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Australia's CAC Boomerang fighter

Photos

  • Commonwealth Boomerang
  • Commonwealth Boomerang

Design

CAC developed the Boomerang as an answer to the possibility of a Japanese invasion of Australia.1,2 Lawrence Wackett was the head designer for Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation.2 Development was rushed to get it produced as quickly as possible and within five months it was designed, built, and flown.1,2

However, the Boomerang didn't see service until March 1943, by which time P-40 Kittyhawks and Supermarine Spitfires were being delivered.1

Borrowed

It took many of it's components features from the Wirraway.1,2

Prototype

The first CA-12 flew on May 19, 1942 / May 29, 19422.1

Production

  • CAC CA-12: 1051
  • CAC CA-13: 951
  • CAC CA-19: 491
  • CAC CA-14/A: 11
  • Total: 2501,2
    • Manufacturer: Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation2
    • Production: ? - February 19451, Mid 1943 - ?2

Variants

  • CAC CA-14/A: Had turbo charged engine.1

Usage

Operational Training Units first received the CA-12s in October 1942.1,2

Five Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) squadrons were equipped with the Boomerang.1

Operational

The first squadron to become operational with Boomerangs was on April 4, 1943.2

First Battle

On May 16, 1943, three Mitsubishi G4Ms were intercepted by two Boomerangs.2 No planes were shot down.2

Army Cooperation

Once Britain and the United States was able to supply fighters for the Royal Australian Air Force the Boomerang was relegated to support.2

The Boomerang's maneuverability and armament made it an ideal close support aircraft.1 It was able to show excellent service in New Guinea and Bougainville.1

Specifications

  CAC Boomerang
Type Fighter1, Army cooperation1
Crew 11
Engine (Type) Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S3C4 Twin Wasp1,3
Cylinders Radial3, Radial 141
Cooling Air3
HP 1,2001
Propeller blades 31
Dimensions  
Span 36'1, 36' 3"3
10 m3, 10.97 m1
Length 25' 6"1,3
7.77 m1,3
Height 10' 6"1
3.2 m1
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 5,373 lb1, 5,450 lb3
2,437 kg1, 2,474 kg3
Loaded 7,000 lb3, 7,699 lb1
3,178 kg3, 3,492 kg1
Maximum load 7,600 lb3, 8,249 lb1
3,450 kg3, 3,742 kg1
Performance  
Speed at Sea Level 273 mph3
437 kph3
Speed at 7,600' /
2,320 m
296 mph3
474 kph3
Speed at 15,500' /
4,725 m
305 mph1
491 kph1
Cruising speed 190 mph1
305 kph1
Climb 2,150'/minute1
655 m/minute1
Service ceiling 29,000'3, 34,000'1
8,845 m3, 10,363 m1
Range 930 miles1,3
1,490 km3, 1,496 km1
Maximum range with drop tanks 1,600 miles1
2,575 km1
Armament  
Wings 2: 20 mm1,3
4: 0.303" MG1
Smoke bombs under wings 4: 20 lb1
4: 9 kg1
  CAC Boomerang CA-12 (A46)
Type Fighter2
Crew 12
Engine (Type) Pratt & Whitney R-1830 S3C4-G Twin Wasp2
Cylinders Radial 142
Cooling Air2
HP 1,2002
Dimensions  
Span 36' 3"2
Length 25' 6"2
Height 11' 6"2
Weight  
Loaded 7,699 lb2
Performance  
Speed @ 7,400' 302 mph2
Service ceiling 29,000'2
Range 930 miles2
Armament 2: 20 mm2
4: MG2
Bombs 500 lb2

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  2. World War II Airplanes Volume 2, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  3. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, 1989
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site