The Yokosuka MXY-7 "Okha" was a purpose-built, rocket-powered human-guided anti-shipping kamikaze attack plane employed by Japan towards the end of World War II.
It was during the summer of 1944 when, faced with overwhelming and fast-increasing Allied strength in the Pacific theatre, the Japanese naval staff first seriously entertained the concept of employing suicide tactics to defeat enemy attacks, and it was Ensign Mitsuo Ohta who first produced a rough design for a piloted flying bomb, a design which was assigned to Yokosuka for detailed completion. The resulting device was a small, mainly wooden aircraft with three solid-propellant rockets in the rear fuselage and a 1200kg explosive warhead in the nose.
Carried aloft in the bomb bay of a modified Mitsubishi G4M "Betty" bomber and flown towards the target area, the Yokosuka MXY7 Ohka (cherry blossom), or Baka for the Allieds, bomb would be released, its rockets fired and then flown directly to impact on a selected target; the pilot was sealed into his cockpit before take-off. Initial powered flights started at Sagami in October 1944, followed by unmanned, powered flights the next month. Production was put in hand, and a total of 755 Ohkas was built before March 1945 when production ended. The weapon was first employed by the 721st Kokutai on 21 March 1945, but the carrier aircraft were intercepted and forced to release their flying bombs too early. On 1 April the US battleship West Virginia and three transport vessels were hit and damaged by Ohkas. Limited success attended other suicide attacks by Ohkas, but the transport aircraft proved fatally vulnerable in the presence of powerful American defences and the Japanese suicide tactic was never a serious threat to Allied operations in the Pacific, for all its macabre implications.