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|Manufacturer||Nakajima Aircraft Company|
|First flight||7 December 1941|
|Primary user||Imperial Japanese Navy|
|Developed from||Mitsubishi A6M Zero|
Design and development
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.
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.
- Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service
- French Navy - Postwar, one Nakajima A6M-2N was captured in Indo-China, it was impressed into service with the French Navy in late 1945.
Specifications (Nakajima A6M2-N)
Data from Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War 
- Length: 10.10 m (33ft 1⅝ in)
- Wingspan: 12.00 m (39 ft 4⅜ in)
- Height: 4.30 m (14ft 1⅜ in)
- Wing area: 22.44 m² (251.4 sq ft)
- Empty weight: 1,912 kg (4,235 lb)
- Loaded weight: 2,460 kg (5,423 lb)
- Max. takeoff weight: 2,880 kg (6,349 lb)
- Powerplant: 1 × Nakajima NK1C Sakae 12 air cooled 14 cylinder radial engine, 950 hp (709 kW) at 4,200 m (13,800 ft)
- Maximum speed: 436 km/h (235 knots, 270.5 mph) at 5,000 m (16,400 ft)
- Cruise speed: 296 km/h (160 knots, 184 mph)
- Range: 1,782 km (963 nmi, 1,107 mi)
- Service ceiling: 10,000 m (32,800 ft)
- Climb rate: 6 min 43 s to 5,000 m (16,400 ft)
- Bombs: 2 × 60 kg (132 lb) bombs
- Related development
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Bernard H.110
- Dewoitine HD.780
- Kawanishi N1K1 Kyōfū
- Grumman F4F-3S Wildcatfish
- Loire 210
- Supermarine Spitfire floatplanes
- Related lists
- List of aircraft of World War II
- List of fighter aircraft
- List of military aircraft of Japan
- List of aircraft of Japan, World War II
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- Francillon 1970, p.428.
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- Janowicz, Krzystof. Mitsubishi A6M2-N Rufe (Kagero Famous Airplanes 4) (in Polish/English). Lublin, Poland: Kagero, 2004. ISBN 83-89088-42-8.
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Media related to Nakajima A6M2-N Rufe at Wikimedia Commons