Nakajima E8N

The Nakajima E8N was a Japanese ship-borne, catapult-launched, reconnaissance seaplane of the Second Sino-Japanese War. It was a single-engine, two-seat biplane with a central main-float and underwing outriggers. During the Pacific War, it was known to the Allies by the reporting name "Dave".

Nakajima E8N
Class Aircraft
Type Reconnaissance
Manufacturer Nakajima Aircraft Company
Origin Japan
Country Name Origin Year
Japan 1934
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Japan 1935 1942 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Nakajima Aircraft Company 755 View
The E8N was developed as a replacement for the same company's E4N and was essentially an evolutionary development of the earlier type, with revised wings of lesser area and taller tail surfaces. Seven prototypes were constructed, under the company designation MS, first flying in March 1934. These were duly engaged in comparative trials against competitors from Aichi and Kawanishi.


  • E8N1 : Initial production type, powered by 433 kW (580 hp) Nakajima Kotobuki 2 Kai 1 radial engine.
  • E8N2 : Improved production type, with more powerful (470 kW/630 hp) Nakajima Kotobuki Kai 2 engine. 

The MS was ordered into production, designated Navy Type 95 Reconnaissance Seaplane Model 1 in October 1935. A total of 755 E8Ns were built by Nakajima and Kawanishi, production continuing until 1940. It was subsequently shipped aboard all the capital ships then in service, 16 cruisers and five seaplane tenders.

It was used successfully in the Second Sino-Japanese War not only for reconnaissance, but also for dive-bombing and artillery spotting.

One E8N was purchased in early 1941 by the German Naval Attache to Japan, Vice-Admiral Wenneker, and dispatched on board KM MUNSTERLAND to rendezvous with the German auxiliary cruiser Orion at Maug Island in the Marianas. The meeting occurred on 1 FEB 1941, and Orion thus became the only German naval vessel of the Second World War to employ a Japanese float plane.

Some aircraft remained in service with the fleet at the outbreak of the Pacific War but they were soon replaced by more modern aircraft such as the Aichi E13A and the Mitsubishi F1M, being reassigned to second-line duties.

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 8.81 m (28 ft 11 in)
  • Wingspan: 10.98 m (36 ft 0 in)
  • Height: 3.84 m (12 ft 7 in)
  • Wing area: 26.5 m (285.14 ft)
  • Empty weight: 1,320 kg (2,904 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 1,900 kg (4,180 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 x Nakajima Kotobuki 2 KAI 2 9-cylinder radial piston, 470 kW (630 hp)


  • Maximum speed: 301 km/h (162 knots, 186 mph)
  • Cruise speed: 186 km/h (100 knots, 115 mph)
  • Range: 904 km (485 nm, 558 mi)
  • Service ceiling 7,270 m (23,845 ft)
  • Wing loading: 71.7 kg/m (14.66 lb/ft)
  • Time to 3,000 m: 6 min 31 sec


  • 2 x 7.7-mm machine guns
  • 2 x 30 kg (66 lb) bombs

End notes