The Mitsubishi A7MReppū ("Strong Gale") was designed as the successor to the Imperial Japanese Navy's A6M Zero, with development beginning in 1942. Performance objectives were to achieve superior speed, climb, diving, and armament over the Zero, as well as better maneuverability. As a result, the wing area and overall size were significantly greater, on par with the American P-47 Thunderbolt. The A7M's Allied codename was Sam.
During a telephone conversation with Commander Mitsuo Fuchida, Lt. Saburo Shindo asked the commander about the progress of the A7M after Fuchida informed him that the Americans were introducing a new fighter. Although Lt. Shindo knew next to nothing about the A7M, he did know that it had been on the drawing board for far too long, and what frustrated him even more was the fact that it wasn't coming off any time soon.