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.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Ground Attack (Bombing, Strafing)
Ability to conduct aerial bombing of ground targets by way of (but not limited to) guns, bombs, missiles, rockets, and the like.
✓Maritime / Navy
Land-based or shipborne capability for operating over-water in various maritime-related roles while supported by allied naval surface elements.
✓Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.
35.5 ft (10.83 m)
42.0 ft (12.81 m)
15.7 ft (4.79 m)
10,053 lb (4,560 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Aichi E16A Zuiun (Paul) production variant)
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