|Mitsubishi A6M5 Zero Fighter|
The Japanese Navy had started flying this improved version of the Zero in late 1943. Its added horsepower, speed, and armament made it even more dangerous than the A6M2.
Its slightly smaller, thicker-skinned wing gave it better diving qualities, but it still suffered from some of the A6M2ís old problems. While slightly more maneuverable than a Hellcat at low to medium speeds, it was still lightly built and more vulnerable to battle damage than the Grumman.
Despite these problems, the Zero could be very dangerous, especially if its pilot could draw his enemy into a turning fight below 15,000 feet. The Zero remained in production and continued to evolve. Anyone who thinks a Zero was an easy kill had better think twice.
This improved Zero retained most of the combat strengths and weaknesses of the earlier models. It was a little faster, and the added weight of its thicker-skinned wing improved diving ability.
Finesse is still the name of the game for Zero pilots. Most of the Tips and Tricks for the A6M2 model still apply here.
|Armament||Two 7.7 mm (.303-cal) Type 97 machine guns with 500 r.p.g. on nose, and two 20 mm Type 99 (Oerlikon) cannon with 60 r.p.g. in wings, plus two 66-lb (30 kg) or 132-lb (60 kg) bombs|
|Max speed @ altitude||305 knots/351 mph (565 km/h) @ 19,685 ft (6,000 m)|
|Ceiling||38,520 ft (11,740 m) Initial climb rate: 3,150 ft (1,372 m)/min|
|Range )||with drop tanks, 1,194 mi (1,921 km|