The Kawanishi K-11 Experimental Carrier Fighter was a private venture aircraft produced in an attempt to win a contest being held to replace the Mitsubishi Type 10 Carrier Fighter (1MF1 to 1MF5).
In April 1926 the Japanese Navy asked Mitsubishi, Nakajima and Aichi to produce designs for a new carrier fighter. Kawanishi was not asked to enter this contest, but decided to produce their own design anyway in an attempt to win a Navy contract, or at least entry into future design contests.
The K-11 was designed by Eiji Sekiguchi. It was a single-bay biplane with no dihedral on the wings and different aerofoil shapes for the upper and lower wings. It had long-span ailerons on the upper wing, which could also be used as landing flaps.
The K-11 was powered by a 500hp BMW VI engine and had retractable radiators mounted in the sides of the fuselage behind the lower wing. The two banks of cylinders were covered with separate fairings, giving the nose a rather unusual look.
The main wheels had Oleo shock struts, then a recent innovation, along with bungee straps.
The first K-11 was completed in July 1927. Kawanishi's gamble paid off and the new fighter underwent tests alongside the three original entries (the Nakajima G, Mitsubishi Taka-type and Aichi H-type). A second prototype was built, with a modified fuselage. Although the K-11 was a successful design, it wasn't ordered into production. The contest was won by the Nakajima design, which entered production as the Type 3 Carrier Fighter A1N. This was a modified version of the British Gloster Gamecock, and was smaller, lighter, and presumably more agile than the Kawanishi design.
The two K-11s remained in use after the navy tests, and were used by Kawanishi's airline, the Nippon Kofu KK, where they were tested out as airmail aircraft, flying between Osaka, Seoul and Dairen.
Engine: BMW VI twelve-cylinder water-cooled engine
Span: 35ft 5 1/4in
Length: 25ft 10 1/4in
Height: 10ft 9in
Empty weight: 2,579llb
Loaded weight: 3,858lb
Max speed: 161mph
Climb Rate: 9,843ft in 5min 30sec
Service ceiling: 29,527ft
Endurance: 3hr 30min