The famous Mitsubishi A6M, popularly
known as the 'Zero', was the first carrierborne
fighter in the world capable
of outperforming any contemporary
land-based fighter it was likely to confront.
Because of inept Allied intelligence
it was able to achieve immediate
air superiority over the East Indies
and South East Asia from the day Japan
entered the war. Designed under the
leadership of Jiro Honkoshi in 1937 as a
replacement for the neat but obsolescent
A5M, the prototype A6M1 was
first flown on 1 April 1939 with a 582kW Mitsubishi Zuisei 13 radial;
production A6M2 fighters with
two wing-mounted 20mm guns and
two nose-mounted 7.7mm guns were fitted with the 708kW Nakajima Sakae 12 radial, and
it was with this version that the
Japanese navy escorted the raiding
force sent against Pearl Harbor, and
gained air superiority over Malaya, the
Philippines and Burma. In the spring of
1942 the A6M3 with two-stage supercharged
Sakae 21 entered service, later
aircraft having their folding wing
tips removed. The Battle of Midway
represented the Zero's combat zenith;
thereafter the agile Japanese fighter
found itself ever more outclassed by
the American F6F Hellcat and P-38
Lightning. To counter the new American
fighters the A6M5 was rushed to
front-line units; this version, with Sakae
21 engine and improved exhaust system,
possessed a top speed of 565km/h, more A6M5s (and subvariants)
being produced than any
other Japanese aircraft. It was five
A6M5s of the Shikishima kamikaze unit
that sank the carrier St Lo and damaged
three others on 25 October 1944.
Other versions were the A6M6 with
water-methanol boosted Sakae 31 engine
and the A6M7 fighter/dive-bomber.
Total production of all A6Ms
was 10,937. (The reporting name'Zeke'
was given to the A6M, and 'Rufe' to a
float version, the A6M2-N.)
| ENGINE||1 x Nakajima NK1F "Sakae 12", 705kW|
| Take-off weight||2410-2796 kg||5313 - 6164 lb|
| Empty weight||1680 kg||3704 lb|
| Wingspan||12.0 m||39 ft 4 in|
| Length||9.06 m||30 ft 9 in|
| Height||3.05 m||10 ft 0 in|
| Wing area||22.44 m2||241.54 sq ft|
| Max. speed||525 km/h||326 mph|
| Cruise speed||330 km/h||205 mph|
| Ceiling||10000 m||32800 ft|
| Range w/max.fuel||3050 km||1895 miles|
| Range w/max.payload||1850 km||1150 miles|
| ARMAMENT||2 x 20mm cannons, 2 x 7.7mm machine-guns, 60kg of bombs|
|A three-view drawing (752 x 1009)|
|Ron, toolkeeper123=roadrunner.com, 07.07.2014|
The RoF for the synchronized 13.2mm cowl HMG, starting with A6M5b Zeros, was perhaps 400 rpm. It's been said that it is faster than the heavier US Browning gun but that may be true only of the P-39 cowl 0.50 (12.7mm) HMG (reduction gear drive), not prop drive designs like the P-40C ets... After all, the 13.2mm Type 3 is even larger caliber than the MG131's 13.1mm and the round is heavier. Therefore, the way faster 700 rpm synchronized rate found at some forums are suspect in my opinion since it is still a Browning based design like the Army Airforce Ho-103 at 900 rpm and 400-450 rpm synchronized.
400 rpm is a 50% reduction from the uninterrupted 800 rpm wing mounted Type 3s of the A6M5c and A6M7. That seems in line. I've seen 400 rpm online as well as 700 so I'll lean toward the 400 as more credible.
Speaking of the underpowered A6M5c and 7, I can't see weighing down the wings with a pair of Type 3s but leaving only 1 Type 3 in the cowl instead of a pair. The 0.30mm has no place by this late date against US aircraft!
If the only ace the Zero can play by then is manuverability, don't add this weight to the wings until more power is under the hood, if then.
What's your opinion?
|Ron, toolkeeper123=roadrunner.com, 25.06.2014|
The A6M3 Model 32 with clipped wings lessened control stiffness at speed.
It was the full span A6M3 Model 22 that got the high velocity cannons. It also restored the range lost by the Hamp.
|Oldgunny, rc2154=hotmail.com, 23.05.2014|
Make that, (Some old myths never die).
|Oldgunny, rc2154=hotmail.com, 23.05.2014|
Some old myths never lie, such as the old WWII chest-nut that the Mitsubishi A6M was a copy of the Howard Hughes R1 racer. The only things these two aircraft have in common are they both are single seat single radial engine monoplanes with a wide tract landing gear. The wing profile, fuselage, and control services are all different. The R1 was made with aluminum alloy and the A6M used large amounts of Magnesium in its airframe. This material and the lack of self-sealing fuel tanks and little or no pilot armor protection gave the A6M a very low wing loading, making it very maneuverable and giving it an excellent range. Once the US pilots learned not to get into a turning match with the A6M, the Zeke’s vulnerability became apparent.
|Chung, ponylee=ms8.hinet.net, 20.05.2014|
Is there a evidence to prove that zero fighter was even sent from Japan to Germany during WW2?
|Ron, toolkeeper123=roadrunner.com, 16.05.2014|
The disappointing A6M6 failed to reach production status.
