World War II Vehicles, Tanks and Airplanes, picture of P-51 Mustang
World War II Vehicles, Tanks and Airplanes, picture of T-34/85
World War II Vehicles, Tanks and Airplanes, picture of Fw-190
World War II Vehicles, Tanks and Airplanes, picture of Churchill
wwiivehicles.com ©2017
Search:
Japan's Imperial Navy flag

Japan's Mitsubishi A6M Rei-sen (zero fighter) fighter
Navy Type 0
Allied code name: Hamp, Zeke

Photos

  • Mitsubishi Type 00 Zero fighter
  • Mitsubishi Type 00 Zero fighter
  • Mitsubishi A6M Zeke fighter
  • Mitsubishi A6M Zeke fighter
  • Mitsubishi A6M Zeke fighter

Design

Chief Engineer Jiro Horikoshi designed the Mitsubishi A6M as a replacement for the A5M. The A5M outperformed all of its rivals in China leading to the belief that a highly maneuverable fighter was better.

A 12-Shi requirement for a new fighter was issued on January 17, 1938, to Nakajima and Mitsubishi. Convinced it was impossible to meet the requirements, Nakajima withdrew. The requirements were for a fighter:

  • 300 mph at 13,000', 311 mph at 13,125' / 4,000 m
  • climb to 9,840' / 10,000' / 3,000 m in 9 minutes 30 seconds
  • wingspan of no more than 12 m in length to fit the elevators on the Imperial Japanese Navy's carriers
  • take off within 230' / 70 m with a 40' per second / 27 knots head wind
  • armament of two 7.7 mm machine guns and two 20 mm cannons
  • carry two 132 lb / 60 kg bombs

Mitsubishi was developing the 11-Shi bomber at the time and didn't want to divert resources to a new fighter that it too thought was impossible to build. In exchange for letting Mitsubishi drop the 11-Shi project, the Imperial Japanese Navy talked Mitsubishi into developing the "impossible" fighter.

Once testing was complete the Imperial Japanese Navy gave it its designation, the A6M1 Rei Shiki Sento Ki (Type 0 Carrier borne Fighter).

The Zeke name came from the Japanese year 2600 that it was designated.

Engines

The first two prototypes had the Mitsubishi Zuisei 13 (875 HP) engine installed. On the third prototype carried the Nakajima Sakae 12 (950 HP) engine. The Sakae 12 was selected and it resulted in the need for making the A6M even lighter so armor plate and self sealing fuel tanks were not included in the initial design.

The engines were very good, but as the war progressed quality declined.

Undercarriage

The undercarriage of the A6M was wide and sturdy.

Fuel Tanks

One of the main weaknesses of the A6M Zero was that it didn't have self sealing fuel tanks.

There were three fuel tanks, one in front of the pilot and one in each wing root.

Cockpit

Another weakness of the A6M Zero is that the pilot had no armor until very late models.

Fuselage

In the rear of the fuselage was a canvas floatation bag in the case of a ditching at sea.

The center section was made an integral part of the wing which save weight and aided in maintenance. The front and rear sections of the fuselage were removable.

Wings

To make the A6M as light as possible the wing was developed to be in one piece and made from lightweight Extra-Super Duralumin.

Main Armament

The prototype had two 7.7 mm Type 97 machine guns that were in the top of the fuselage with cocking mechanisms coming out the instrument panel.

Two 20 mm Oerlikon cannons (license built by Dai-Nihon Heiki Company as Type 99s) were in the wings. These were outside the landing gear.

A6M2

Engine

The Sakae 12 engine resulted in the the carburetor intake being made integral in the cowling and placed in the lower part of it.

Cockpit

At the rear the glass panels were shortened.

Wings

The A6M2 Model 11s were tested on the Soryu in June 1940. It exceeded all expectations but it was found that the wing tips could sustain damage while being moved on the elevators. The Model 21 was designed with 20" on each end of the wing being able to fold upwards to make for more room on the elevators.

A6M2-K, A6M5-K

Originally some A6M2s in the field were converted in 1942 to two seaters to be used for reconnaissance and command duties.

Specifications for a dedicated trainer was given in 1943. Dai-Nijuichi Kaigun Kokoshu (21st Naval Air Depot) designed the A6M2-K.

The instructor was behind the student. The trainer's seat was where the radio and other equipment was located. The student's part of the cockpit was permanently open.

Dual controls were installed. The fixed tail wheel was larger than the A6M fighters. Wheel covers and the wing cannons were removed to save weight.

A stability fin was added just in front of the horizontal stabilizer.

A6M3

Later models of the A6M3 had the folding wingtips not installed.

Engine

Nakajima produced the Sakae engine which had a two stage supercharger. The engine was longer and required the firewall to the rear by 8" / 20 cm. This caused the fuel tank to have to be reduced in size.

