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Japanese WW II float plane (M6A1 Seiran) at National Air & Space Museum, Dulles, VA

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A Japanese World War II float plane, the M6A1 Seiran is now in the Smithsonian Institute's Collection at the Udvar-Hazy Center, National Air and Space Museum in Dulles, Virginia.

Aichi chief engineer, Toshio Ozaki, designed the M6A1 Seiran to fulfill the requirement for a bomber that could operate exclusively from a submarine. Japanese war planners devised the idea as a means for striking directly at the United States mainland and other important strategic targets, like the Panama Canal, that lay thousands of kilometers from Japan. To support Seiran operations, the Japanese developed a fleet of submarine aircraft carriers to bring the aircraft within striking distance. No Seiran ever saw combat, but the Seiran/submarine weapons system represents an ingenious blend of aviation and marine technology.

This M6A1 was the last airframe built (serial number 28) and the only surviving example of the Seiran in the world. Imperial Japanese Navy Lt. Kazuo Akatsuka ferried this Seiran from Fukuyama to Yokosuka where he surrendered it to an American occupation contingent. Transferred from the United States Navy. (Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Collections, Inventory Number: A19630308000)

 

 

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This page updated or reviewed in March 2011

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