Nihon Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation

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Nihon Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation
Joint-owned corporation
Productsaircraft (NAMC YS-11)

The Nihon Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation (日本航空機製造 Nihon Kōkūki Seizō), or NAMC, was the manufacturer of Japan's only successful civilian airliner, the YS-11.


Although Japan had designed and manufactured a number of military aircraft before and during World War II, it was forbidden according to the Potsdam Declaration from engaging in the production of airplanes and other products that could be used to rearm a military.[1] These restrictions, however, were lightened by the United States during the Korean War, opening up the possibility for a Japanese company to produce a civilian aircraft.

Actually a consortium of several different manufacturing companies and university professors, NAMC was founded in April 1957 by executives from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Fuji Heavy Industries, Shinmeiwa Manufacturing, Sumitomo, Japan Aircraft, Showa Aircraft, and Kawasaki Heavy Industries with the goal of designing and manufacturing a Japanese civilian turboprop airliner to replace the successful but aging Douglas DC-3. The resulting aircraft, the YS-11, became the only successful civilian airliner to come out of Japan in the 20th century and the only airliner designed and produced in Japan for over 50 years until the Mitsubishi Regional Jet made its maiden flight in 2015.

By the late 1970s, after producing several variations of the YS-11, NAMC hoped to introduce a jet airliner in order to compete with those being produced in the U.S. by companies such as Boeing and McDonnell Douglas. Unfortunately, because of the prohibitive cost of both manufacturing a jet engine in-house and also purchasing pre-fabricated engines from companies like Rolls-Royce, NAMC was forced to scrap its plans.

Wracked by 36 billion Yen in debt (approximately $151 million based on the exchange rate at the time), NAMC disbanded on March 23, 1983.

The YS-11[edit]

The cockpit of a YS-11, originally designed and built by Showa Aircraft

At their first meeting in April 1957, the seven companies making up NAMC planned to finalize the design and create a mock-up of the plane—already dubbed the YS for the Japanese words for 'transport' and 'plan' (輸送設計 Yusō Sekkei) -- by March 1959. To accelerate the process, each party was given responsibility over a different section of the plane, as follows:

Company Airplane Section Percent of Completed Aircraft
Mitsubishi Fore and middle fuselage 54.2%
Kawasaki Wings and engine nacelles 25.3%
Fuji Nose, pressurization system, and tail assembly 10.3%
Japan Aircraft Decking, ailerons, and flaps 4.9%
Shinmeiwa Aft fuselage, wing tips, and dorsal fin 4.7%
Showa Cockpit and forward wing edge 0.5%
Sumitomo Landing gear 0.1%

The actual engines themselves would be purchased from Rolls-Royce.

NAMC succeeded in achieving its goal, even besting it by 3 months. On December 11, 1958 the initial mock-up was completed at a factory in Yokohama. On August 30, 1962 the first two YS-11s, numbered 1001 and 1002, launched on their maiden flights and by the time NAMC halted the production line in 1974, they had built and sold a total of 182 aircraft for users both in Japan and abroad.


  1. ^ "Text of the Potsdam Declaration Outlining Japanese Surrender Terms". pp. Page 73, Paragraph 11. Retrieved 2008-04-08.