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Aichi AB-5 / AB-6 (E7A)

In 1932, the Imperial Japanese Navy issued a specification for a long-range floatplane reconnaissance aircraft to replace the Yokosuka E1Y and E5Y, which operated from seaplane tenders and battleships.

Prototypes were requested from Aichi and Kawanishi. Aichi’s submission, the Aichi AB-6 (E7A), or Aichi Experimental 7-Shi Reconnaissance Seaplane, designed by Tetsuo Miki, was influenced by the Heinkel He 62, an example of which Aichi had imported the previous year for a similar evaluation.

The AB-6 was an all-metal biplane with fabric covering and folding wings for shipboard storage, powered by a Hiro Type 91 W12 engine.

It had an enclosed cockpit for its three-man crew: pilot, observer, and radio operator/gunner.

The prototype was completed in February 1933 and took its first flight from Nagoya harbour.

Despite good handling characteristics, its speed, take-off, and landing performance were unsatisfactory, leading to modifications.

The aircraft received new wings with a different aerofoil section and full-span leading-edge slats.

Initially, the Hamilton Standard two-bladed metal variable-pitch propeller was replaced by a two-bladed wooden propeller, and subsequently, a four-bladed wooden propeller.

Nevertheless, Kawanishi’s competing design proved superior and was selected for production in 1934 as the Navy Type 94 Reconnaissance Seaplane, or Kawanishi E7K.





10.44 m (34 ft 3 in)


12.98 m (42 ft 7 in)


4.80 m (15 ft 9 in)

Wing area

40.61 m2 (437.1 sq ft)

Empty weight

1,920 kg (4,233 lb)

Gross weight

3,020 kg (6,658 lb)

Max take-off weight

3,300 kg (7,275 lb)


1 × Hiro Type 91, water-cooled W12 engine,

470 kW (630 hp)


Maximum speed

230 km/h (140 mph, 120 kn) at sea level

Cruise speed

150 km/h (92 mph, 80 kn) at 1,000 m (3,300 ft)

Stall speed

81 km/h (50 mph, 44 kn)


11.9 h

Service ceiling

4,850 m (15,910 ft)

Time to altitude

3,000 m (9,840 ft) in 14 min 54 s



1× fixed forward firing 7.7 mm machine gun


1 flexibly mounted in rear cockpit


1 × under fuselage.

Japanese Aircraft 1910–1941-R C Mikesh & A Shorzoe.
The Xplanes of Imperial Japanese Army & Navy 1924-1945-Illustrated Warplane History.


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