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A7M Reppu file photo [13838]

A7M Reppu

ManufacturerMitsubishi Heavy Industries
Primary RoleFighter
Maiden Flight6 May 1944


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".

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

Last Major Revision: Dec 2011

A7M Reppu Timeline

6 May 1944 The A7M1 Reppu fighter took its first flight.
30 Jul 1944 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 1944 The A7M2 Reppu fighter, equipped with the Ha-43 engine, took its first flight.


MachineryOne Mitsubishi Ha-43 engine rated at 2,200hp
Armament2x20mm Type 99 cannon, 2x13.2mm Type 3 machine guns
Span14.00 m
Length10.99 m
Height4.28 m
Wing Area30.86 m²
Weight, Empty3,226 kg
Weight, Loaded4,720 kg
Speed, Maximum630 km/h
Speed, Cruising417 km/h
Service Ceiling10,900 m
Range, Normal1,200 km


A7M2 Reppu fighter at rest in a hangar, Yokosuka, Japan, Sep 1945, photo 1 of 2A7M2 Reppu fighter at rest in a hangar, Yokosuka, Japan, Sep 1945, photo 2 of 2

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. walter says:
22 Sep 2012 11:02:50 AM

muy interesante.Desearía recibir informaciòn periodicamente sobre el tema. Agradecido.

walter giner
2. M. Parker says:
10 Aug 2015 07:19:10 PM

What happened to the A7M aircraft. I heard 2 survive? Where are they??
3. Anonymous says:
9 Jan 2016 12:12:12 AM

The A7M3 version has the W/L and P/L of a Ki 100 with more speed and firepower and turn ability with auto combat flaps like the N1K. The best part is the boost for better altitude performance and 2,250 hp.

The A7M3-J Kai is perhaps overkill with the 6x30mm punch at the expense of climb (2 more minutes to about 33,000'). W/L and P/L would be heavier, in the
Ki 61-II ballpark. So it would be more like a US fighter but slower (50 hp less than the A7M3). An F6F might outfly it but not the lighter A7M3 with 6x20mm cannons. Both Reppus 3s are close to 400 mph in estimated speed, but better than the A7M2 at altitude or even the Kawasakis.

The cannons are all high velocity, even the 30mm.
The 20mm might be the faster 750 rpm version produced since May 1945. That's better than the US Hispano M2 20mm. And equal to the RAF Hispano Mk V. The US M3 was still prone to jam but not quite as much as the M2 perhaps.

Anyway, the firepower was most formidable. Handy for tackling B-29s. 4 wing-mounted 30mm cannons and twin dorsal 30mm cannons are superlative for interception.

With the added delay for the A7M3-J Kai, due to the longer nose and general strenthening for the heavier weight of those 30mm weapons, I wonder if the priority should have been to expedite the more than adequate 20mm armed A7M3 first to get it into action in quantity. The Kai was perhaps overkill and a distraction that kept the Reppu from getting in the ring at all. Mitsubishi couldn't afford to lose another 6 months.
4. Anonymous says:
18 Apr 2016 07:31:57 PM

What if?
The rocket motor of the J8M was in the tail to boost speed La-7R style?
That should close the speed gap with Allied fighters.
When Russia attacked at the end of the war, imagine if those two had a dogfight? La7R vs A7M2R!!
Just a thought.

Or just replace the MK9 powerplant with a Karyu jet engine and move the cockpit forward some more! Then pack Navy 20 and 30mm cannons in the nose with ammo on the cg. The US couldn't match those guns.
Of course it's jet engine might be less reliable than the slow 390 mph standard MK9 prop Reppu, but the Lockheed P-80 was coming! It would have made things more interesting than a fighter project that spanned the entire war in developement and never really broke 400 mph and never saw action. All because the 340 mph Zero A6M7 had priority. Go figure! Of couse this Zero worked well as a kamikaze plane or night fighter. The Reppu should have replaced all Zeros years before that, parallel to the Army Ki 84 rival!
Time was wasted between 1940 and 42 and again later, and again after that for the A7M3-J redesign.
This made the Army brass look like geniuses compared to the Navy brass. The Ki 84 was kicking butt in 1943, while the prolific A6M5 Zero was losing the war and wasting resources!

The Navy had only one MK9 factory for the Reppu!!
This engine was so reliable, it was slated to power the Ki 84 too. So why not more factories? When that sole factory was put out of action, more delays followed for the Reppu, predictably.
Jiro Horikoshi was used to frustration with the Navy brass on top of everything else, long before this.

As soon as the A7M2 passed the test flight, it should have been rolling off of all Zero production lines and Ki 43 lines too, with many, many sources for the MK9 engines.

How many late-war Japanese fighters had reliable engines? The Reppu did! So get this fighter out the door and onto all carriers and on all fronts in 1944 already!! As is, it's way better than the obsolete Oscar and Zero. If the diehard aces complain, give them a Reppu! It turned 360 in 12 seconds!! It did 390 mph! It had better handling than the A6M5! It could out-dive it handily. And it could intercept B-29 too. It could pack 4x20mm cannons. What Oscar did that?

Then, in 1945 ramp up the A7M3 with the higher altitude MK9S and 6x20mm cannons in the wings!! 7,000 of these running loose might also give the Russians pause as well as the B-29s.

Then in 1946 field the 30mm cannon packing, super high altitude long-nosed A7M3-J/A8M interceptor version if relevant.
5. ron says:
27 Apr 2016 12:57:03 PM

The Type 99-II type 5 was equal to the RAF Hispano Mk V 20mm cannon and certainly superior to the US version of the Hispano, even the post-war M3 version.

No other Japanese fighter gun equaled it.
750 rpm
1,000m firing range.
128 gpr and 9.9g HE!
750 mps M/V
Up to 250 rpg That's 20 seconds of firing time.
The A6M3 had 6 of these in the wings.
It deserved not to be delayed for the sake of the Zero.
6. ron boren says:
16 May 2016 02:36:19 PM

The shock of the Midway dissaster was still ringing in the ears of the IJN. They were terrified. Their decissions showed it. In the case of the A6M5 they went against the more powerful engine, and relented with the A6M8 2 years later. Again, with the Reppu A7M1 they ordered converting it to take the less powerful NK9 because it was readily acceptable without delay. Then, after the underpowered result disappointed, they lost time letting the engineers have their way about 6 months later with the 2,200 hp MK9. It was a successful A7M2 flight test. It would have been better instead of the A7M1 when there was time to produce prior to the December earquake and B-29 bomb damage brought down the curtain on the Reppu. Japan didn't have time for the IJN to lock horns with the design team.
7. ron boren says:
19 May 2016 03:13:28 PM

Reppu has better handling and turn than A6M5 Zero. Check.
It has speed of Ki 84. Check.
It has climb and dive of J2M3. Check.
It has altitude performance of J2M5. Check.
It has 4x20mm cannons. Check.
It has reliability. Check.
It has top priority. Nope!

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A7M Reppu Fighter Photo Gallery
A7M2 Reppu fighter at rest in a hangar, Yokosuka, Japan, Sep 1945, photo 1 of 2A7M2 Reppu fighter at rest in a hangar, Yokosuka, Japan, Sep 1945, photo 2 of 2

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