The larger engine resulted in changing the cowling to be more rounded and larger. Propeller was slightly larger.

Wings

The first two A6M3s produced had the folding wingtips but they were removed in the hopes to increase speed. This was to compensate for the heavier engine. It was hoped that the shorter wings would make the A6M3 more maneuverable, but this didn't happen.

Allied Naming

In honor of Air Force General "Hap" Arnold the A6M3 Model 32 was called the "Hap." However, he did not appreciate the gesture and ordered the designation to be changed to "Hamp." After captured examples of the Model 32 were captured the name was revised to Zeke 32.

A6M5

The A6M5 was to be a temporary expedient until the replacement carrier based fighter, Mitsubishi A7M Reppu, was developed. As the A7M failed the A6M5 ended up being the most produced of the A6M series.

It was to be simplified for production and increase the diving speed. A heavier gauge metal was used in the wings. Diving speed was increased to 410 mph.

A6M6, A6M7, A6M8

Mitsubishi tried to improve the capabilities of the A6Ms with the A6M6, A6M7, and A6M8. But due to United States bombing campaign it was very difficult on industry.

Speed and Range Comparison

  • Speed and Range Comparison

Prototype

On March 23, 1939, the first prototype had to be disassembled at the Mitsubishi plant, and transported to the Kagamigahara naval air base on two oxcarts.

The A6M1 prototype first flew on April 1, 1939 at Kagamigahara with Katsuzo Shima at the controls. It had a Mitsubishi Zuisei 13 (780 HP) radial engine installed. He rolled it down the runway and lifted off a few feet off the ground before settling back onto the runway.

During the testing it was found that there was a vibration in the engine that couldn't be explained. Hirokoshi had the two blade propeller replaced by a constant speed three blade propeller. The 12-Shi was the first Japanese plane to have a constant speed propeller. This was tested on April 17, 1939, and the vibration in the engine was nearly eliminated. This prototype was taken on 119 flights for a total of 43 hours and 26 minutes of air time.

Second Prototype

The second prototype was delivered on October 25, 1939. It had better elevator controls. It went to the Navy's test center at Yokosuka Air Base. Armament trials began a short time afterwards.

On March 11, 1940, the plane had an explosion in flight and unfortunately killed the test pilot.

Third Prototype

The third prototype (designated the A6M2) was fitted with the Nakajima NK1C Sakae 12 engine. It flew on December 28, 1939 / January 18, 1940 for the first time.

Accepted for Service

On July 31, 1940, the A6M was accepted for service with the Navy.

A6M5

The prototype A6M5 (the 904th A6M3 converted) first flew in August 1943.
The A6M5 Model 52 prototype first flew in the summer of 1943.

A6M6

The A6M6 Model 53c prototype first flew in November 1944. Due to engine failures the A6M6 was abandoned.

A6M7

The A6M7 Model 63 prototype first flew in May 1945.

A6M8

The A6M8 Model 54c first flew in April 1945.

Production

The Zero was the most produced Japanese fighter.

The A6M2 first flew on December 28, 1939.

The first A6M2-K was completed in November 1943.

The A6M3 was first flown in June 1941. Production ended in the middle of 1943.

The first A6M5-K was flown in March 1945.

