A7M2 Reppu (“Strong Gale”) : The IJN Zero successor


A7M2 Reppu (“Strong Gale”) : The IJN Zero successor

 

The A7M2 Reppū (“Strong Gale”) was designed as the new carrier-based fighter of the IJN with development beginning in 1942. However, only 9 units were built. Production was partially disrupted by allied raids and Nagoya Earthquake on December 1944.

IJN Carrier Fighter A7M-2 Sam" & IJA Kawasaki Type 3 K (Ki-61 "Hien")"

IJN Carrier Fighter A7M-2 Sam” & IJA Kawasaki Type 3 K (Ki-61 “Hien”)”

 

In June 1945, famous ace pilot Saburo Sakai visited Nagoya to test the airplane. He stated:

“She is the fastest fighter I had ever seen, able to surpass anything on the air, Japanese or American. I could fly in circles, while ascending, around a Hellcat or a Mustang up to 12,000 meters.”

 


Comments

  1. I recently learned the MK9C turbo-boosted engine of the A7M3 was unreliable.
    The MK9A of the A7M2 was better in that respect.
    It’s a shame because the A7M3 was my favorite. It had the best compromise for more high altitude performance and climb. It also had the new fast Type 99-II/5 cannons finally.

    But hey, the A7M2 really flew. and it could have been in the war by the end of 1943 but for the IJN brass! They delayed the first flight of the MK9A powered A7M2 by 6 months.

    In my opinion, if the MK9A was reliable, it should have been produced in mass quantities for every unreliably powered Japanese fighter, which was most new types. If these fighter factories would help by producing these engines, perhaps the MK9 production would not have been stopped so easily by one B-29 raid. The earthquake was bad enough. can you imagine that the USAAF gave higher priority to the MK9 than the IJN did! It had only one factory! The Ki 84 was slated to switch to it. Others too were drawing up similar plans. The slow 337 mph A6M7 Zero would have been reborn with this 2200 hp engine in my opinion a 90% improvement in power. Even the Ki 100 was too slow for 1945 but with this hp it would have been 40% better. I’m aware of the added weight of the MK9 but the hp increase would have more than compensated. Heck it wouldn’t hurt to try it in the Ki 43 just to see what happens. You could add more than 2 guns on her then! And I know the Ki 44 was reliable but it struggled to reach the B-29s at 30,000′ with cannons aboard. This power would be the answer. The Ki 44-III could have been the primary interceptor the Shoki was meant to be, with 2200 hp. Also the unreliable Raiden and Shiden could have benefited to no end. If all those factories had an MK9A production line inhouse, the reliable 2200 hp fighters would have been all over the B-29s and their escort by the 1,000s. It had better high altitude performance than the Ha-112 of the standard Ki 100. I know the Ru model was tested, but I bet it was unreliable too. Turbo charging was a problem for Japan because of the rare metals required.

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