Aviation of World War II

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Nakajima E8N
  • Reconnaissance Seaplane
  • First flight: 1934
  • Nakajima

When creating a reconnaissance seaplane, Nakajima made a bet on the technological continuity of designs with the newly launched E4N2 reconnaissance aircraft, having developed, in fact, only an improved modification of the latter, which received the in-house designation "Type MS". It is characteristic that in this development of a close-range float reconnaissance company at Nakajima, three chief project engineers consistently participated. The work on the topic was started by Shinobu Mitsutake with the E4N1 project, then in the E4N2 modification, the engineer Kiyoshi Akegawa picked up the banner, and the new MS Type project was headed by Kishiro Matsuo.

As noted above, Kishiro Matsuo staked on the ease of implementation in production, technological continuity and, accordingly, the cheapness of work, which ultimately played a decisive role. Outwardly, the new scout project was very similar to the predecessor E4N2 of the later production series. Of the noticeable differences, the upper wing received a greater sweep, a shorter chord and a smaller area. To improve stability in flight, the keel and rudder were lengthened. In addition, the rounded shape of the bottom of the rudder on the predecessor has been changed to bevelled. A characteristic difference between the two projects was the attachment of supporting floats. The N-pillars on the E4N2 were replaced with two separate I-pillars with cross-cable guy wires. The fabric covering of the wings was replaced with aluminum. But in general, the Type MS project, which received the designation E8N1 during testing, was identical to the E4N2, and from some angles it was so simply indistinguishable.

The first prototype of the E8N1 reconnaissance aircraft was tested in March 1934. There were no special problems with the tests - the well-developed E4N2 base affected. It was only noted that the cruising speed decreased slightly, but the maximum rose to 300 km / h. The ceiling was also raised, but the flight range decreased to 780 km against 1100 km for the serial E4N2. At the same time, the handling and maneuverability of the E8N1 was rated as excellent. However, compared with the main competitor, the Aichi E8A1 (AB-7) biplane, no special advantages were noted. Moreover, the technical department of the headquarters of the Kaigun Koku Hombu Fleet Air Force was more inclined towards the Aichi project, as it had somewhat more potential for development. But in the end, it was precisely the possibility of quickly setting up production and a lower price that played a role. Ultimately, the Nakajima firm received an order for six more pre-production aircraft and by mid-1935 was declared the winner. In October 1935, the E8N1 reconnaissance aircraft was adopted by the Japanese Navy as the "Reconnaissance Seaplane of the Navy Type 95 Model 1"

Scout production was deployed at the Nakajima plant in Ota. Later, a plant in Koizuma was connected to the release. The release of the Type 95 reconnaissance aircraft continued until 1940 and amounted to 700 pieces of serial machines, most of which were Type 95 model 2 or E8N2 aircraft, outwardly indistinguishable from the first model, but equipped with the Nakajima Kotobuki 2-Kai-2 engine. The rated power of 460 hp of this version of the engine did not differ from the Kotobuki 2-Kai-1, but the take-off, which was 630 hp. was significantly higher. This played an important role during the takeoff from the catapults of the ships.

During the outbreak of hostilities of the 2nd Japanese-Chinese incident, heavy losses in aircraft forced the Japanese command to look for reserves to replenish them. With regard to the release of Type 95 reconnaissance aircraft, which turned out to be in great demand in the navy, in 1938 a license agreement was concluded with Kavanishi for the production of E8N2 reconnaissance aircraft at the Konan plant, where another 48 vehicles were assembled.

In 1940, the production of float scouts Type 95 was completed. In the Japanese Navy, the E8N has become the last member of the class of short-range ship reconnaissance aircraft. Obsessed with the classifications of everything and everyone, the Japanese by this time came to the conclusion that the functions of short-range reconnaissance were not a priority for vehicles of this type. The main tasks were to adjust the fire of the large-caliber artillery of "their" ship, to monitor the movements of the enemy fleet in the immediate vicinity of their ships, and to carry out bombing and assault strikes on coastal targets. In connection with these tasks, in 1939 a new class of naval vehicles appeared - the "Observation Seaplane", designated by the Latin letter F, the first and only representative of which was the famous Type 0 or F1M hydroplane, which replaced the Type 95 scouts on the catapults of warships. Nevertheless, the E8N scouts remained in service until the end of 1943, and in training units almost until the very end of the war.