  • Mitsubishi A6M1: 2
  • Mitsubishi A6M2: 3,432
    • Manufacturer: Mitsubishi (Nagoya plant), Mitsubishi Jukogyo K.K., Nakajima (Koizumi plant)
    • Mitsubishi A6M2 Model 11, Mitsubishi A6M2a Model 11: 64, 65
      • Production: December 1939 - ?
    • Mitsubishi A6M2 Model 22, Mitsubishi A6M2b Model 21: 740, 3,746
      • Manufacturer: Mitsubishi (864), Nakajima Aircraft Company (2,882)
      • Production: November 1941 - ?
  • Mitsubishi A6M2-K: 273, 508 , 517
    • Produced by: Dai-Nijuichi 21st Air Arsenal (236, 238), Hitachi (272, 273, 279)
  • Mitsubishi A6M2-N, Nakajima A6M2-N: 327
    • Manufacturer: Nakajima
  • Mitsubishi A6M3: 903
    • Manufacturer: Mitsubishi
    • Production: Fall 1942 - Summer 1943
    • Mitsubishi A6M3 Model 22: 560
    • Mitsubishi A6M3 Model 32: 343
      • Manufacturer: Mitsubishi, Nakajima (Koizumi plant)
    • Mitsubishi A6M3a Model 22-Koh:
  • Mitsubishi A6M5: 1,701, ~5,000, ~6,000
    • Manufacturer: Mitsubishi, Mitsubishi Jukogyo K.K., Nakajima
    • Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52: 747
      • Manufacturer: Mitsubishi, Nakajima
    • Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52a, Mitsubishi A6M5a Model 52-Koh: 391, 392
      • Manufacturer: Mitsubishi, Nakajima (unknown amount)
      • Production: March 1944 - ?
      • Delivery started March 1944
    • Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52b, Mitsubishi A6M5b Model 52-Otsu: 470
      • Manufacturer: Mitsubishi, Nakajima (unknown amount)
      • Production: Mid-1944 - ?
    • Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52c, Mitsubishi A6M5c Model 52-Hei: 93
      • Manufacturer: Mitsubishi, Nakajima (unknown amount)
      • Production: September 1944 - ?
  • Mitsubishi A6M5-K: 7
    • Manufacturer: Hitachi
  • Mitsubishi A6M6: 1
  • Mitsubishi A6M7: 150
    • Production: May 1945 - ?
    • Mitsubishi A6M7 Model 63: ?
      • Manufacturer: Mitsubishi, Nakajima
  • Mitsubishi A6M8: 2
    • Mitsubishi A6M8 Model 54, Mitsubishi A6M8 Model 54c: 2
    • Mitsubishi A6M8c: 2
    • Manufacturer: Mitsubishi Jukogyo K.K.
  • Total: 10,430, 10,449, 10,499, 10,937, 10,964
    • Manufacturer: Mitsubishi Jukogyo K.K. (3,879), Nakajima Hikoki K.K. (6,570)
    • Production: March 1939 - August 1945
      • March 1939 - March 1942: Mitsubishi (722), Nakajima (115)
      • April 1942 - March 1943: Mitsubishi (729), Nakajima (960)
      • April 1943 - March 1944: Mitsubishi (1,164), Nakajima (2,268)
      • April 1944 - March 1945: Mitsubishi (1,145), Nakajima (2,342)
      • April 1945 - August 1945: Mitsubishi (119), Nakajima (885)

Production Comparison

  • Production Comparison

Variants

  • Mitsubishi 12-Shi, A6M1: Prototype. Had a Mitsubishi Zuisei 13 radial engine (780 / 875 HP). Two 7.7 mm machine guns and two 20 mm cannons. Speed was 304 mph at 12,470'.
  • Mitsubishi A6M2, Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter Model 11: Production model.
  • Mitsubishi A6M2 Model 11, Mitsubishi A6M2a Model 11: Sakae-12 engine. Carrier fighter with fixed wings. Deliveries began in July 1940.
  • Mitsubishi A6M2 Model 21, "Zeke 21", Mitsubishi A6M2b Model 21, Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter Model 21: Sakae-12 engine. Carrier fighter with folding wing tips. Became available in 1940.
  • Mitsubishi A6M2-K: Trainer.
  • Mitsubishi A6M2-K Model 21: Sakae-12 engine. Two seat trainer. Became available in 1944.
  • Mitsubishi A6M2-N, Nakajima A6M2-N: Sakae-12 engine. Floatplane fighter. Became available in 1941.
  • Mitsubishi A6M3: Sakae 21 (1,130 HP) engine with two stage supercharger. More ammunition for 20 mm guns.
  • Mitsubishi A6M3 Model 22, Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter Model 22: Sakae-21 engine. Carrier fighter with folding wing tips. Became available in 1943.
  • Mitsubishi A6M3a Model 22a, A6M3 Model 22-KO, Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter Model 22A: Long barrel cannons. 2 or 3 20 mm Type 99. Some had a 30 mm installed and were tested at Rabaul. Two 9.9 gallon / 45 liter fuel tanks added in the outer wings.
  • Mitsubishi A6M3 Model 32, Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter Model 32: Sakae-21 engine. Carrier fighter with clipped wings. More ammunition for the guns. The engine was larger and reduced the fuel carried by 21 gallons. Became available in 1942.
  • Mitsubishi A6M3a Model 22-Koh: Sakae-21 engine. Additional guns in wings. Fuel increased by 24 gallons. Became available in 1943.
  • Mitsubishi A6M4: Two A6M3s had turbocharged Sakae 21 engines installed. Never went into production.
  • Mitsubishi A6M4 Model 32: Sakae-21 engine. Prototype.
  • Mitsubishi A6M5, Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter Model 52: Cockpit added armored glass.
  • Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 22: Fuel capacity was increased. Cannons were long barrel. The flaps and ailerons were modified. The skin was heavier gauge to allow faster diving.
  • Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52: Sakae-21 engine. Had wing folding mechanism removed and a rounded tip was installed. Exhaust was modified and provided some extra thrust. Became available in 1944.
  • Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52a, Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52 KO, Mitsubishi A6M5a Model 52-Koh: Sakae-21 engine. Better armament in wings. Became available in 1944.
  • Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52b, Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52 OTSU, Mitsubishi A6M5b Model 52-Otsu: Sakae-21 engine. Added armor for pilot and fuel tanks. A fire extinguisher system was added. The armament was improved. Added a 5 mm bullet resistant windscreen. Could carry two 150 liter drop tanks under the wings. Better armament in nose. Could use wing tanks. Bullet proof glass. Ammunition feed was improved. Skin gauge was increased to allow faster diving. Diving speed was 460 mph. Became available in 1944.
  • Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52c, Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52 HEI, Mitsubishi A6M5c Model 52-Hei, Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter Model 52C: Sakae-21 engine. Better armament in wings. A self sealing fuel tank added behind the pilot which caused center of gravity problems. 8 mm plate installed behind the pilot. 55 mm of armored glass installed behind pilot's head. A 37 gallon self sealing fuel tank was placed behind the pilot. Became available in 1944.
  • Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 63: Centerline drop tank was replaced by bomb rack that could carry 500 lb bomb. The Model 63 could carry a 33 gallon / 150 liter drop tank under each wing.
  • Mitsubishi A6M5-K: Trainer. Shorter wing.
  • Mitsubishi A6M5-K Model 52: Sakae-21 engine. Trainer.
  • Mitsubishi A6M6: Had Sakae 31 water-methanol boosted engine. Self sealing fuel tanks.
  • Mitsubishi A6M6 Model 52: Sakae-31a engine that had water methanol injection. Fuel tanks were self sealing.
  • Mitsubishi A6M6 Model 53c: Similar to the A6M5 Model 52c. Had a Sakae 31 engine with water methanol injection.
  • Mitsubishi A6M7: Fighter and dive-bomber variant.
  • Mitsubishi A6M7 Model 62/63: Sakae-31 engine. Fighter bomber. Became available in 1945.
  • Mitsubishi A6M7 Model 63: Based on the A6M6 Model 53c. Had bomb under the fuselage. Drop tanks (150 liter) were under the wings. Tail section was strengthened for dive bombing.
  • Mitsubishi A6M8, Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter Model 64: Had most powerful engine of A6M series. The airframe limited performance. The nose was altered and the cowling mounted machine gun was removed.
  • Mitsubishi A6M8 Model 54: Kinsei-62 engine.
  • Mitsubishi A6M8 Model 54c: More powerful engine.

