IJNAF TYPE 3
INTERNALLY WIRED HELMET
The Type 3 internally wired flying helmet manufactured by TTK (Toyo Telecommunication Equipment Company Ltd.) was the only Japanese naval flying helmet equipped with an integrated headset.
The receivers are located in leather covered, metal earcups with internal soft rubber donuts for noise insulation and wearing comfort. The helmet would be connected to the aircraft’s radio set by means of a rubberized cable exiting below the right rear goggle retaining strap and ending into a three-pole female plug. (The rubber has become brittle over the years, revealing the three twisted wiring cables).
Designed in late 1942 its pattern is based on the Italian LESA or the German LKH W flying helmet and consists of a soft cowhide leather shell lined with rabbit fur. A sewn-in TTK label identifies the manufacturer of the helmet. The formerly typical front brim and green cotton wearer-ID label of Japanese naval helmets were disposed of.
A leather chin strap buckling on the left and rear cotton string laces (both features are unfortunately damaged on this specimen) provided a snug fit. The rear of the helmet features two snap up goggle retaining straps. Two „German style“ nickle-plated flat hooks on both sides and a further snap down strap on top served as attachment points for a three-strap oxygen mask.
Although TTK and the Imperial Japanese Navy gained a lot of knowledge in the field of electronic intelligence and radio communication thanks to their connections to Germany, the airborne equipment was constantly plagued with malfunctions. Seemingly perfectly serviceable radio sets, like the Type 3 radio system, which was introduced in 1943 in conjunction with the corresponding Type 3 flying helmet and installed into Mitsubishi A6M Type Zero fighters, were working perfectly while tested on the ground. Once airborne, the pilots noticed that the radio sets became useless for, at the time, unknown reasons. Thus, they had to rely on hand and light signals for communication. These persisting problems convinced many pilots to continue to wear their unwired helmets.
Only in 1945 it was finally found out that the disturbs were caused by electronic noise emitted by the engine‘s spark plugs, in connection with a grounding problem of the circuit.
IJNAF throat microphone
Issued as a separate item, a compatible throat microphone could be used with the Type 3 radio system. Two black plastic covered laryngophones with metal fittings are sewn into two black leather pockets. Between these pockets are two stud fasteners, the purpose of which is not confirmed. The black leather strap can be adjusted by a buckle while a braided cord exits the strap and ends into a metal 3-pole male plug.
Although it features a TTK style three-pole male plug, there is no evidence about the manufacturer.
Aoki Hikari lightweight goggles
These goggles are of a simplified lightweight construction, which differs completely from the standard "cat's eye" style flying goggles more commonly worn by IJAAF and IJNAF aviators.
The centrally hinged black painted alloy frames, which lack any kind of air vents, hold yellow/amber tinted curved plastic lenses. These lenses supposedly reduced the blinding effect of the sun and made tracer ammunition more visible to air gunners. On the down side they seem to be very prone to scratching and create a somewhat distorted vision.
The embossed stylized fan logo on the goggle frames near the attachment point for the reddish brown adjustable elasticized strap stands for the Aoki Hikari Filter Industry, reportedly a famous manufacturer for the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy in WWII.
A very similar pattern manufactured by the Yamamoto company can be seen here.