Aichi E16A Zuiun (Paul) Reconnaissance Floatplane / Dive Bomber Aircraft
The Japanese Aichi E16A series was a great all-around floatplane - though appearing too late in World War 2 to see much use.
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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 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.