No. 10853. Aichi AB-12 E11A "Laura" Imperial Japanese Navy
Photograph from Musée de l'Air

Aichi AB-12 E11A

10/31/2011. In the early 1930s, the Imperial Japanese Navy evolved a requirement for a night reconnaissance flying boat to be carried by light cruisers of the Japanese Navy. The requirement called for extreme slow flying capabilities and considerable endurance, and it was intended that the flying boat would serve as a spotter for destroyer forces using wolf-pack tactics against enemy surface vessels. The first type to be accepted for this role was the 9-Shi (1934) Aichi AB-12, or E10A1, fifteen examples of which were built between 1934 and 1937 as the Type 96 Reconnaissance Seaplane.

The approaching obsolescence of the E10A1 resulted in an 11-Shi (1936) requirement for a replacement, and this was met by an extensive redesign of the earlier aircraft, the Aichi AB-14, or E11A1, which entered production in 1937 as the Type 98 Reconnaissance Seaplane. Like its predecessor, the E11A1 was a three-seat biplane with a single 620 hp Hiro Type 91 twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled engine installed as a pusher, and carrying a defensive armament of a single 0.303 in (7.7 mm) machinegun on a ring-type mounting in the bow.

The E11A1 flew for the first time in June 1937, and seventeen had been built when production terminated in 1940.

Created October 31, 2011