Military Wiki
Role Fighter
Manufacturer Nakajima
Designer H. P. Folland (Gloster Aircraft Company)
First flight 12 December 1927
Introduction 1929
Retired 1935
Primary user IJN Air Service
Number built 151
Developed from Gloster Gamecock

The Nakajima A1N, or Navy Type 3 Carrier Fighter was a Japanese carrier-based fighter of the late-1920s and early-'30s. It was a licenced copy of the British Gloster Gambet fighter, built by the Nakajima Aircraft Company for the Imperial Japanese Navy. Approximately 150 were built in total. There were two versions, A1N1 and A1N2.


By 1926, the Imperial Japanese Navy's Mitsubishi 1MF fighters (also known as Type 10 Carrier Fighters) were in need of replacement and so it asked three of the leading Japanese aircraft manufacturers, Nakajima, Mitsubishi and Aichi for proposals for a new carrier based fighter.[1] Nakajima purchased from the British company Gloster Aircraft a licence for production of their Gloster Gambet, a private venture by the company for a carrier-based derivative of the Gloster Gamecock. The first prototype Gambet was built by Gloster and flew on 12 December 1927.[2]

The prototype Gambet was shipped to Japan early in 1928. After modification and fitted with a Nakajima-built Bristol Jupiter engine, the Gambet was evaluated by the Japanese navy against the competitors from Aichi and Mitsubishi, proving more manoeuvrable and a stable gun platform.[1] It was selected in April 1929 as the Navy Type 3 Carrier Fighter, with the short designation A1N1.[3] 50 A1N1s were built.

The A1N2 was an improvement of the A1N1 version, with the 336 kW (450 hp) Nakajima Kotobuki 2 engine, which was introduced during 1930. Production of approximately 100 was completed in 1932.


The Gambet was a single-seat, single-bay biplane, of all-wooden construction and powered by a Bristol Jupiter radial engine. While similar to the Gamecock, it was fitted with internal flotation bags and arrestor hooks to allow carrier operation and longer-span wings.

Operational history

The A1N1 entered service in 1929, replacing the Mitsubishi 1-MF. It served on the carriers Hōshō, Akagi, Kaga and Ryūjō.[4] The improved A1N2 entered service in 1930, with production continuing until 1932.[1]

The A1N flew from the carriers Hōshō and Kaga during the Shanghai Incident in 1932 between Japan and China. A1Ns from Kaga scored the Imperial Japanese Navy's first air-to-air combat victory on 22 February 1932 when they shot down a Boeing P-12 flown by the American volunteer pilot Robert Short.[4] A1Ns continued in service until 1935,[5] being replaced in service by the Nakajima A2N or Navy Type 90 Carrier Fighter.


Gloster Gambet
Prototype carrier-based fighter designed and built by Gloster Aircraft Company in the United Kingdom. Powered by one 313 kW (420 hp) Bristol Jupiter VI radial engine, 1 built.
Nakajima A1N1
Initial licenced production version. Powered by Nakajima built Jupiter VI engine, 50 built between 1928 and 1930.
Nakajima A1N2
Improved production version, powered by 336 kW (450 hp) Nakajima Kotobuki 2 engine. Approximately 100 built between 1930 and 1932.



Specifications (A1N2)

Data from Japanese Aircraft 1910-1941 [1]

General characteristics

  • Crew: One
  • Length: 6.50 m (21 ft 3¾ in)
  • Wingspan: 9.70 m (31 ft 10 in)
  • Height: 3.30 m (10 ft 10 in)
  • Wing area: 26.3 m² (283 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 882 kg (1,944 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 1,375 kg (3,031 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Nakajima Kotobuki 2 9 cylinder radial engine, 336 kW (450 hp)


  • Maximum speed: 241 km/h (130 kn, 150 mph)
  • Cruise speed: 148 km/h (80 kn, 92 mph)
  • Range: 370 km (200 nmi, 230 mi)
  • Service ceiling: 7,000 m (23,000 ft)
  • Wing loading: 3.05 kg/m² (6.7 lb/ft²)
  • Power/mass: 0.24 kW/kg (0.15 hp/lb)
  • Climb to 3,000 m (9,843ft): 6 min 10 sec


  • Guns: 2 × fixed, forward-firing 7.7 mm (.303 in) machine guns
  • Bombs: 2 × 30 kg (66 lb) bombs

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Mikesh, Robert C; Abe, Shorzoe (1990). Japanese Aircraft 1910-1941. London: Putnam Aeronautical Books. ISBN 0-85177-840-2. 
  2. Mason, Francis K (1992). The British Fighter since 1912. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-082-7. 
  3. Green, W; Swanborough, G (1994). The Complete Book of Fighters. Smithmark. ISBN 0-8317-3939-8. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Nakajima (A1N) Type 3 "Håkans Aviation page - Nakajima (A1N) Type 3". Nakajima (A1N) Type 3. Retrieved 2007-07-10. 
  5. Donald, David (Editor) (1997). The Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. Aerospace Publishing. ISBN 1-85605-375-X. 

External links

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).