Type 97 aircraft machine gun

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Type 97 7.7 mm aircraft machine gun
A Type 97 aircraft machine gun
Type Light machine gun
Place of origin Empire of Japan
Service history
In service 1937–1945
Used by Imperial Japanese Navy
Wars Second Sino-Japanese War, World War II
Production history
Designed 1937
Produced 1937–1945
Weight 11.8 kg (26.01 lb)
Length 104 cm (40.94 in)

Cartridge 7.7x56mm R
Action Short recoil toggle locked
Rate of fire 900 rounds/min
Muzzle velocity 750 m/s (2,461 ft/s)
Effective firing range 600 m
Feed system Belt

The Type 97 fixed machine gun was the standard fixed light machine gun on aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. This weapon was not related to the Type 97 light machine gun used by the Imperial Japanese Army in ground combat.


The Type 97 was similar to the Army Type 89 machine gun, being a licensed copy of the Vickers Class E machine gun. It was highly suitable for synchronization and was used as the cowling armament on the A6M Zero. However, the Type 97 and Type 89 were chambered for rounds of slightly different cartridge length, making their ammunition noninterchangeable.


The Type 97 came into service in 1937, and was used in the Nakajima B6N, Yokosuka K5Y, Yokosuka D4Y, Aichi D3A, Aichi E16A, Kawanishi E7K, Kawanishi N1K and its land-based derivative, the N1K-J, Mitsubishi J2M, Mitsubishi F1M2, in addition to the Mitsubishi A6M Zero and its floatplane derivative, the Nakajima A6M2-N .


  • Francillon, Rene J. (1970). Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-313-X. 
  • Mikesh, Robert C. (2004). Japanese Aircraft Equipment 1940-1945. Schiffer Military History. ISBN 0-7643-2097-1. 
  • Williams, Anthony G. & Gustin, Emmanuel (2003). Flying Guns: The development of aircraft guns, ammunition and installations 1933-45. Airlife. ISBN 978-1-84037-227-4.