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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.3 As the A7M failed the A6M5 ended up being the most produced of the A6M series.3

It was to be simplified for production and increase the diving speed.4,5 A heavier gauge metal was used in the wings.5 Diving speed was increased to 410 mph.5

Prototype

The prototype A6M5 (the 904th A6M3 converted) first flew in August 1943.3
The A6M5 Model 52 prototype first flew in the summer of 1943.5

Production

  • Production started:
    • Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52a: March 19443
    • Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52b: Middle of 19443
    • Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52c: September 19443

Variants

  • Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 524,5: Had wing folding mechanism removed and a rounded tip was installed.3,4 Exhaust was modified and provided some extra thrust.3
  • Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52a4,5, Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52 KO5: Ammunition feed was improved.3 Skin gauge was increased to allow faster diving.3,4 Diving speed was 460 mph.4,5
  • Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52b4,5, Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52 OTSU5: Added armor for pilot and fuel tanks.3,4,5 A fire extinguisher system was added.3,4 The armament was improved.3 Added a 5 mm bullet resistant windscreen.4,5 Could carry two 150 liter drop tanks under the wings.5
  • Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52c4,5, Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52 HEI5: Armament was revised.3,4 A self sealing fuel tank added behind the pilot which caused center of gravity problems.3 8 mm plate installed behind the pilot.5 55 mm of armored glass installed behind pilot's head.5 A 37 gallon self sealing fuel tank was placed behind the pilot.5
  • Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 22: Fuel capacity was increased.3 Cannons were long barrel.3 The flaps and ailerons were modified.3 The skin was heavier gauge to allow faster diving.3
  • Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 634: Centerline drop tank was replaced by bomb rack that could carry 500 lb bomb.4 The Model 63 could carry a 33 gallon / 150 liter drop tank under each wing.4

Usage

The A6M5 entered service in October 1943.3,6

It's best speed for combat was 180 mph or less.4

Kamikaze

On October 25, 1944, the Shikishima kamikaze sent five A6M5s to attack the St. Lo and sank it.2

Specifications

  Mitsubishi A6M5
Type Fighter6, Navy fighter bomber3
Crew 13,6
Engine (Type) Nakajima NK1F Sakae 213,6
Cylinders Radial 143,6
Cooling Air6
Net HP 1,1303
Propeller blades 33
Dimensions  
Span 35' 9"6, 36' 1"3
11 m3
Length 29' 8"6, 29' 11"3
9.12 m3
Height 11' 4"6, 11' 6"3
3.5 m3
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded 6,013 lb6
Performance  
Speed 351 mph5
Speed @ 19,685' /
6,000 m
351 mph3,6
565 kph3
Climb 2,805'/minute3
855 m/minute3
Climb to 19,685' /
6,000 m
7 minutes3
Service ceiling 36,255'3, 38,520'6
11,050 m3
Range  
Range with drop tanks 1,193 miles3, 1,194 miles6
1,920 km3
Armament 2: 20 mm6
2: MG6
Nose 1: 7.7 mm MG2
Wings 2: 13.2 mm MG2
2: 20 mm2
Bombs 132 lb6
  Mitsubishi A6M5b
Type Fighter2
Crew 12
Engine (Type) Nakajima NK2F Sakae 21 piston2
Cylinders Radial2
Cooling  
Net HP 1,1002
Propeller blades 32
Dimensions  
Span 36' 1"2
11 m2
Length 29' 11 1/8"2
9.12 m2
Height 11' 6 1/8"2
3.51 m2
Wing area 229.27 ft2 2
21.3 m2 2
Weight  
Empty 4,136 lb2
1,876 kg2
Loaded 6,025 lb2
2,733 kg2
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 19,685' /
6,000 m
351 mph2
565 kph2
Climb  
Climb to 19,685' /
6,000 m
7 minutes2
Service ceiling 38,520'2
11,740 m2
Range 710 miles2
1,143 km2
Range with drop tanks  
Armament  
Nose 1: 7.7 mm Type 97 MG2
1: 13.2 mm Type 3 MG2
Wings 2: 20 mm Type 992
Bombs - wings 2: 132 lb or 551 lb2
2: 60 kg or 250 kg2
  Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52
Type  
Crew  
Engine (Type) Sakae 215
Cylinders  
Cooling  
Net HP 1,1305
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span  
Length  
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 4,136 lb3
1,876 kg3
Loaded 6,025 lb5, 6,508 lb3
2,952 kg3
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 19,000' 351 mph4,5
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Range with drop tanks 1,194 miles5
Armament  
Nose 2: 7.7 mm MG3,5
Wings 2: 20 mm3,5
Bombs - wings 2: 132 lb3
2: 60 kg3
  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 MG3
Wings 2: 20 mm3
2: 20 mm Type 99 Mk 44
2: 20 mm Type 99 Model 2-35
Rounds: 1255
Bombs - wings 2: 132 lb3
2: 60 kg3
  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 MG3, 7.7 mm Type 974
1: 13 mm MG3, 13 mm Type 34
Wings 2: 20 mm3
  Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52c
Mitsubishi A6M5c Model 52
Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52 HEI
Type Fighter4
Crew 14
Engine (Type) Sakae Model 214\, Sakae Model 314
Cylinders  
Cooling  
Net HP 1,1004
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span 36' 1"4
Length 29' 11"4
Height 11' 6"4
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 4,136 lb4
Loaded 6,025 lb4
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 19,685' /
6,000 m
348 mph4
Climb  
Climb to 16,405' 5' 50"4
Service ceiling 36,255'4
Range 657 miles4
Range with drop tanks  
Armament  
Nose 1: 13 mm MG3,5
1: 13.2 mm Type 34
Wings 2: 13 mm3,5, 13.2 mm Type 34
240 rounds each5
2: 20 mm3,5, 20 mm Type 994
Rockets 2: 132 lb3
2: 60 kg3

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