As chief designer at Mitsubishi Aircraft Company in 1937, Jiro Horikoshi led the development of the A6M in response to a requirement by the Imperial Japanese Navy for a new carrier-based fighter aircraft. Horikoshi’s design was brilliant as the A6M was highly manoeuvrable in dogfights and capable of very long-range sorties for surprise attack.
Mitsubishi A6M Reisen
The Zero entered the consciousness of America at Pearl Harbor and instantly became a symbol of Japan’s early ascendancy in the air. At the outset, the Zero was considered the finest carrier-based fighter in the world and in the capable hands of Japan’s battle-hardened pilots, it was the scourge of the US Navy. New Allied fighter designs and tactics soon got the better of the Zero, but the name “Zero” has lived on as a symbol of both threat and courage.