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Japan's Imperial Navy flag

Japan's Mitsubishi A6M5 Reisen fighter
Allied code name: Hamp, Zeke

Design

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.

Prototype

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

Production

  • Production started:
    • Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52a: March 1944
    • Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52b: Middle of 1944
    • Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52c: September 1944

Variants

  • Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52: Had wing folding mechanism removed and a rounded tip was installed. Exhaust was modified and provided some extra thrust.
  • Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52a, Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52 KO: Ammunition feed was improved. Skin gauge was increased to allow faster diving. Diving speed was 460 mph.
  • Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52b, Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52 OTSU: 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.
  • Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52c, Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52 HEI: Armament was revised. 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.
  • 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 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.

Usage

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

  Mitsubishi A6M5
Type Fighter, Navy fighter bomber
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Nakajima NK1F Sakae 21
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,130
Propeller blades 3
Dimensions  
Span 35' 9", 36' 1"
11 m
Length 29' 8", 29' 11"
9.12 m
Height 11' 4", 11' 6"
3.5 m
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded 6,013 lb
Performance  
Speed 351 mph
Speed @ 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
Wings 2: 13.2 mm MG
2: 20 mm
Bombs 132 lb
  Mitsubishi A6M5b
Type Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Nakajima NK2F Sakae 21 piston
Cylinders Radial
Cooling  
Net HP 1,100
Propeller blades 3
Dimensions  
Span 36' 1"
11 m
Length 29' 11 1/8"
9.12 m
Height 11' 6 1/8"
3.51 m
Wing area 229.27 ft2
21.3 m2
Weight  
Empty 4,136 lb
1,876 kg
Loaded 6,025 lb
2,733 kg
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 19,685' /
6,000 m
351 mph
565 kph
Climb  
Climb to 19,685' /
6,000 m
7 minutes
Service ceiling 38,520'
11,740 m
Range 710 miles
1,143 km
Range with drop tanks  
Armament  
Nose 1: 7.7 mm Type 97 MG
1: 13.2 mm Type 3 MG
Wings 2: 20 mm Type 99
Bombs - wings 2: 132 lb or 551 lb
2: 60 kg or 250 kg
  Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52
Type  
Crew  
Engine (Type) Sakae 21
Cylinders  
Cooling  
Net HP 1,130
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span  
Length  
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 4,136 lb
1,876 kg
Loaded 6,025 lb, 6,508 lb
2,952 kg
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 19,000' 351 mph
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Range with drop tanks 1,194 miles
Armament  
Nose 2: 7.7 mm MG
Wings 2: 20 mm
Bombs - wings 2: 132 lb
2: 60 kg
  Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52a
Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52 KO
Type  
Crew  
Engine (Type)  
Cylinders  
Cooling  
Net HP  
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span  
Length  
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Performance  
Speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Range with drop tanks  
Armament  
Nose 2: 7.7 mm MG
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
  Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52b
Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52 OTSU
Type  
Crew  
Engine (Type)  
Cylinders  
Cooling  
Net HP  
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span  
Length  
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Performance  
Speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Range with drop tanks  
Armament  
Nose 1: 7.7 mm MG, 7.7 mm Type 97
1: 13 mm MG, 13 mm Type 3
Wings 2: 20 mm
  Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52c
Mitsubishi A6M5c Model 52
Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52 HEI
Type Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Sakae Model 21, Sakae Model 31
Cylinders  
Cooling  
Net HP 1,100
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span 36' 1"
Length 29' 11"
Height 11' 6"
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 4,136 lb
Loaded 6,025 lb
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 19,685' /
6,000 m
348 mph
Climb  
Climb to 16,405' 5' 50"
Service ceiling 36,255'
Range 657 miles
Range with drop tanks  
Armament  
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

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. World War II Airplanes Volume 2, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site