The Nakajima E12N1 Experimental 12-Shi Two-seat Reconnaissance Seaplane was Nakajima's last reconnaissance seaplane design and lacked the handling to enter service.
In 1937 Aichi and Nakajima were both asked to produce designs for catapult-launched reconnaissance seaplanes to fulfil a 12-Shi specification for an aircraft that could also serve as a dive bomber. Nakajima produced an all-metal low-wing monoplane, with upward folding wings, a long covered cockpit and twin floats. The wings had large slotted flaps, which helped add lift both during catapult launches and sea landings.
The most unusual feature of the aircraft was the system used to carry the bomb. In normal flight half of the bomb was carried within the fuselage. The bomb was carried on an arm that could swing out to move the bomb away from the fuselage and the propeller disc.
Two prototypes were completed in 1938. The E12N1 outperformed the earlier Nakajima reconnaissance biplanes, but it wasn't very stable in the air and suffered from poor controls. Aichi's E12A1 design also failed to satisfy the Japanese Navy, but while Nakajima abandoned their design Aichi continued to work on theirs, and it eventually entered service as the Aichi E13A1 Type 0 Three-seat Reconnaissance Seaplane.
Engine: Mitsubishi Zuisei fourteen-cylinder air-cooled double-row radial engine
Span: 42ft 8in
Length: 34ft 5.25in
Height: 11ft 5.75in
Empty weight: 4,629lb
Loaded weight: 6,283lb
Max speed: 224.4mph
Climb Rate: 5 minutes to 9,843ft
Service ceiling: 26,738ft
Range: 661 miles
Armament: Three 7.7mm machine guns, two fixed forward firing and one flexibly mounted
Bomb load: One 551lb bomb or two 132lb bombs