Photo: BUAER Newsletter


Fire-damaged Rufe seaplane from Yokohama Kōkūtai being transported to NAS Alameda, USA.

weight due to the floats and design changes,

but the Zero´s landing gear and tailhook weight

was missing. The machine had excellent

maneuverability and stability at medium and

higher altitudes and retained reasonably good

flight characteristics even at lower altitudes.

Photo: Naval History and Heritage Command

from corrosion. Therefore, the conversions of

A6M2-N Nos. 8 and 9 were not carried out and

No. 10 was instead completely manufactured as

a new machine.

The floatplane fighter did not exceed comparable

seaplanes in performance. It did increase in

Its empty weight increased by approximately

14 % over the A6M2 Type 21 and its speed was

reduced to 234 knots at 5,000 meters from the

original 275 knots at 4,400 meters of the Type

21. The seaplane had a range of 962 nautical

miles and a maximum flight time of 6 hours.

Armament consisted, as with the A6M2, of two

20 mm cannons in the wing and two 7.7 mm

machine guns in the fuselage. The aircraft

could carry two 30 kg or 60 kg bombs carried

under the wing. However, unlike the Zero Type

21, seaplane was not equipped with a circular

directional antenna at the rear of the cockpit

and did not have a headrest behind the pilot's


This fighter seaplane was first designated

Rei-Shiki Ichi Gata Suijō Sentōki (Type 0 Mk.1

Seaplane Fighter). In July, the aircraft was

accepted by the IJN and entered service under

the designation Ni-Shiki Suijō Sentōki, or Type

2 Seaplane Fighter. It bore the abbreviated

designation A6M2-N. Nakajima considered

preparing another fighter seaplane, which was

to reach a speed of 250 knots, but eventually

abandoned its preparation.

Series production began in April 1942 and ended

in July 1943, as production of the Kawanishi

N1K Kyōfū (Rex) fighter seaplane began

a month earlier. Nakajima produced a total of

258 A6M2-N seaplanes, with the highest number

of machines (24) in a single month leaving the

gates of the Koizumi plant in April 1943. As soon

as the Allies observed this machine in aerial

encounters, they assigned it the code name


The first pre-production and production A6M2-N

seaplanes were received in the spring of 1942 by

the Japanese Navy's oldest unit, the Yokosuka

Kōkūtai. Its main task was research and

testing of new aircraft, weapons and technical

equipment. It was also involved in training and,

late in the war, was deployed in combat.

With the Rufe aircraft, the unit was joined by their

previous flight pilot, Lt. Ki-ichirō Nishihata, who

Seaplane tender Kimikawa Maru in Ominato Bay, Japan, pictured in April 1943. F1M Pete seaplanes are visible on the deck. This vessel delivered most of the Rufe seaplanes

to the Aleutians during 1942 and 1943.

April 2023

INFO Eduard