PlaneSpottingWorld welcomes all new members! Please gives your ideas at the Terminal.

Nakajima C6N

From PlaneSpottingWorld, for aviation fans everywhere

The Nakajima C6N Saiun (彩雲, "Coloured Cloud") was a carrier-based reconnaissance aircraft used by the Imperial Japanese Navy in World War II. Advanced for its time, it was the fastest carrier-based aircraft put into service by Japan during the war. The Allied codename was Myrt.

Development and design

The C6N originated in a 1942 Imperial Japanese Navy specification for a carrier-based reconnaissance plane with a top speed of 350 knots (650 km/h) at 6,000 m and range of 2,500 Nautical miles (4,960 km).[1] Nakajima's initial proposal, designated N-50, was for a craft with two 1,000 hp engines housed in tandem in the fuselage, driving two propellers mounted on the wings. With the development of the 2,000 hp class Nakajima Homare engine, though, this configuration was abandoned and Nakajima decided on a more conventional single-engine layout. However, the Homare's output turned out to be less than initially expected, so the design had to be optimized in other areas. The resulting aircraft was designed around a long and extremely narrow cylindrical fuselage, just large enough in diameter to accommodate the engine. The crew of three sat in tandem under a single canopy, while equipment was similarly arranged in a line along the fuselage. The C6N's low mounted laminar flow wing housed fuel tanks and was fitted with both Fowler and slit flaps and leading edge slats to lower the aircraft's landing speed to ease use aboard aircraft carriers.[2] Like Nakajima's earlier B6N "Tenzan" torpedo bomber, the rudder was angled slightly forward to enable tighter packing on aircraft carriers.

The first flight was on May 15, 1943, with the prototype demonstrating a speed of 639 km/h.[3] Performance with the Homare engine was disappointing, and a series of 18 further prototypes and pre-production aircraft were built, before the Sauin was finally ordered into production in February 1944.[4]

Operational history

Although designed for carrier use, by the time it entered service in September 1944, there were few carriers left for it to operate from, so most were used from land bases. Its speed was exemplified by a famous telegraph sent after a successful mission: "No Grummans can catch us." ("我に追いつくグラマンなし").

A total of 463 aircraft were produced.[5] A single prototype of a turbocharged development mounting a 4-blade propeller was built, this was called the C6N2 Saiun-kai. A night-fighter version C6N1-S with oblique-firing (Schräge Musik configuration) single 30 mm (or dual 20 mm) cannon and a torpedo carrying C6N1-B were also developed. The C6N1-B developed by Nakajima was not needed after Japan's aircraft carriers were destroyed. As Allied bombers came within reach of the Japanese home islands, there became a need for a first class night fighter. This led Nakajima to develop the C6N1-S by removing the observer and replacing him with two 20mm cannons. The C6N1-S's effectiveness was hampered by the lack of air-to-air radar, although it was fast enough to enjoy almost complete immunity from interception by Allied fighters.

Despite its speed and performance, on 15 August 1945, a C6N1 was the last aircraft to be shot down in World War II. Just five minutes later, the war was over and all Japanese aircraft were grounded.[5]


File:C6N-1S Saiun.jpg
Nakajima C6N-1S.
  • C6N-1 : Two-seat reconnaissance aircraft for the Imperial Japanese Navy.
  • C6N-1B : Proposed torpedo-bomber version. Unbuilt.
  • C6N-1S : Small number of C6N-1s converted into night fighters.
  • C6N-2 : One prototype fitted with a 1,980-hp (1476-kW) turbocharged engine.

Specifications (C6N1)

Data from Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War [5]

General characteristics

  • Crew: Three
  • Length: 11.00 m (36 ft 1 in)
  • Wingspan: 12.50 m (41 ft 0⅛ in)
  • Height: 3.96 m (13 ft 0 in)
  • Wing area: 25.5 m² (274 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 2,968 kg (6,543 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 4,500 kg (9,921 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 5,260 kg (11,596 lb)
  • Powerplant:Nakajima NK9B Homare 11 18 cylinder two-row air-cooled radial engine, 1,485 kW (1,990 hp)



See also

Related lists



  1. Francillion 1970, p.434.
  2. Francillion 1970, p.435.
  3. Francillion 1970, p.436.
  4. Mondey 1996, p.218.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Francillion 1970, p.439.
  6. Mondey 1996, p.219.


  • Francillion, R.J. Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War. London:Putnam, 1970. ISBN 370 00033 1.
  • Mondey, David. The Concise Guide to Axis Aircraft of World War II. London:Chancellor, 1996. ISBN 1 85152 966 7.

Template:Japanese Navy Reconnaisance Aircraft

cs:Nakadžima C6N fr:Nakajima C6N it:Nakajima C6N ja:彩雲 (航空機) pl:Nakajima C6N ru:Nakajima C6N Saiun vi:Nakajima C6N zh:彩雲艦上偵察機

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Nakajima C6N".