Nakajima A6M2-N

The Nakajima A6M2-N, Imperial Japanese Navy Type 2 Floatplane Fighter Model 11 Rufe interceptor and fighter bomber was a single-crew seaplane based on the Mitsubishi A6M Zero Model 11. The plane was deployed in 1942. Its combat performance was well below that of its contemporaries and by mid-1943 the A6M2-N was already being transferred to training and other secondary duties.

Nakajima A6M2-N
Class Aircraft
Type Fighter
Manufacturer Nakajima Aircraft Company
Origin Japan
Country Name Origin Year
Japan 1941
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Japan 1942 1945 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Nakajima Aircraft Company 327 View
The A6M2-N floatplane was developed from the Mitsubishi A6M Zero Type 0, for the purposes of supporting amphibious operations and defending remote bases. It was based on the A6M-2 Model 11 fuselage, with a modified tail and added floats. This aircraft was the brainchild of Shinobu Mitsutake, Nakajima Aircraft Company's Chief Engineer, and Atsushi Tajima, one of the company's designers. A total of 327 were built, including the original prototype.

The aircraft was deployed in 1942, referred to as the "Suisen 2" ("Hydro fighter type 2"), and was only utilized in defensive actions in the Aleutians and Solomon Islands operations. Such seaplanes were effective in harassing American PT boats at night, and they were very difficult to detect, even with primitive radar. Close misses killed officers and crews of boats such as PT 105. ] They could also drop flares to illuminate the PTs which were vulnerable to destroyer gunfire, and depended on cover of darkness. Since the boats left a phosphorescent wake which was visible from the air, they would leave their engines in idle to minimize this. It was primarily for this reason that John F. Kennedy's PT 109 was caught off guard in idle and rammed by the destroyer Amagiri, unable to maneuver out of the way in time.

The seaplane also served as an interceptor for protecting fueling depots in Balikpapan and Avon Bases (Dutch East Indies) and reinforced the Shumushu base (North Kuriles) in the same period. Such fighters served aboard seaplane carriers Kamikawa Maru in the Solomons and Kuriles areas and aboard Japanese raiders Hokoku Maru and Aikoku Maru in Indian Ocean raids. In the Aleutian Campaign this fighter engaged with RCAF Curtiss P-40, Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighters and Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bombers. The aircraft was used for interceptor, fighter-bomber, and short reconnaissance support for amphibious landings, among other uses.

Later in the conflict the Otsu Air Group utilized the A6M2-N as an interceptor alongside Kawanishi N1K1 Kyofu ("Rex") aircraft based in Biwa lake in the Honshu area.

The last A6M2-N in military service was a single example recovered by the French forces in Indochina after the end of World War II. It crashed shortly after being overhauled.

The large float and wing pontoons of the A6M2-N degraded its performance by about 20%, enough that the A6M2-N was not usually a match for even the first generation of Allied fighters.

General characteristics

  • Length: 33ft 2.75in (10.13m)
  • Wingspan: 36ft 1in (11.0m)
  • Height: 14ft 1.25in (4.30m)
  • Empty weight: 3,968lb (1,912kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 5,423lb (2,460kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 x Nakajima NK1C Sakae 12 Air cooled 14 cylinder radial, 925 hp ()

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 273 mph at 16,404ft (435 km/h at 5,000m)
  • Range: 1,106 miles (1,780 km)
  • Service ceiling 32,800ft (10,000m)
  • Rate of climb: 6min 43s to 16,404ft (6min 43s to 5,000m)

Armament

  • 2 x 7.7mm Type 97 machine guns with 500 rpg above forward fuselage
  • 2 x 20mm Type 99 cannons each with 60-round drum fixed in ounter wings
  • Wings racks for 2 66lb (30kg) bombs

End notes