Usage

The A6M was the first carrier based fighter that could outperform any land based fighter when it first appeared.

The A6M was very maneuverable and had a long range. The Rei-sen was dominant in the Pacific for the first half of 1942. After that the Allied fighters surpassed it in performance.

Units

  • Kokutai: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 12, 13, 14, 15, 131, 153, 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 210, 221, 251, 252, 253, 254, 256, 261, 263, 265, 281, 301, 302, 312, 321, 331, 332, 341, 343, 345, 352, 361, 381, 452, 453, 501, 582, 601, 634, 652, 653, 721, 751, 802, 902, 934, Genzan, Konoike, Oita, Southern Islands, Tainan, Tsukuba, Yatabe

China Debut

On July 21, 1940, fifteen preproduction models were sent to the 12th Rengo Kokutai (air corps) at Hankow. Lt. Tamotsu Yokoyama led the first A6Ms into combat escorting 54 G3M2 Nells to Chungking.

First Battle

During the fourth mission on September 13, 1940, Chinese Air Force I-15s and I-16s intercepted the returning formation. During the battle all 27 Chinese fighters were shot down without a loss to the Japanese.

From September 1940 to September 1941 A6Ms shot down 99 Chinese aircraft with only a loss of two A6Ms to ground fire. In September 1941 they were re-deployed to prepare for the attacks on the Allies.

Pearl Harbor

At Pearl Harbor there were 125 A6M2s used, and nine failed to return.

The Japanese Navy had 521 A6Ms with 328 of them being A6M2s.

Midway Pinnacle

The A6Ms were the best fighter in the Pacific through the Battle of Midway. After that the A6Ms were being quickly outperformed by P-38 Lightnings and F6F Hellcats.

A6M2

The Model 11 saw its first combat in China and the first kills were in September 1940 when 13 A6M2s fought 27 Chinese Polikarpovs and shot all of them down.

Units

In central China the 12th Kokutai had around 30 Model 11s. In southern China the 14th Kokutai had around 9.

Burma, Malaya, Pearl Harbor and the Philippine Islands

The A6M2 was the primary version that was used in the first months of the war in the Pacific. It made up 2/3 of the Japanese Navy's fighter force.

