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Japan's Kawanishi E15K Shiun (violet cloud) reconnaissance floatplane
Allied code name: Norm


  • Kawanishi E15K Shiun reconnaissance floatplane



The Kawanishi E15K was to be an advanced floatplane that could hold its own against Allied fighters.

In 1939 the Imperial Japanese Navy put out the 14-Shi specification for an high speed floatplane. Kawanishi was instructed to design an aircraft that could out perform land based aircraft.

Design work started in July 1939.

Jettionsable and Retractable Floats

The main float could be jettisoned by the removal of a single pin while in flight. This would increase the speed of the E15K by 58 mph / 50 knots.

The stabilizing floats could be retracted to be flush against the outer wings. These were very problematic and were eventually replaced by fixed floats.


The Mitsubishi MK4D Kasei 14 (1,500 HP) engine drove two two-blade contra-rotating propellers. The E15K was the first Japanese aircraft to have these installed.


The first E15K1 prototype was flown on December 5, 1941. There were initial problems with the contra-rotating propellers and the retractable floats.


  • Kawanishi E15K1 prototypes: 6
    • Production: 1941 - 1942
  • Kawanishi E15K1: 9
    • Production: 1943 - 1944
  • Manufacturer: Kawanishi Kokuki K.K. at Naruo


  • Kawanishi E15K1, Navy High-Speed Reconnaissance Seaplane Shiun Model 11:




Six of the E15K1s were sent to Palau and were shot down by Allied fighters as the central floats failed to detach.


Type High Speed Reconnaissance Floatplane
Crew 2
Engine (Type) - Early 1: Mitsubishi MK4D Kasei 14
Engine - Late 1: Mitsubishi MK4S Kasei 24
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP - Early 1,500
Net HP - Late 1,850
Propeller Blades Two Two-Blade Contra-Rotating
Span 45' 11 3/16"
14 m
Length 38' 9/15"
11.587 m
Height 16' 2 7/8"
4.95 m
Wing Area 322.916 sq ft
30 sq m
Normal 6,978 lb
3,165 kg
Load - Normal 9,039 lb
4,100 kg
Load - Maximum 10,803 lb
4,900 kg
Speed at 18,700' / 5,700 m 291 mph
253 knots
Speed - Cruising at 8,205' / 2,500 m 184 mph
160 knots
Climb to 19,685' / 6,000 m 10 minutes
Service Ceiling 32,250'
9,830 m
Range 2,095 statute miles
1,820 nautical miles
Cockpit - Rear 1: 7.7 mm Type 92
Bombs 2: 132 lb
2: 60 kg


  1. Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, René J Francillon, 1970
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site