A6M2 "Reisen, Zero"
- Shipborne Fighter
Mass production of the A6M2 was launched in August 1940 at the Mitsubishi plant in Nagoya, and later also at the Nakajima plant in Kuizuma.
During serial production, changes continued to be made to the aircraft design.
Starting from the 22nd production aircraft, they began to install a reinforced rear spar of wing, from the 37th they improved the cooling of the engine (they changed the location of the exhaust pipes - they used to come out in the area of the fourth cover, which regulates the engine cooling, and starting from the 37th copy - in the area of the fifth ). We reduced the cross-section of the hole in the wing through which the 20 mm cannon fired, and also reduced the cockpit air intake located at the base of the right wing half. Starting from the 47th copy, the glazing of the rear of the canopy was slightly changed.
Tests carried out at the end of July on board the aircraft carrier "Kara" showed that the wingspan, although it allowed the aircraft to be lifted from the hangar to the deck with a standard lift, but left too little clearance. Therefore, starting from the 65th copy, the wing ends began to fold.
All these changes led to the appearance of the A6M2 model 21. The shape of the cockpit air intake and the section of the cannon ports changed again. Starting with the 127th copy, a balancing system was installed on the ailerons, adjustable on the ground.
Radio equipment from the fighter was sometimes dismantled. It's not just about making the car lighter and improving aerodynamics, it's just that Japanese radios were extremely unreliable at that time, and the delivery of spare parts to them was a serious problem.
At the beginning of the war in the Pacific, the Japanese fleet had 520 carrier-based fighters, including 328 Zero. On December 7, 1941, 79 A6M2 fighters from six heavy aircraft carriers took part in the air raid on Pearl Harbor: 43 aircraft accompanied the first wave of Japanese bombers and 36 acted as part of the second wave. Since there was no serious resistance to the Japanese in the air, the Zeros were mainly engaged in attacking ground targets, using their 20-mm cannons very effectively.