LONDON – The Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm Museum will restore a rare Ohka kamikaze attack plane intended for use against the U.S. fleet during World War II.
The museum in the southwestern England town of Yeovil plans to remove paint applied to the plane following the war and restore the craft’s original markings in preparation for a future exhibit on World War II, museum officials said.
Staff at the museum believe that only around 10 Ohka still exist. The Imperial Japanese Navy craft was developed exclusively for suicide missions against enemy shipping.
During the restoration process, workmen conducted a detailed examination of the craft and discovered technical markings and Japanese text hidden under postwar layers of paint. Museum staff expect the entire restoration process to take more than a year.
Britain acquired the plane during the war. The Science Museum in London, where it had been in storage, sent it in 1982 to its current location, where it hung in the building’s rafters for more than 30 years.
The Ohka was essentially a flying bomb carried aloft by a bigger plane. After release it initially glided toward the target, then the pilot would fire its three solid-fuel rockets.