Military Wiki
Mitsubishi F1M2 on patrol, c. 1943
Role Reconnaissance float plane
Manufacturer Mitsubishi
First flight June 1936
Introduction 1941
Primary user Imperial Japanese Navy
Number built 1,118

The Mitsubishi F1M (Allied reporting name "Pete") was a Japanese reconnaissance floatplane of World War II. It was the last biplane type of the Imperial Japanese Navy, with 1,118 built between 1936 and 1944. The Navy designation was "Type Zero Observation Seaplane" (零式水上観測機), not to be confused with the Type Zero Carrier Fighter or the Type Zero Reconnaissance Seaplane.

Design and development

The F1M1 was powered by the Nakajima Hikari MK1 radial engine, delivering 611 kW (820 hp), a maximum speed of 368 km/h (230 mph) and operating range of up to 1,072 km (670 mi) (when overloaded). It provided the Imperial Japanese Navy with a very versatile operations platform. The F1M was armed with a maximum of three 7.7 mm (.303 in) machine guns (two fixed forward-firing and one flexible rear-firing) with provision for two 60 kg (132 lb) bombs.

Operational history

Damaged F1M2s at Rekata Bay, 1944.

The F1M was originally built as a catapult-launched reconnaissance float plane, specializing in gunnery spotting. The "Pete" took on a number of local roles including area-defense fighter, convoy escort, bomber, anti-submarine, maritime patrol, rescue and transport. The type fought dogfights in the Aleutians, the Solomons and several other theaters. In the New Guinea front, often used in aerial combat with the Allied bombers and Allied fighters. See also PT 34 sunk 9 April 1942 by "Petes".


  • F1M1 : Prototypes. Four built.
  • F1M2 : Two-seat reconnaissance floatplane for the Imperial Japanese Navy.
  • F1M2-K : Two-seat training version.


Personnel of 80 Squadron RAF amongst parts of a Japanese F1M, bearing Indonesian markings, at an airfield and seaplane base in Surabaya, Java. January 1946


Specifications (F1M2)

Data from Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War [1]

General characteristics

  • Crew: two, pilot and rear gunner
  • Length: 9.5 m (31 ft 2 in)
  • Wingspan: 11 m (36 ft 1 in)
  • Height: 4 m (13 ft 1½ in)
  • Wing area: 29.5 m² (318 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 1,928 kg (4,251 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 2,550 kg (5,622 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 2,856 kg[2] (6,296 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Mitsubishi Zuisei 13 14-cylinder two-row radial engine, 653 kW (875 hp)


  • Maximum speed: 370 km/h (200 kn, 230 mph) at 3,440 m (11,300 ft)
  • Range: 740 km (400 nmi, 460 mi)
  • Service ceiling: 9,440 m (30,970 ft)
  • Wing loading: 86.3 kg/m² (17.7 lb/ft²)
  • Power/mass: 2.9 kW/kg (6.85 hp/lb)
  • Climb to 5,000 m (16,404 ft): 9 min 36 sec



See also



  1. Francillon 1970, p.362.
  2. Green 1962, p.131.


  • Francillon, R.J. Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War. London:Putnam, 1970. ISBN 370 00033 1.
  • Green, William. War Planes of the Second World War, Volume Six: Floatplanes. London: Macdonald & Co., (Publishers) Ltd., 1962.

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