Kawanishi E7K

The Kawanishi E7K was a Japanese 1930s three-seat reconnaissance floatplane. It was allocated the reporting name Alf by the Allies of World War II.

Kawanishi E7K
Class Aircraft
Type Reconnaissance
Manufacturer Kawanishi Aircraft Company
Origin Japan
Country Name Origin Year
Japan 1933
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Japan 1935 1943 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Kawanishi Aircraft Company 533 View

In 1932 the Imperial Japanese Navy requested the Kawanishi Aircraft Company to produce a replacement for the company's Kawanishi E5K. The resulting design, designated the Kawanishi E7K1, was an equal span biplane powered by a 462 kW (620 hp) Hiro Type 91 W-12 liquid-cooled inline engine. The first aircraft flew on 6 February 1933 and was handed over to the navy for trials three-months later. It was flown in competition with the Aichi AB-6 which was designed to meet the same 7-Shi requirement. The E7K1 was ordered into production as the Navy Type 94 Reconnaissance Seaplane and entered service in early 1935. It became a popular aircraft, but was hindered by the unreliability of the Hiro engine. Later production E7K1s were fitted with a more powerful version of the Hiro 91, but this did not improve the reliability. In 1938 Kawanishi developed an improved E7K2 with a Mitsubishi Zuisei 11 radial engine, it first flew in August 1938 and was ordered by the Navy as the Navy Type 94 Reconnaissance Seaplane Model 2. The earlier E7K1 was renamed to Navy Type 94 Reconnaissance Seaplane Model 1.


  • E7K1 : Production version with a Hiro Type 91 520 hp water-cooled W-12 engine, 183 built (including 57 built by Nippon Hikoki K.K.)
  • E7K2 :  Re-engined version with a Mitsubishi Zuisei 11 radial engine, about 350 built (including 60 built by Nippon Hikoki K.K.) 

The type was used extensively by the Japanese Navy from 1938 until the beginning of the Pacific War, when E7K1 were relegated to second-line duties. The E7K2 continued in front-line service until 1943 and both versions were used in Kamikaze operations in the closing stages of the war.

Role reconnaissance floatplane
Manufacturer Kawanishi Aircraft Company
First flight 6 February 1933
Introduction 1935
Retired 1943
Primary user IJN Air Service
Number built 533

General characteristics

  • Crew: 3
  • Length: 34 ft 5½ in (10.50 m)
  • Wingspan: 45 ft 11¼ in (14.00 m)
  • Height: 15ft 10½ in (4.85 m)
  • Wing area: 469.305 ft² (43.60 m²)
  • Empty weight: 4,630 lb (2100 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 7,275 lb (3300 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Mitsubishi Zuisei 11 14 cylinder radial engine, 870 hp (649 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 275 km/h (171 mph)
  • Cruise speed: 100 kt at 1000 m (115 mph at 3,280 ft)
  • Service ceiling: 7,060 m (23,165 ft)
  • Wing loading: 15.5 lb/ft² (75.7 kg/m²)


  • Guns: 1× fixed Type 97 (Vickers) and 2× trainable 7.7mm (0.303in) Type 92 machine guns (one dorsal, one ventral)
  • Bombs: 120 kg (265 lb) of bombs

End notes