Mitsubishi A6M

The Mitsubishi A6M Zero was a lightweight fighter aircraft operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service (IJNAS) in World War II from 1940 to 1945. The A6M was usually referred to by the Allies as the Zero - a name that was frequently misapplied to other Japanese fighters. When it was introduced, the Zero was the believed to be the best carrier-based fighter in the world. The IJNAS also frequently used the type as a land-based fighter. The A6M had a combination of excellent maneuverability and very long range. 

In early combat operations, the Zero gained a legendary reputation, outclassing its contemporaries. Later, design weaknesses and the increasing scarcity of more powerful aircraft engines meant that the Zero became less effective against newer fighters. By 1942, due to the evolution of new tactics and techniques, Allied pilots were able to engage the Zero on more equal terms. By 1943, American and British manufacturers were producing fighters with greater firepower, armor, and speed, and approaching the maneuverability of the Zero. The Mitsubishi A6M was outdated by 1944, but remained in production. During the final years of the War in the Pacific, the Zero was utilized in kamikaze operations.

Mitsubishi A6M
Class Aircraft
Type Fighter
Manufacturer Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation
Origin Japan
Country Name Origin Year
Japan 1939
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Japan 1940 1945 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation 11000 View

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 9.06 m (29ft 9 in)
  • Wingspan: 12.0 m (39ft 4 in)
  • Height: 3.05 m (10ft 0 in)
  • Wing area: 22.44 m (241.5 ft)
  • Empty weight: 1,680 kg (3,704 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 2,410 kg (5,313 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: kg (lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 x Nakajima Sakae 12 radial engine, 709 kW (950 hp)
  • Aspect ratio: 6.4


  • Never exceed speed: 660km/h (356 knots, 410 mph)
  • Maximum speed: 533km/h (287 knots, 331 mph) at 4,550m (14,930 ft)
  • Range: 3,105 km (1,675nm, 1,929 mi)
  • Service ceiling 10,000 m (33,000 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 15.7m/s (3,100ft/min)
  • Wing loading: 107.4kg/m (22.0 lb/ft)
  • Power/mass: 294W/kg (0.18 hp/lb)


  • Guns:
    • 2 x 7.7mm (0.303 in) Type 97 machine guns in the engine cowling
    • 2 x 20 mm (0.787 in) Type 99 cannons in the wings
    • Bombs:
      • 2 x 60 kg (132 lb) bombs or
      • 2 x fixed 250 kg bombs for kamikaze attacks

End notes