A naval staff specification issued to Aichi, Kawanishi and Nakajima in 1937 for a three-seat reconnaissance seaplane to replace the six-year-old Kawanishi E7K2 float biplane resulted in the Aichi E13A monoplane (of which 1,418 were produced). A prototype was completed late in 1938 and after competitive trials with the Kawanishi E13K in December 1940 was ordered into production as the Navy Type 0 Reconnaissance Seaplane Model 1.
The E13A was a three-crew low-wing monoplane aircraft with pontoons fitted in place of traditional landing gear systems.
Japanese cruisers and seaplane tenders carried the first aircraft from 1941, carrying a single 250kg bomb. The E13 flew a series of raids on the Hankow-Canton railway and soon afterwards E13A1 floatplanes accompanied the Japanese 8th Cruiser Division for reconnaissance patrols during the strike against Pearl Harbour in December 1941.
Though limited in number at first, the E13A series made some initial carrier-based land-strikes and reconnaissance missions that promoted the use of this aircraft type. As such, the floatplane would be fielded regularly with future cruiser groups and mounted to catapults on Japanese battleships. Standard armament would consist of 1 x 20mm downward-firing cannon and a single 7.7mm machine gun in the rear cockpit. External stores were limited to a single 551lb bomb or depth charge as needed.
As production switched to Kyushu Hikoki KK at Zasshonokuma and accelerated, the seaplanes (codenamed 'Jake' by the Allies) were embarked in the battleships and cruisers of the Kantais (fleets), including the battleship Haruna and cruisers Chikuma and Tone of Vice Admiral Nagumo's Carrier Striking Force at the Battle of Midway.
In all, it is estimated that by mid-1943 more than 250 E13A1s were at sea aboard Japanese ships.
The Aichi E13A would serve through to the end of the war, though limited by the power of the new generation of American carrier-based fighters. "Jakes would later be relegated to Kamikaze attacks. In the end, there were 1,418 production models.
Aichi E13A1a (Jake)
Engine: 1 x Mitsubishi Kinsei 43 14-cylinder radial, 1,080hp.
Length: 37.07ft (11.3m)
Wingspan: 47.57ft (14.50m)
Height: 15.42ft (4.70m)
Empty Weight: 5,825lbs (2,642kg)
Maximum Take-Off Weight: 8,818lbs (4,000kg)
Maximum Speed: 234mph (377kmh; 204kts)
Maximum Range: 1,298miles (2,089km)
Service Ceiling: 28,642ft (8,730m)
1 x 20mm cannon (in downward-firing ventral position)
1 x 7.7mm machine gun (in rear cockpit position)
Maximum external bombload: 551 lbs.