|Manufacturer||Mitsubishi Heavy Industries|
|Maiden Flight||6 May 1944|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseThe A7M Reppu ("Strong Gale") were designed as the successor to the A6M Zero aircraft. The design work began in Apr 1942 when Mitsubishi engineer Jiro Horikoshi and his team had completed with previous projects. In Jul 1942, the Japanese Navy issued specific requests for this aircraft, already designated Navy Experimental 17-shi Ko Type Carrier Fighter, which demanded a top speed of 639 kilometers per hour, ceiling of 6,000 meters, being able to climb to 6,000 meters in 6 minutes, having two 20-millimeter cannon and two 13-millimeter machine guns, and keeping the maneuverability of the A6M3 Zero fighters. While Horikoshi's team was able to locate an engine that would be able to handle the performance being demanded, the company's responsibility to build G4M bombers and A6M fighters meant that the building of prototype A7M fighters was delayed significantly. The first prototype took flight on 6 May 1944, and was found to be underpowered. War demands led to the Navy's request for Mitsubishi to stop development on the A7M, but the company was able to secure permission to continue with the condition that no resources would be allocated to develop new engines. Instead, A7M development continued using the existing Ha-43 engine. The first prototype with the Ha-43 engine took flight on 13 Oct 1944, achieving a top speed of 628 kilometers per hour and showing better handling than the A6M Zero predecessors. Production began shortly after, but an earthquake in the Nagoya region of Japan on top of the ever waning resources due to the Allied naval blockade meant only eight aircraft would be build before the end of the war. A7M fighters would see no combat.
ww2dbaseThe Allied codename for the A7M Reppu fighters was "Sam".
Last Major Revision: Dec 2011
A7M Reppu Timeline
|6 May 1944Â||The A7M1 Reppu fighter took its first flight.|
|30 Jul 1944Â||The Japanese Navy ordered Mitsubishi to stop development of the A7M fighter design; Mitsubishi was able to secure permission to continue given that the company was to use existing engines rather than develop new ones.|
|13 Oct 1944Â||The A7M2 Reppu fighter, equipped with the Ha-43 engine, took its first flight.|
|Machinery||One Mitsubishi Ha-43 engine rated at 2,200hp|
|Armament||2x20mm Type 99 cannon, 2x13.2mm Type 3 machine guns|
|Wing Area||30.86 mÂ²|
|Weight, Empty||3,226 kg|
|Weight, Loaded||4,720 kg|
|Speed, Maximum||630 km/h|
|Speed, Cruising||417 km/h|
|Service Ceiling||10,900 m|
|Range, Normal||1,200 km|
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Â»Â Horikoshi, Jiro
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945
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