Country of Origin: Empire of Japan
Other Users: China (captured models)
1x Type 120 25mm Cannon
2x Short Range IR AAMs
2,000 ILBs of Ordnance
-Type 6 Kaiten Anti-Ship Missile
-Type 10 1000 ILB Laser Guided Bomb
-Type 5 500 ILB Laser Guided Bomb
-Cluster Bombs/Bomblett Dispenser
The Empire of Japan rolled out the Nakajima B20 series of aircraft in the mid-1960s. Much like the abortive American effort to create a fighter that could be used by both the Navy and Air Force (the F-111 which proved an excellent low level bomber) the B20 was built in both a naval and ground based model. The IJN model was known as the Sea-Wing with the Japanese Air Force calling their model the Sky-Wing. Both versions of the B20 would see combat in the former Dutch East Indies, as the post-colonial government collapsed. Japan moved in to annex the oil rich area in 1967. Sea-Wings flying of Japanese carriers provided strikes against the various factions inside the islands. Some worked, not effectively in a close air support role for Imperial Marines during the campaign. Losses were light for the naval Sea-Wings.
Initially the Sea-Wing was armed with conventional free fall iron bombs and rocket pods. However the start of World War III heralded a new generation of increasing accurate precision weapons. As America, the Soviets, and Europeans all retooled their aircraft and tactics to incorporate these, Japan found itself falling behind. Through various methods, legally and illegally, the Japanese military industry acquired various samples of new precision guided munitions (PGM). Using their own technology the Japanese arms makers were able to produce their first laser guided bomb shortly before the end of the Third World War.
This new generation of weaponry required upgrades to be made to the Sea/Sky-Wing fleet. A laser targeting pod with thermal and LLAMPS abilities was equipped to most of the precision strike units inside the IJN. New surface search and ground scanning radars were built into the B20Ns. The ground scanning radar allowed the Sea-Wing to fly dangerous nap of the Earth attack missions. These upgrades made the B20N an all-weather day or night bomber. By the late 1980s the upgraded Sea-Wing fleet could also carry large bomblett dispersing pods on their centerline hard-point (a copy of the European Tornado’s). Two Type 6 anti-ships missiles could be carried by the Sea-Wing for naval strike roles.
The major combat test for the Sea-Wing came when the Imperial government decided to go to war with the Russian Republic in 1990. As part of their surprise attack, Sea-Wings launched from the Giga carriers in the Sea of Japan to bomb the airfields up and down the Russian Pacific coast and Russian Pacific Fleet bases. Covered by Tengu fighters the Sea-Wings devastated the Russian Air Force bases, using runway cratering weapons and taking out hardened shelters with LGBs. As long as Japanese aircraft controlled the skies, the B20N operated quite effectively against the Russian forces in the Far East. However the Sea-Wing proved less effective when deployed in contested air environments. Designed as a bomber, the Sea-Wing had no real dogfighting ability requiring escorting fighters or a low level approach.
When the war expanded to include the United States of America, the IJN found itself up against an equal opponent. B20Ns and Air Force B20s took heavy losses when attacking American and Allied targets during the war. The heaviest losses and most specular success for the Sea-Wings came during the Battle of Guam. Admiral Shirada led four Giga carriers in an effort to destroy the American 7th Fleet and force the U.S. into negotiations to end the war in the Pacific. The first battle of super-carriers, the Carrier Strike Force launched a massive attack against the USN carriers once it was learned they were operating southeast of Guam.
Nearly one hundred IJN aircraft battled against the USN fighter screen and fought through the Ticonderoga air defense cruisers and their Burke class destroyer counterparts. Ten Sea-Wings managed to launch their ASMs and severally damage the carrier Hornet. Several more American cruisers and destroyers were sunk as well. The losses among the Japanese planes were heavy, over sixty percent. Much worse was the surviving pilots found that while they attacked the Americans, a USN strike against their own carriers had led to the destruction of two of their own carriers. As the battle continued the remaining Sea-Wings managed to sink the damaged Hornet, but the Combined Fleet lost another carrier.
Many of the remaining Sea-Wings for the rest of the war were based on land with their Air Force counterparts. Another distinction of the B20N was it was one of the first aircraft used in suicide operations against the Allied fleets. Kamikaze attacks were first launched by a Sea-Wing unit based in Formosa against the Enterprise carrier group, supporting the battle for the Philippines. Sixty aircraft among them twenty B20Ns loaded with explosives penetrated the carrier group’s defenses and sank six ships. A Sea-Wing speared into the side of the Enterprise knocking it out of the war for several months.
All the remaining Sea-Wings not in Japanese Defense Force hands are used by the Republic of China. Most were captured in the last few days of the war.