Mitsubishi Zero-Sen

aka "Zero"

A Second World War era Japanese single seat monoplane fighter aircraft.

In the year 1937 Japanese Navy had to replace their old warplanes, especially the outdated Mitsubishi Type 96 (A5M) model, so they placed an order for blueprints from Mitsubishi and Nakajima companies. The requirement specification the Navy had placed was viewed as unrealistic by Nakajima, but Mitsubishi started the work, led by Jiro Horikoshi. Later on, Nakajima provided engines for this aircraft. One of the building materials used was Extra-Super-Duralumin (ESD), a very lightweight alloy developed by Sumitomo Metal Industry Company especially for aircraft.

On April 1st, 1939 the Zero had its first flight, piloted by Katsuzo Shima, Mitsubishi's test pilot. The Japanese Navy accepted the prototype on september 1939, under the designation "A6M1 Carrier Fighter". The first 15 planes were delivered to the Japanese Navy in July 1941, and at the end of the month plane was accepted by the Navy as "Type O Carrier Fighter Model 11" or Zero-Sen, as it was more popularly known. The nickname was shortened to "Zero" by Allied pilots, and it stuck ever since.

Over its glorious career, there were over 10,000 Zero-sen's built, in various versions, with new engine designs and new weaponry. The plane was under continuous development throughout the war, adapting to the enemy's new planes and so on. Alongside the Spitfire, this is definitely one the most famous airplanes that have flown in the skies during World War II - no other planes were as much feared by their enemies as these two.

Technical information: Mitsubishi A6M6c Model 53C "Zero-Sen"


Span: 36 ft. 1 in.
Length : 29 ft. 9 in.
Height : 9 ft. 2 in.
Wing area : 229.271 sq .ft.


Empty : 3920 lb
Normal loaded : 6026 lb
Maximum : 6508 lb


Two type 99 20 mm cannon Three 13.2 mm machineguns One 7.7 mm machinegun


One Nakajima NK1P Sakae 31 14-cylinder air-cooled two-row radial engine, generating 1210 hp at 2800 rpm for take-off, and 1210 hp at 8100 ft. and 1055 hp at 20,400 ft.


Maximum speed : 364 mph (at 19680 ft), 289 mph (at sea level)
Cruising speed : 201 mph
Maximum range : 1130 miles at 152 mph, 875 miles at 212 mph
Initial climb rate : 3140 ft./minute
Time to 20000 ft. : 7.8 minutes
Service ceiling : 35100 ft

Technical information from William Green's "Famous Fighters of the Second World War", MacDonald & Co, 1957.