The Mitsubishi A5M met a 1934 strict specification, the 9-Shi, that requested a fighter that could fit on an aircraft carrier, and was fast and maneuverable.
The 9-Shi specification called for:
- Speed at 9,845' / 3,000 m: 217.5 mph / 350 kph
- Climb to 16,405' / 5,000 m: 6 minutes 30 seconds
- Span not to Exceed: 36' 1 1/16" / 11 m
- Length not to Exceed: 26' 2 31/32" / 8 m
- Armament: Two 7.7 mm machine guns
Mitsubishi came forward with the Ka-14 prototype. The design team was led by Jiro Horikoshi. The original design had inverted gull wings
For its time, the Type 96 had unique features incorporated into its design. It had flush rivets throughout and had washout type wings.
The A5M's cockpit was open allowing for an excellent field of view for the pilot.
The fuselage of the A5M was a metal framework with aluminum stressed skin.
The undercarriage of the A5M was fixed.
This was the Japanese Navy's first monoplane fighter. The wings were placed low.