The Kawanishi E15K was to be an advanced floatplane that could hold its own against Allied fighters.
In 1939 the Imperial Japanese Navy put out the 14-Shi specification for an high speed floatplane. Kawanishi was instructed to design an aircraft that could out perform land based aircraft.
Design work started in July 1939.
Jettionsable and Retractable Floats
The main float could be jettisoned by the removal of a single pin while in flight. This would increase the speed of the E15K by 58 mph / 50 knots.
The stabilizing floats could be retracted to be flush against the outer wings. These were very problematic and were eventually replaced by fixed floats.
The Mitsubishi MK4D Kasei 14 (1,500 HP) engine drove two two-blade contra-rotating propellers. The E15K was the first Japanese aircraft to have these installed.