First Complete Airframe

In July 1942 the Americans were able to retrieve a complete A6M2 airframe from the Aleutian Islands, where it had been forced to land. A report was issued on September 4, 1942, after tests were conducted.

A6M2-K, A6M5-K

The A6M2-K first entered service in early 1944.

Some ended up being used as Kamikaze planes.

A6M3

The A6M3 entered service in 1942. Pilots weren't as happy with the A6M3 as with other A6M models as it was only slightly faster than the A6M2.

Many of the A6M3 Model 32 were used for training in Japan.

First Unit

The 2nd Kokutai was the first to receive the A6M3 Model 32 in the spring of 1942. The 2nd Kokutai was located in New Guinea and due to the A6M3s shorter range these fighters were unable to take part in the battles over Guadalcanal.

Guadalcanal

The A6M3 Model 22 appeared over Guadalcanal in August 1942.

Zuikaku

Some A6M3 Model 22s served on the Zuikaku.

A6M5

The A6M5 entered service in October 1943.

It's best speed for combat was 180 mph or less.

Kamikaze

On October 25, 1944, the Shikishima kamikaze sent five A6M5s to attack the St. Lo and sank it.

Specifications

  A6M
Type Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Nakajima NK1
Cylinders Radial
Cooling Air
Net HP 900
Dimensions  
Span 37'
Length 28' 4"
Weight  
Loaded 5,100 lb
Performance  
Speed 300 mph
Range with drop tank 2,000 miles
Armament  
Nose 2: MG
Wings 2: 20 mm
  A6M1
Type Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Mitsubishi Zuisei 13
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 780, 875
Propeller blades 2 or 3 metal, 3 metal
Armament  
Nose 2: 7.7 mm Type 97
Wings 2: 20 mm Type 99
  A6M2
Type Fighter, Navy fighter bomber
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Nakajima Sakae 12
Nakajima NK1C Sakae 12
Cylinders Radial, Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 950
Propeller blades 3, 3 blade CS40B constant speed, 3 metal
Dry weight 530 kg
Diameter 1.15 m
Dimensions  
Span 39' 4.5", 39' 5"
12 m
Length 29' 5", 29' 8.75"
9.06 m
Height 10'
3.05 m
Wing area  
Weight  
Loaded 5,300 lb
Performance  
Speed at sea level 282 mph
454 kph
Speed at 14,930' / 4,550 m 331 mph, 332 mph
533 kph
Climb 3,150'/minute
960 m/minute
Climb to 19,685' / 6,000 m 7.5 minutes
Service ceiling 32,810'
10,000 m
Range 1,162 miles, 1,930 miles
1,870 km
Range with drop tanks 1,926 miles
3,100 km
Armament 2: 20 mm
2: MG
Nose 2: 7.7 mm / 0.303" MG, 7.7 mm Type 97
Wings 2: 20 mm, 20 mm Type 99
Bombs 132 lb
2: 132 lb
2: 60 kg
  A6M2 Model 11, A6M2a Model 11
Type Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Nakajima Sakae, Sakae-12
Cylinders Radial 14
Net HP 940, 950
Propeller blades CS40B Sumitomo/Hamilton Standard 3 blade constant speed
Fuel Capacity 518 liters
Dimensions  
Span 39' 5"
12 m
Length 9 m
Height 3.2 m
Wing area 22.4 sq m
Weight  
Empty 1,706.9 kg
Loaded 2,388.7 kg
Performance  
Speed at 14,930' 331 mph
Service ceiling 33,070'
Range 1,930 miles
Armament  
Nose 2: 7.7 mm Type 97
Wings 2: 20 mm Type 99
  A6M2 Model 21, A6M2b Model 21
Type Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Sakae 12 Model 11
Net HP 940
Fuel Capacity 156 Gallons
Dimensions  
Span 39' 4.4375"
12 m
Length 29' 8.6876"
9 m, 9.06 m
Height 10' 0.0625"
3.05 m, 3.2 m
Wing area 241.541 sq ft
22.4 sq m, 22.44 sq m
Weight  
Empty 3,704 lb, 3,770 lb
1,680 kg, 1,710 kg, 1,745 kg
Loaded 5,313 lb
2,410 kg, 2,420.8 kg
Maximum load 6,164 lb
2,796 kg
Performance  
Speed 288 mph
Speed at 14,930' / 4,550 m 331 mph, 331.5 mph
