In 1939 the Imperial Japanese Navy instructed the Kawanishi Aircraft Company to develop a two-seat high-speed reconnaissance floatplane, which was required to have sufficient performance to escape interception by land based fighters. It was planned to equip a new class of cruisers, intended to act as a flagship for groups of submarines, operating six of the new floatplanes to find targets. To meet the IJN specification Kawanishi designed a single-engined low-wing monoplane, which was designated the E15K Shiun ("Violet Cloud"). It had two contra-rotating two-bladed propellers, the first installation of contra-rotating propellers produced in Japan. The E15K had a single main float under the fuselage and two stabilizing floats under the wing. The stabilizing floats were designed to retract into the wing, while the central float was designed to be jettisoned in case of emergency, giving a sufficient increase in speed (estimated as approximately 50 knots (90 km/h)) to escape enemy fighters. The first prototype made its maiden flight on 5 December 1941. Problems were encountered with the retractable stabilizing floats, resulting in several accidents when the floats could not be lowered for landing, and the system was eventually abandoned, with the stabilizing floats being fixed, and a more powerful Mitsubishi MK4S Kasei 24 engine fitted to compensate for the increased drag. Despite these problems, the E15K1 was ordered into limited production as the Navy Type 2 High-speed Reconnaissance Seaplane Shiun Model 11. Six were sent to Palau in the South Pacific, but these were quickly shot down by Allied fighters, as the jettisonable float failed to separate on demand (although subjected to wind tunnel testing, the float separation system had never been tested on the actual aircraft). This resulted in the cancellation of production in February 1944, with only 15 Shiuns completed, including the six prototypes. The Allied code name for the type was "Norm" after Squadron Leader Norman O. Clappison of the RAAF, a member of the Allied Technical Air Intelligence Unit (ATAIU). (info from Wikipedia)
Kawanishi E15K1 Shiun
Type: Reconnaissance Seaplane Service: Japanese Navy Air Force (JNAF) Crew: two Armament: one flexible rear-firing 7.7mm Type 92 machine gun two 132 lb (60 kg) bombs Reference: Francillon: 314 Specifications: Length: 38' 0.2" (11.587 m) Height: 16' 2.8" (4.95 m) Wingspan: 45' 11.2" (14 m) Wing area: 322.916 sq. ft (30 sq. m) Empty Weight: 6978 lbs (3165 kg) Loaded Weight: 9039 lbs (4100 kg) Max Weight: 10803 lbs (4900 kg) Propulsion: No. of Engines: 1 Powerplant: Mitsubishi MK4S Kasei 24 14-cylinder radial Horsepower: 1850 hp Performance: Range: 1820 nautical miles (2095 st miles) Cruise Speed: 184 mph (160 kt) at 8205 ft (2500 m) Max Speed: 291 mph (162 kt) at 18,700 ft (5700 m) Climb to/in: 19685 ft (6000 m) in 10 min 0 sec Ceiling: 23850 ft (7270 m)
Production: 15 E15K1s total (including prototypes)
Additional information on this aircraft can be found at Wikipedia
For a very nice scale color drawing of this aircraft, see here.
(go to Kawanishi page)
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