Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Aichi E16A

A E16A1 of the Yokosuka Kokutai (Naval Air Group), as can be seen by its tail markings.

The E16A Zuiun (translated into "Auspicious Cloud" and codenamed "Paul" by the Allies) was a dedicated reconnaissance floatplane and part-time dive-bomber for the Empire of Japan in World War Two. The system was an excellent floatplane type by all accounts, yet appeared at a time when Allied aircraft maintained much of the Pacific skies, relegating the E16A to limited use and even more limited production figures.

The Aichi E16A series was a great all-around floatplane, appearing too late in the war to achieve much use.

The E16A was typical of the Japanese assortment of floatplanes in its arsenal. The system was devised as a direct successor to the E13A "Jake" series of floatplane, both of which were produced by the Aichi aircraft firm. The E16A has crew accommodations for two personnel, a pilot and a rear-cockpit gunner. Pontoons were fitted underside in place of traditional landing gears. Standard armament was 2 x 20mm forward-fixed cannons in the wings and a single 7.7mm machine gun for the rear gunner. An underfuselage position was utilized for strike runs, though the primary use of the aircraft was of carrier-based reconnaissance.

The Aichi E16A was powered by a single Mitsubishi three-blade MK8D Kinsei 54 14-cylinder radial piston engine and could achieve a service ceiling of nearly 33,000 feet while reaching speeds of over 270 miles per hour. Range, like its predecessor, was an impressive 1,491 miles - crucial when operating in the vast open areas of the Pacific Ocean. 256 total examples of the E16A were ever produced and of only made up of the single E16A-1 model designation.

Specifications for the Aichi E16A Zuiun (Paul)

Length: 35.53ft (10.83m)
Width: 42.03ft (12.81m)
Height: 15.72ft (4.79m)

Maximum Speed: 273mph (439kmh; 237kts)
Maximum Range: 1,491miles (2,400km)
Rate-of-Climb: 0ft/min (0m/min)
Service Ceiling: 32,808ft (10,000m; 6.2miles)

Armament Suite:
2 x 20mm cannon (forward-firing fixed in wings)
1 x 7.7mm machine gun in rear cockpit position

Underfuselage provision for external stores.
Accommodation: 2
Hardpoints: 1
Empty Weight:0lbs (0kg)
Maximum Take-Off Weight:10,053lbs (4,560kg)

Engine(s): 1 x Mitsubishi Mk*D Kinsel 54 14-cylinder radial engine.


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