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.
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".