The Nakajima E8N reconnaissance ship was a classic all-metal biplane mounted on one main and two supporting floats. Like its predecessor E4N2s, the Type 95 reconnaissance aircraft retained the ability to mount a wheeled chassis, but this possibility was probably never used. At least there is no known photograph of this aircraft on a wheeled chassis.

The fuselage and wing of the car were all-metal. The skin in the front of the fuselage was made of aluminum sheets, the tail section was sheathed with canvas. To the center section, on four I-shaped struts, a central single-row float was attached. The wings also received aluminum skin. Under each lower console, one additional float was installed. The reconnaissance crew consisted of two people, a pilot and an observer, part-time commander of the vehicle and a gunner serving a Type 92 machine gun.

The aircraft was equipped with a 9-cylinder air-cooled Nakajima "Kotobuki"-2 Kai-1 engine with a capacity of 585 hp. (on the E8N2 version - the engine of the "Kotobuki" -2 Kai-2 version with a take-off power of 630 hp), equipped with a two-bladed constant pitch propeller.

As standard armament, one 7.7 mm Type 97 machine gun was installed in the fuselage, located above, to the left of the aircraft axis, and another machine gun of the same caliber Type 92 was at the disposal of the observer and was intended to protect the rear hemisphere.

Nakajima E8N2 Specification
Crew 2
Wing span, m 10.98
Lenghth, m 8.81
Height, m 3.84
Wing area, m² 26.50
1 × PE Nakajima Kotobuki 2-KAI-2, power, hp 1 × 630
Weights, kg
Empty weight 1320
Loaded weight 1900
Maximum speed, km/h 523
Cruise speed, km/h 185
Maximum rate of climb, m/min 200
Service ceiling, m 7,270
Service range, km 900

Armament. One 7.7 mm Type 97 synchronous course machine gun and one Type 92 7.7 mm machine gun on a defensive mount at the end of the cockpit; 2 x 30 kg bombs.

Photo Dimensions

Drawing E8N2


Накадзима E12N

First In June 1937, the Navy proposed to the Nakajima and Aichi companies, in accordance with the issued specification 12-Shi, to design and build a catapult-launched two-seat reconnaissance floatplane. In addition to being a reconnaissance aircraft, the 12-Shi-spec seaplane was to be capable of performing anti-ship operations while diving with a 250 kg bomb at an angle of 60°.

Design work on the new aircraft at Nakajima began in the summer of 1937 under the direction of Shinroku Inoue. To enable additional dive-bombing functions, Aichi and Nakajima adopted a twin-float configuration that made it easier to hang the bomb. A feature of the development of Nakajima was the mechanism for moving the bomb, which moves it in front of the release outside the propeller throwing zone. To reduce drag, a recess was made in the lower part of the fuselage to accommodate half of the bomb.

Two prototypes with all-metal construction were assembled in the summer of 1938. The aircraft were low-wing aircraft with a trapezoidal wing and two floats supported by conventional N-shaped and diagonal struts. The two large slotted flaps were a new feature, adding lift during landings and catapult launches.

With these design features applied, the aircraft has a significant performance advantage over the previous reconnaissance floatplane, Nakajima's Type 95 reconnaissance floatplane (Dave). However, this aircraft lacked the handling and stability expected by the Navy. As a result, these aircraft, known as E12N1s, were not of interest to the Navy, which settled on Nakajima's competitor, the Aichi E12A1. Aichi has provided significant credibility to its E12A1 by proposing its development as a three-seat aircraft. This aircraft became the Type 0 three-seat reconnaissance floatplane (Aichi E13A1), codenamed Jake by the Allies, and Nakajima's E12N1 was the last reconnaissance floatplane.

Nakajima E12N1 Specification
Crew 2
Wing span, m 13.00
Lenghth, m 10.50
Height, m 3.50
Wing area, m² 27.50
1 × PE Mitsubishi MK2A Zuisei 11 (Ha-31-11), power, hp 1 × 850
Weights, kg
Empty weight 2,100
Loaded weight 2,850
Maximum speed, km/h 361
Cruise speed, km/h 278
Maximum rate of climb, m/min 600
Service ceiling, m 8,150
Service range, km 1,065

Armament. two front 7.7 mm Type 97 machine guns and one rear mobile 7.7 mm Type 92 machine gun one 250 kg bomb or two 60 kg bombs


  • Float planes of Japan /Evgeny Aranov./
  • Seaplanes of World War II /Kotelnikov V.R./
  • Encyclopedia of military equipment /Aerospace Publishing/
  • World War II Japanese Aircraft /Oleg Doroshkevich/