Speed - Cruising 207 mph
Climb to 19,685' / 6,000 m 7 minutes 27 seconds
Service ceiling 32,810', 33,792'
10,000 m
Range 1,010 miles, 1,930 miles
Range with drop tanks 1,930 miles
Armament  
Nose 2: 7.7 mm MG, 7.7 mm Type 97
Wings 2: 20 mm, 20 mm Type 99
Bombs 2: 30 kg or 60 kg
  A6M2-K
Type Advanced trainer
Crew 2
Engine (Type) Nakajima N1KC Sakae 12
Cylinders Radial 14
Net HP 950
Propeller blades 3
Dimensions  
Span 39' 4.5"
12 m
Length 30' 0.25"
9.15 m
Height 11' 7.25"
3.53 m
Weight  
Empty 4,010 lb
1,819 kg
Loaded 5,146 lb
2,334 kg
Maximum load 5,792 lb
2,627 kg
Performance  
Speed at 13,125' / 4,000 m 296 mph
476 kph
Cruising speed 214 mph
344 kph
Climb to 19,685' / 6,000 m 7.9 minutes
Service ceiling 33,400'
10,180 m
Range 857 miles
1,380 km
Armament  
Nose 2: 7.7 mm MG
Bombs - under wings 2: 132 lb
2: 60 kg
OR  
Bomb - under fuselage 1: 551 lb
1: 250 kg
  A6M2-K Type 11
Type Trainer
Crew 2
Engine (Type) Sakae-12
Net HP 940
Dimensions  
Span 12 m
Length 9.1 m
Height 3.5 m
Wing area 22.4 sq m
Weight  
Empty 1,819 kg
Loaded 2,334.2 kg
Performance  
Speed at 13,125' / 4,000 m 296 mph
Service ceiling 33,398'
Range 860 miles
Armament  
Nose 2: 7.7 mm Type 97
  A6M3
Type Carrier fighter
Navy fighter bomber
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Nakajima NK1F Sakae 21
Cylinders Radial, Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,130
Propeller blades 3, 3 metal
Dimensions  
Span 36' 1"
11 m
Length 29' 11"
9.12 m
Height 11' 6"
3.6 m
Wing area 230 ft2
21.3 m2
Weight  
Empty 4,000 lb
1,876 kg
Loaded 6,025 lb
2,733 kg
Performance  
Speed 350 mph
565 kph
Service ceiling 38,500'
11,740 m
Range - with drop tanks 1,200 miles
1,800 km
Armament  
Nose 2: 7.7 mm MG, 7.7 mm Type 97
600 rounds each
Wings 2: 20 mm, 20 mm Type 99
100 rounds each
Bombs 2: 130 lb, 132 lb
2: 60 kg
  A6M3 Model 22
Type Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Nakajima Sakae, Sakae-21
Net HP 1,130
Dimensions  
Span 39' 4.5"
12 m
Length 9.1 m
Height 3.5 m
Wing area 22.4 sq m
Weight  
Empty 1,863 kg
Loaded 2,679 kg
Performance  
Speed at 19,685' 336 mph
Range 560 miles, 1,615 miles
Armament  
Nose 2: 7.7 mm MG, 7.7 mm Type 97
Wings 2: 20 mm MG, 20 mm Type 99
  A6M3 Model 32
Type Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Nakajima NK1F Sakae 21
Sakae 21
Net HP 1,100, 1,130
Propeller blades Sumitomo/Hamilton 3 blade constant speed
Dimensions  
Span 36' 1", 36' 1.0625", 36' 2"
11 m
Length 29' 8.6875", 29' 8.75"
9.06 m, 9.1 m
Height 11' 6" , 11' 6.15625"
3.5 m, 3.509 m, 3.51 m
Wing area 231.746 sq ft
21.5 sq m, 21.53 sq m
Fuel Capacity 134 Gallons
Weight  
Empty 3,984 lb
1,807 kg, 1,807.1 kg
Loaded 5,609 lb, 5,829 lb
2,534.7 kg, 2,544 kg, 2,644 kg
Performance  
Speed 294 mph
Speed at sea level 279 mph
450 kph
Speed at 19,685' / 6,000 m 338 mph
544 kph
Speed - Cruising 230 mph
Climb 3,100'/minute
945 m/minute
Climb to 19,685' / 6,000 m 7 minutes 19 seconds, 7.3 minutes
Service ceiling 36,250', 36,253'
11,050 m
Range 1,447 miles
Range - with drop tanks 1,284 miles, 1,446 miles
2,328 km
Armament  
Above engine 2: 7.7 mm MG
Wings 2: 20 mm
60 - 100 rounds each, 100 rounds each
  A6M5
Type Fighter, Navy fighter bomber
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Nakajima NK1F Sakae 21, Sakae 21
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,130
Propeller blades 3, 3 Metal
Dimensions  
Span 35' 9", 36' 1"
11 m
Length 29' 8", 29' 11"
9.12 m
Height 11' 4", 11' 6"
3.5 m
Weight  
Loaded 6,013 lb
Performance  
Speed 351 mph
565 kph