The A6M7 production run of 148 Zeros coincided with the Mk5 of the Model 2 Type 99 production from May 1945. This could br significant. Hold that thought.
This fighter-bomber not only had full protection but also bomb and rocket rails that slowed it down and still without the needed engine power of the faster A6M8.
If they were finally armed with that new faster Mk5 cannon, they now had a 5kg salvo per second of high velocity fire!
These 20 mm cannons had a rate of 750 rpm each and the 13.2 mm HMGs, also wing-mounted had a rate of 800 rpm each and the one in the cowl was 700 rpm synchronized. How many fighters can match that? 9.9g of HE in some of it's 20 mm shells and over 63 rps pattern of density with the heaviest standard MG in WW2. The J2M or N1K had 48 rps pattern density.
Many A6M7s were used as night fighters in 1945, not just as bomb toting kamikazes.
Even If it was now surpassed in speed by the latest Ki 43-IIIa (still just 2 MGs), the A6M7 certainly improved its bite at least (that's smart. Its slow top speed could be less of a handicap than as a day fighter).
The cannon armed Ki 43-IIIb was only pre-production to my knowledge.
|Ron, toolkeeper123=rr.com, 14.04.2014|
The A6M2 could out-gun, outloop and out-run the Ki 43 but not out-roll or out-turn it.
The A6M3 had the new high velocity 20 mm cannon (Type 99 Model II)
The A6M7 fighter-bomber had a level top speed of 340 mph (no water-methenol injection). 150 produced. Used for Kamikazi mostly.
|Ron, toolkeeper123=rr.com, 14.04.2014|
Hughes statement to that effect before congress was an obvious attempt to enhance his stature with hubris evoking a stereotype that had traction back then.
However it was more factual that the Fw 190 was inspired in part by his 1935 racer, not the Zero! This was so dispite the fact that the Focke-Wulf tail looked different.
It's true that the Hughes racer had the pointy tail-end as did the A6M Reisen (like its predecessor the Mitsubishi A5M), but so did other fighters of WW2 like the Macchi and Fiat designs. But the propaganda wouldn't 'fly' if those were mentioned instead of the vaunted Japanese fighter. No one would believe the Italian or German planes were 'copies'.
Jiro Horikoshi didn't sit still for this slander by Hughes either. It's a matter of record.
This is a good site for exploding such false myths about Japanese fighter designs or anyone elses.
The vail of WW2 propaganda should be lifted by now. It had its day already.
|machia, machia0705=gmail.com, 22.03.2014|
Any truth to the old rumor that Mitsubishi was influenced by the Howard hughes racer built in 1935 in the design of this airplane? Epinage design is very similar.
|Ron, toolkeeper123=rr.com, 27.02.2014|
'The wind rises' movie is highly recommended. This tribute to the love of flight shared among plane designers isn't aimed only at aviation buffs.
The pre-war back-story of Mitsubishi fighters is the main focus of the A6M designer's saga rather than WW2 and its aftermath which are very brief but present in the film. Horikoshi's romantic love interest is compelling for all audiences, to round out the movie.
|Ron, toolkeeper123=rr.com, 20.01.2014|
Till the end the Zero made up at least half of the Japanese fighters encountered.
Since it was effectively obsolete for the last half of the Pacific war, I wonder what it would have been like if they had teamed up with other more competent types like the Shiden for a given mission -- like the Allies did with Ausie P-40s down low, F4U mid-level, and P-38s higher up.
Maybe they did and I haven't heard of it.
As a 'what if' scenario at least, since the A6M5 had the numbers and the N1K had the competence, combined - both types would be better off as one fighter force together. Maybe even some Raidens could serve as top cover on short flights. Leaving out army fighters for now since inter- service rivalry was so strong.
Maybe 1 unit of J2Ms, 2 units of NiKs, and 7 units of Zeros.
Not such a walk-over as all A6M5s alone!
Same for the army side. Perhaps the Oscar's numbers could be spearheaded with late war types likewise. Again, maybe they were. I think Ki 43s and Tonys complimented eachother on flights.
Can you imagine trying to dive from a Zero - only to find a Jack pouncing on you?
|Ron, toolkeeper123=roadrunner.com, 13.10.2013|
We can say the A6M is the greatest Japanese fighter just based on its production. Its predecessor, the A5M was just over a tenth of the quantity, and its successor, the J2M was only one twentieth as many.
However a second glance shows that of the 10,937 Zeros, more A6M5s were built than any other model and the Zero was by then obsolete (Marianas turkey shoot). Thus the question arises if the resources couldn't have been better utilized on the J2M Raiden or at least the Nakajima factory that helped on the Zero could switch back to there own Ki 84 Hayate?
