Kawanishi E8K1 Experimental 8-Shi Reconnaissance Seaplane

The Kawanishi E8K1 Experimental 8-Shi Reconnaissance Seaplane was an advanced monoplane design that didn't have the manoeuvrability required by the Japanese navy and thus never entered production.

In 1933 the Navy asked Aichi, Nakajima and Kawanishi to produce an 8-Shi Experimental Reconnaissance Seaplane to replace the Nakajima Navy Type 90-2 E4N2. The new aircraft was to be more manoeuvrability and with better performance than the E4N2.

While Aichi and Nakajima produced conventional biplanes, the Kawanishi design team led by Eiji Sekiguchi decided to follow a more adventurous route. Their Type P was a low-wing monoplane with a single central float and stabilising floats near the wing tips. It had an two open cockpits, was armed with two fixed forward firing machine guns and one flexibly mounted rear-firing gun and could carry two small bombs.

The Type P made its maiden flight on 8 January 1934. It was then delivered to the Japanese Navy, where it was given the designation E8K1. The E8K1 was significantly faster than the Type 90-2, with a top speed of 182mph, up from 144mph, but speed wasn't one of the Navy's main concerns at this point. The E8K1 was more difficult to handle when taking off and landing, and lacked the dog-fighting abilities of the Type 90-2. The Aichi design, the E8A1, was also rejected, and the Nakajima E8N1 biplane was ordered into production. This was more manoeuvrable than the Kawanishi design, and with a similar top speed, so the decision made sense.

Kawanishi did gain some benefit from this design contest, eventually building forty-eight E8N1s for Nakajima.

Engine: Kotobuki 2-kai-1 nine-cylinder air-cooled radial
Power: 460-580hp
Crew: 2
Span: 39ft 2.5in
Length: 30ft 3.25in
Height: 12ft 8.5in
Empty weight: 2,923lb
Loaded weight: 4,188lb
Max speed: 182mph at 6,562ft
Climb Rate: 7min 56sec to 9,843ft
Service ceiling: 23,950ft
Endurance: 3.3 hours
Armament: Two forward firing 7.7mm machine guns, one flexibly mounted dorsal gun
Bomb load: Two 66lb bombs

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (5 February 2015), Kawanishi E8K1 Experimental 8-Shi Reconnaissance Seaplane , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_kawanishi_E8K1.html

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