Speed at 19,685' / 6,000 m 351 mph
565 kph
Climb 2,805'/minute
855 m/minute
Climb to 19,685' / 6,000 m 7 minutes
Service ceiling 36,255', 38,520'
11,050 m
Range  
Range with drop tanks 1,193 miles, 1,194 miles
1,920 km
Armament 2: 20 mm
2: MG
Nose 1: 7.7 mm MG
2: 7.7 mm Type 97
Wings 2: 13.2 mm MG
2: 20 mm, 20 mm Type 99
Bombs 132 lb
  A6M5 Model 52
Type Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Nakajima Sakae 21
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,020, 1,130
Propeller Blades 3 metal constant speed
Propellar Diameter 10'
3.05 m
Fuel Capacity 156 Gallons
Fuel Capacity - Jettisonable 94 Gallons
Dimensions  
Span 36' 1.0625", 36' 2"
11 m
Length 29' 9", 29' 11.09375"
9 m, 9.1 m, 9.121 m
Height 9' 2", 11' 6.15625"
2.8 m, 3.5 m, 3.509 m
Wing area 229.27 sq ft, 238 sq ft
21.3 sq m, 22.1 sq m
Weight  
Empty 3,920 lb, 4,136 lb, 4,740 lb
1,780 kg, 1,855.6 kg, 1,876 kg, 2,150 kg
Loaded 5,750 lb, 6,025 lb, 6,508 lb, 6,945 lb
2,610 kg, 2,742.9 kg, 2,952 kg , 3,150 kg
Loaded - Maximum 6,330 lb
2,874 kg
Performance  
Speed 351 mph
Speed at 19,000' / 19,685' / 19,700' / 6,000 m 340 mph, 351 mph
544 kph
Speed - Cruising 230 mph
Climb at 8,000' / 2,440 m 3,020' per minute
920 m per minute
Climb to 19,685' / 6,000 m 7 minutes 1 second
Service ceiling 38,250', 38,549'
11,740 m
Range 1,194 miles
Range with drop tanks 1,194 miles
Armament  
Nose 2: 7.7 mm MG
Wings 2: 20 mm, 20 mm Oerlikon
Bombs - wings 2: 132 lb
2: 60 kg
  A6M5 Model 52a, A6M5 Model 52 KO, A6M5a Model 52 Koh
Type Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Sakae-21, Nakajima NK1F Sakae 21
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,130
Propeller Blades 3 metal
Dimensions  
Span 11 m
Length 9.1 m
Height 3.5 m
Wing area 21.3 sq m
Weight  
Empty 1,855.6 kg
Loaded 2,742.9 kg
Performance  
Speed 351 mph
Service ceiling 38,520'
Range 1,194 miles
Armament  
Nose 2: 7.7 mm MG , 7.7 mm Type 97
Wings 2: 20 mm
2: 20 mm Type 99 Mk 4
2: 20 mm Type 99 Model 2-3
Rounds: 125
Bombs - wings 2: 132 lb
2: 60 kg
  A6M5 Model 52b, A6M5 Model 52 OTSU
Type Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Sakae-21, Nakajima NK1F Sakae 21
Cylinders Radial, Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,130
Propeller Blades 3, 3 metal
Dimensions  
Span 36' 1", 36' 1.1"
11 m
Length 29' 11.1", 29' 11.125"
9.1 m, 9.12 m
Height 11' 6.125", 11' 6.2"
3.5 m, 3.51 m
Wing area 229.27 sq ft, 229.28 sq ft
21.3 sq m
Weight  
Empty 4,136 lb
1,855.6 kg, 1,876 kg
Loaded 6,025 lb
2,733 kg, 2,742.9 kg
Performance  
Speed at 19,685' / 6,000 m 351 mph
565 kph
Climb to 19,685' / 6,000 m 7 minutes
Service ceiling 38,520'
11,740 m
Range 710 miles, 1,194 miles
1,143 km
Armament  
Nose 1: 7.7 mm MG, 7.7 mm Type 97, 7.7 mm / 0.303" Type 97 MG
1: 13 mm MG, 13.2 mm Type 3 MG
Wings 2: 20 mm, 20 mm Type 99
Bombs - Under Wings 2: 132 lb or 551 lb
2: 60 kg or 250 kg
  A6M5 Model 52c, A6M5c Model 52, A6M5 Model 52 HEI
Type Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Sakae Model 21, Sakae Model 31, Nakajima NK1F Sakae 21
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,100, 1,130
Propeller blades 3 metal
Dimensions  
Span 36' 1"
11 m
Length 29' 11"
9.1 m
Height 11' 6"
3.5 m
Wing area 21.3 sq m
Weight  
Empty 4,136 lb
2,155 kg
Loaded 6,025 lb
3,159.8 kg
Performance  
Speed 335 mph
Speed at 19,685' / 6,000 m 348 mph
Climb to 16,405' 5 minutes 50 seconds
Service ceiling 36,253', 36,255'
Range 657 miles, 1,312 miles
Range with drop tanks  
Armament 1: 7.7 mm
3: 13.2 mm
2: 20 mm
Nose 1: 13 mm MG