Alternately, Mitsubishi should have stuck to its guns on a new engine for the A6M5 as planned until the delayed methenal boosted engine matured (A6M6). Then do a fly-off between it and the stock A6M5 before mass production was committed to. In that case perhaps the Zero design team would have won the day. But the fact is 2 years later the A6M8 was accepted with the more powerful engine that was supposed to be in the A6M5 back in 1943. Too late now to correct the mistake! The prototype flew but then it was all over.
When you look at the puny production of all the late-war Japanese fighters except the A6M5,6, and 7, you may question if resources weren't misplaced. The Zero wasn't so great in 1944 and 1945.
|Ron, toolkeeper123=roadrunner.com, 18.10.2012|
I was reading somewhere else about the A6M2 vs the Spit V.
Many can't fathom how the Spit fared so poorly when on paper it looks superior to the Zero.
Even after Allied tactics were adjusted and even when the Zero had to fly orders of magnitude farther to engage combat.
My answer is the light weight of the Zero. It's quickness and initial climb are invisible on paper where ceiling and maximum speed are relied on.Take off weight doesn't apply when it enters combat with only half it's fuel weight on board after 500+ miles one way. This was imposible to the Allied pilots. Not expecting any Jap fighters also had alot to do with the results.
|Ron, toolkeeper123=roadrunner.com, 18.10.2012|
I think if the Zero design team had their way, The A6M5 would not have been underpowered. They finally got permission for that engine in the A6M8. Of course now the war was all but over. In 1943 it would have kept the Zero more competitive. US pilots can thank the JINAF authorities for this blunder. Horikoshi is not to blame.
|bombardier, www.2888617=gmail.com, 02.09.2012|
While it was impossible to fit the Zero with an engine that would keep it's speed equal to Allied fighters without increasing it's weight to unacceptable levels it was possible to fit it with more armour and self-sealing fuel tanks from the start.
|From: L .A .S Trade Co. Gh Ltd, landandseacompany=yahoo.com, 25.05.2012|
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|Ron, toolkeeper123=roadrunner.com, 23.03.2012|
I found a dive limit for the A6M3 of 416.3 mph; 410 mph for the A6M2.?!
Of course lower speeds were more prudent since this is before the thicker skinned A6M5a (b, or c depending on source) to reach 460 mph terminal dive, to within about 30 mph of the typical F4U dive speed.
The A6M5c finally had the armored pilot seat but also added a fuel tank behind it that messed with the cg (ala P-51D) that pilots frowned on. Also gone was the last superfluous 7.7 mm MG. 3x 13.2 mm MGs now complimented the 2 high velocity 20 mm cannon and a belated fire suppression system piled on the weight. The needed power increase was not authorized by the Navy so level speed declined to the 340-348 mph range while the rival Ki 43-III caught up at 348 mph. in the last year of the war this is quite academic. They needed double the hp to matter in 1945, not 1300hp! In 1940 the Zero could do 345 with overboost and in 1945 the same - Just heavier weight. Too bad for Japan.
|Hiroyuki Takeuchi, cxc02366=nifty.com, 23.03.2012|
The widely spread information that the engine quits on negative G on the A6M2 is misinformation from the test reports on the captured Zero with the carbs not adjusted properly. I say this because there was a valve located on the carb specifically for preventing the negative G engine stalls and Saburo Sakai, in one of this books published in Japan comments that he has never had a negative G engine stall on any Zero models, questioning the condition of the Zero tested in the US.
|Ron, toolkeeper123=roadrunner.com, 18.03.2012|
Recently I came across the fact that the US testing of the first captured A6M2 was not flown in over-boost while the Japanese did use over-boost in combat against US fighters. Their pilots could get 345-348 mph out of it while US tests only went 331mph at best! Now I know why. Over-boost!
Perhaps that explains wide discrepancies in published initial climb rate as well. The US tests were 3100 fpm or less, but I've seen 4517 fpm elsewhere.
I used to wonder why the US pilots who survived the Battle of Wake Is, for example, would be not only out-turned but out-climbed and even out-run by A6M2 pilots although their USN F4F-3 could climb 3300 fpm and go around 330 mph. Yet they would complain about how out-classed they were in speed and climb as well as turn. Fantastic performance like 5000 fpm climb and unrealistic speeds were claimed for the Zero by the USN pilots. US Army P-39 and P-40 pilots too (from various battles)... and they could go over 331 mph. Go figure!
Before, I would think it was the quick acceleration of the A6M2 that explained the false impression of maximum speed and fpm initial climb rate. True, acceleration was a big advantage for the Japanese. But over-boost performance in the hands of Japanese pilots puts it all in a new light for me now.
|MARINER, rboj13=hotmail.com, 29.01.2012|
JAPANESES, HOJE MATAR BALEIAS INOCENTES E AINDA FICAR COM LUCRO. VIVA A AMERICA
Do you have any comments about this aircraft ?