The Nakajima C6N Saiun was specifically designed to be a carrier based reconnaissance aircraft.
Ensign Yasuo Fukuda and Yoshizo Yamamoto designed the C6N.
In early 1942 the Imperial Japanese Naval Staff gave Nakajima the 17-Shi specification for a carrier based reconnaissance aircraft that had these requirements:
- Speed: 403 mph / 350 knots at 19,685' / 6,000 m
- Climb to 19,685' / 6,000 m in under 8 minutes
- Range: 1,727 statute miles / 1,500 nautical miles at 242 mph / 210 knots
- Range - Maximum: 3,078 statute miles / 2,500 nautical miles
The laminar flow wing had six fuel tanks. There were split and Fowler trailing edge flaps.
The fuselage had observation windows and camera portholes in the side.
The oil cooler was mounted on the port side.