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Aichi E8A

The Aichi E8A, developed in the 1930s, served as a prototype Japanese reconnaissance floatplane.

This single-engine biplane, designed for the Imperial Japanese Navy, accommodated two seats.

Despite its potential, only two units of this aircraft were constructed.

The Imperial Japanese Navy sought a substitute for the Nakajima E4N shipboard reconnaissance floatplane and thus formulated a specification in 1933.

Aichi developed two different designs: the AM-7, a low-winged monoplane with a Bristol Mercury radial engine, and the AB-7, a traditional biplane with a Bristol Jupiter engine.

The monoplane model was eventually scrapped due to its underwhelming performance compared to its predecessor.

However, two units of the AB-7 were manufactured and designated as the Experimental 8-Shi Reconnaissance Seaplane, or E8A under the Short System.

The AB-7 was constructed as a single-bay biplane using a combination of wood and metal materials, featuring a single main float that could be swapped out for a wheeled undercarriage for land operations.

The wings of the aircraft were folded back for easier storage on the ship.

The pilot occupied an open cockpit, whereas the observer’s cockpit was partially enclosed for protection from the elements.

Aichi’s design was pitted against rival aircraft from Kawanishi, such as the low-winged monoplane E8K, and Nakajima, which produced the biplane E8N.

Although the E8A had comparable performance to the E8N, the Nakajima biplane outshone in manoeuvrability and handling, making it the preferred choice over both Nakajima and Kawanishi models, resulting in the production of over 700 E8Ns.





8.85 m (29 ft 0 in)


10.50 m (34 ft 5 in)


3.57 m (11 ft 9 in)


1 × Nakajima Kotobuki 2-kai 1,

9-cylinder air cooled radial engine,

430 kW (580 hp)



1 × fixed forward firing 7.7 mm machine gun


1× flexibly mounted machine gun in observer’s cockpit.

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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