1921 - 1923.
Nakajima Army Type Ko 3 Fighter Re-designation of Army Type Ni-24; 25 Nieuport Nie.27 license-built in 1921 - 1923.
Kawasaki-Salmson 2A.2 Army Type Otsu 1 Reconnaissance Aircraft License-built Salmson Sal.2A.2 by Kawasaki (300) and Tokorozawa Branch (300) in 1922 - 1927.
Morane-Saulnier Type AI - Unknown number imported in 1922.
Department of Research Koshiki-2 Experimental Fighter Two built in 1922 - 1923.
Nieuport-Delage Ni-D.29C.1 - Several imported in 1923.
Nakajima Army Type Ko 4 Fighter 608 license-built Nieuport-Delage Ni-D.29C.1 in 1923 - 1932.
Hanriot HD.14 - One or more imported in early 1920's.
Mitsubishi Army Type Ki 4 Trainer 145 license-built Hanriot HD.14 in 1924 - 1927.
Department of Research Koshiki A-3 Experimental Long-range Reconnaissance Aircraft One built in 1924.
Kaibo Gikai All Metal Seaplane KB Experimental Flying Boat One built in 1924.
Mitsubishi 2MB2 Experimental Washi-Type Light Bomber One built in 1925.
Department of Engineering Army Experimental Model 3 Fighter One built by Tokyo Army Arsenal in 1927.
Tokorozawa Branch Army Experimental Three-seat Light Bomber Two built in 1927 by Department of Engineering and Tokyo Army Arsenal.
Ishikawajima T-2 Experimental Reconnaissance Aircraft Two prototypes built in 1927.
Ishikawajima CM-1 / R-1 Experimental Trainer One built in 1927.
Ishikawajima R-2 Experimental Trainer Two built in 1927.

Abbreviations and Translations

This designation system was replaced in 1927 with a new Type - Number system.

Japan Imperial Japanese Army
[ Japan | IJA ]

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© 1997-2013, Robert Beechy
Originally posted February 2013
Modified: 02/12/2013