The Mitsubishi Jukogyo company began producing the Mitsubishi A5M4 fighter for the Japanese Air Force in 1934. Three years later the designer, Jiro Horikoshi, started work on an improved version, the Mitsubishi A6M2. The aircraft made its maiden flight on 1st April, 1939.
The Mitsubishi A6M2, nicknamed the Zero, had a maximum speed of 332 mph (534 km) and had a range of 1,930 miles (3,105 km). It was 29 ft 9 in (9.15 m) long with a wingspan of 39 ft 4 in (12.10 m). The aircraft was armed with 2 machine-guns and could carry 264 lb (120 kg) of bombs.
The Zero was the main strike aircraft used at Pearl Harbour and in the early stages of the Pacific War dominated the skies. A large number were shot down during the Battle of Midway and it gradually became outperformed by the latest allied aircraft. During the Second World War Mitsubishi A6M2 produced 11,283 of these aircraft.