A6M2-N "Reisen, Zero"
In the fall of 1940, the Naval Aviation Headquarters issued a 15-Si technical assignment for a single seaplane intended to support Japanese troops in the absence of airfields (landing operations, action in the area of small islands and atolls).
The terms of reference were handed over to Nakajima, who at that time was deploying the licensed release of A6M2. Therefore, the Zero was chosen as the basis for the future seaplane. In February 1941, engineers Niitake and Tajima began to fulfill the order (revised terms of reference 16-C). The working name of the future seaplane was AS-1, and then the Marine 16-C Experimental Seaplane Fighter (A6M2-N).
Airframe and aircraft engine remained practically unchanged. The tail area was slightly increased to provide sufficient maneuverability for an aircraft with a large float.
The chassis was removed from the car, including the landing hook, the holes were sealed with steel sheet. The wing tips did not fold. A large central float was placed under the fuselage, which was attached to the aircraft body by means of a large profiled support and two V-shaped braces. An air intake for the oil cooler was placed in the front support, the oil cooler itself was also transferred to the support. A large fuel tank was located in the main float, the fuel lines all passed along the same front support.
Two cantilevered supporting floats were placed under the wing. The armament remained the same: two cannons and two machine guns.
The first of four prototypes took off on December 8, 1941, on the day of the Pearl Harbor raid (Japan and Pearl Harbor are in different time zones, so Pearl Harbor was still December 7).
The tests were successful, and on July 2, 1942, the seaplane was adopted under the name Marine Type 2 seaplane-fighter model 11 - Ni-Shiki Suijou Sentoki (shortly Ni-Shiki Sui-sen or A6M2-N model 11) and its serial production began.
Despite the relatively high take-off weight and high drag, the seaplane was surprisingly fast and maneuverable. The allies assigned him the identification code "Ruth" ("Rufe"). During the war years, 4 prototypes and 327 production copies of this machine were built at the Nakajima plant in Koizuma.