I am currently grinding out the late 5.7 through 8.0 battle rating for Japan, and the ability for me to match my NATO counterparts and Bloc opposition in the air is near impossible.
With the addition of the SUB II-I, things have improved for the 5.3 range, but the AFV cannot hold its own once super props, and Jets become involved. The single 20mm is no greater than that of the R3, and cannot keep up with subsonic aircraft. You do not get any support in this department until 8.0 with the type 87, which is standard for its tier. We definitely need help filling this gap, with a few World War II Japanese prototype anti-aircraft vehicles being a possible way to fill the gap, and maybe some more lend lease options like the 163 based on the M113 being used by Japan to some extent based on the chassis that the type 60 ATM uses. These are just options I can think of, but I would like to leave it to fellow forum users.
That is half the problem, however. The fighters are subpar at best when it comes to ground RB and ability to provide ground suppression in air RB. Japan has its last attacker at 3.3 with the P1Y1 despite it being a rank 4 apparently. The next aircraft that can be passed off as an attacker is really a fighter bomber that has the same payload as the Kikka at 8.0. Even the Kikka itself is pretty mediocre when it comes to being a fighter because of it’s limited armament and subpar maneuverability. I have flown the 262 and the difference is very noticeable Japanese fighters are a mixed bag. The N1K2 is a fantastic machine that I love using for bombing runs because if it’s to 500 pound bombs, but man, there are no other options that are worth anything. Please, I know there are some more World War II, Japanese attackers that were used by the Navy and the army, and Japan did use both the avenger, the helldiver, and I think they use the corsair in the skyraider, specifically later variants, after the war.
All I am saying is, there needs to be a discussion to fill this gap. With aircraft like the F-15, F-16, and eventually the F-35 having good enough ground attack capabilities for top-tier when they get added, we need to fill this gap for the sake of balance and player enjoyment.
I have been playing since Japan was added coincidentally, and the lack of much substantial change in this department is depressing.