1: 13.2 mm Type 3
Wings 2: 13 mm, 13.2 mm Type 3
240 rounds each
2: 20 mm, 20 mm Type 99
Rockets 2: 132 lb
2: 60 kg
  A6M5-K
Type Advanced trainer
Crew 2
Engine (Type) Nakajima NK1F Sakae 21
Net HP 1,130
Propeller blades 3
Dimensions  
Span 36' 1"
11 m
  A6M6
Type Fighter bomber
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Nakajima Sakae 31
Sakae 31a
Cylinders Radial 14
Net HP 1,130
Propeller blades 3
Armament  
Nose 1: 13 mm MG
Wings 2: 13 mm MG
2: 20 mm
Bomb - under fuselage 1: 551 lb
1: 250 kg
  A6M7
Type Fighter bomber
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Nakajima Sakae 31
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,130
Propeller blades 3, 3 metal
Weight  
Loaded 6,614 lb
3,000 kg
Performance  
Speed at 21,000' / 6,400 m 340 mph
548 kph
Climb to 19,685' / 6,000 m 8 minutes
Service ceiling 33,400'
10,180 m
Range 945 miles
1,520 km
Armament  
Nose 1: 13 mm MG, 13.2 mm Type 3
Wings 2: 13 mm MG, 13.2 mm Type 3
2: 20 mm, 20 mm Type 99
Bombs 1: 1,102 lb
1: 500 kg
Bomb - under fuselage 1: 550 lb, 551 lb
1: 250 kg
  A6M7 Model 63
Type Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Sakae-31a
Net HP 1,130
Dimensions  
Span 11 m
Length 9.1 m
Height 3.5 m
Wing area 21.3 sq m
Weight  
Empty 2,049.8 kg
Loaded 2,999.6 kg
Performance  
Speed 337 mph
Service ceiling 33,398'
Range 943 miles
Armament 3: 13.2 mm
2: 20 mm
  A6M8
Type Fighter, Fighter bomber
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Mitsubishi Kinsei 62, Mitsubishi MK8P Kinsei 62
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,560
Propeller blades 3, 3 metal
Dimensions  
Span 36' 1", 36' 11"
11 m
Length 30' 3", 30' 3.75"
9.24 m
Height 11' 11"
3.63 m
Weight  
Empty 4,740 lb
2,150 kg
Loaded 6,945 lb
3,150 kg
Performance  
Speed at 19,685' / 6,000 m 355 mph, 356 mph
573 kph
Climb to 19,685' / 6,000 m 6.8 minutes
Service ceiling 37,075'
11,300 m
Armament 2: 20 mm
2: MG
Wings 2: 13 mm MG, 13.2 mm Type 3
2: 20 mm, 20 mm Type 99
Bombs 1: 1,102 lb
1: 500 kg
Bomb - under fuselage 1: 551 lb
1: 250 kg
OR  
Rockets 8: 22 lb
8: 10 kg
OR 2: 132 lb
2: 60 kg
  A6M8 Model 54c, A6M8c
Type Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Mitsubishi Kinsei 62
Net HP 1,340, 1,560
Dimensions  
Span 36' 1.0625"
11 m
Length 30' 3.65625"
9.2 m, 9.237 m
Height 11' 11.21875"
3.5 m, 3.638 m
Wing area 229.27 sq ft
21.3 sq m, 22.4 sq m
Weight  
Empty 4,740 lb
2,150 kg, 2,154.6 kg
Loaded 6,945 lb
3,150 kg, 3,150.2 kg
Performance  
Speed at 19,685' / 6,000 m 355 mph, 356 mph
Climb to 19,685' / 6,000 m 6 minutes 50 seconds
Service ceiling 35,367', 37,075'
11,200 m
Range 1,312 miles
Armament  
Wings 2: 13.2 mm Type 3
2: 20 mm Type 99 Mark 2

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of World War II, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  3. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  4. Seafire vs A6M Zero Pacific Theatre, Donald Nijboer, 2009
  5. A6M Zero in Action, Shigeru Nohara, 1983
  6. Japanese Naval Aces and Fighter Units in World War II, Ikuhiko Hata, Yasuho Izawa, 1989
  7. World War II Airplanes Volume 2, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  8. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
  9. Mitsubishi A6M Zero, James D'Angina, 2016
  10. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  11. Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, René J Francillon, 1970
  12. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Bill Gunston, 1989
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site