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Mitsubishi M-50 / A7M


The Reppu (Hurricane) was designed to the requirements of a 17-Shi specification as an A6M successor, and was the responsibility of Jiro Horikoshi. It was not until 1942 that design of the M-50 Reppu (hurricane) began, but the continuing pressure on Mitsubishi for developments of the ABM meant that it was not until 6 May 1944 that the first prototype, which by then had the company designation Mitsubishi A7M1, was flown for the first time.

The first of two A7M1 prototypes was powered with a Nakajima NK9K Homare 22 engine rated at 2,000 hp for take-off.

A cantilever low-wing monoplane with retractable tailwheel landing gear, and hy-draulically-operated outer wing panels, the A7M1 revealed excellent flight characteristics, but as predicted by Mitsubishi the type's maximum speed on the power of the installed Nakajima NK9K Homare 22 engine was below specification.

Further testing was abandoned until availability of the 1641kW / 2,200 hp for take-off Mitsubishi MK9A radial engine made it possible to build seven A7M2 prototype and service trials aircraft, the first prototype being flown on 13 October 1944. Plans for large-scale production were immediately initiated, and it was proposed that series aircraft would have either four 20-mm cannon or two cannon and two 13,2-mm machine guns.

The Reppu had a maximum speed of 630km/h at optimum altitude and was ordered into production as the Navy Carrier Fighter Reppu Model 22. A further six A7M2 prototypes and one production aircraft had been completed by the time hostilities terminated, at which time work was proceeding on the extensively modified A7M3-J which was to have been powered by a turbosupercharged version of the MK9A engine and carry an armament of four wing-mounted and two oblique-firing fuselage-mounted 30-mm cannon.

Allied air attacks and an earthquake limiting production to only one aircraft. Development of similar land-based fighters was planned under the designations A7M3 and A7M3-J, but neither was built before the war ended.

Engine: Nakajima NK9K Homare 22, 2,000 hp

Engine: Mitsubishi MK9A, 2,200 hp / 1650kW
Max speed, 390 mph (628 km/h) at 21,655 ft (6 600 m)
Time to 19,685 ft (6 000 m), 6.15 min
Range (internal fuel), 570 mls (917 km)
Cruise speed: 410 km/h / 255 mph
Ceiling: 10900 m / 35750 ft
Empty weight, 7,112 lb (3 226 kg)
Max take-off weight, 10,406 lb (4720 kg)
Span, 45 ft 11¼ in (14,00 m)
Length, 36 ft 1¼ in (11,00 m)
Height, 14 ft ½ in (4,28 m)
Wing area, 332.17 sq ft (30,86 sq.m)
Armament: 4 x 20mm cannons, 2 x 250-kg bombs
Crew: 1


Mitsubishi A7M Reppu / SAM




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