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Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: Aichi M6A1 Seiran
Image by Chris Devers
Quoting Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum | Aichi M6A1 Seiran (Clear Sky Storm):
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.
Country of Origin:
Overall: 460 x 1160cm, 3310kg, 1230cm (15ft 1 1/8in. x 38ft 11/16in., 7297.2lb., 40ft 4 1/4in.)
Wings rotated back, folded back to lie flat against the fuselage. 2/3 of each side of the horizontal stabilizer also folded down, likewise the tip of the vertical stabilizer.