Spitfire! Mustang! Zero! Hellcat! Wildcat! Dauntless! Warhawk! These names conjure exciting images of the great World War II dogfights in the skies over England, Europe, and the far reaches of the Pacific Ocean. The airplane not only proved its capacity for military use during World War II, it secured its place in military strategy for good.
The Supermarine Spitfire, designed and built in Great Britain for the Royal Air Force, was used extensively in the Battle of Britain. The Museum's Spitfire is one of only a very few which remain in existence from the 23,000 manufactured between 1936 and 1945.
The Japanese Zero-Sen A6M fighter was a formidable opponent for the allied fighters that flew in combat against it. The Museum's Zero was constructed between May and August 1945, and was assigned to the Yokosuka Air Group south of Tokyo. Restoration of the Zero was conducted by museum volunteers and took over three years. Also displayed on the Navy Carrier exhibit is the Museum's Grumman F6F Hellcat fighter. One of 12,225 fighters built, the Museum's Hellcat was delivered to the Navy in April 1944 and was retired from service in 1957. During World War II, Hellcats were credited with downing 5,156 of the 6,477 Japanese planes destroyed by U.S. Navy pilots.