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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. Lawrence Wackett was the head designer for Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation. Development was rushed to get it produced as quickly as possible and within five months it was designed, built, and flown.

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

Borrowed

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

Prototype

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

Production

  • CAC CA-12: 105
  • CAC CA-13: 95
  • CAC CA-19: 49
  • CAC CA-14/A: 1
  • Total: 250
    • Manufacturer: Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation
    • Production: ? - February 1945, Mid 1943 - ?

Variants

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

Usage

Operational Training Units first received the CA-12s in October 1942.

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

Operational

The first squadron to become operational with Boomerangs was on April 4, 1943.

First Battle

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

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.

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

Specifications

  CAC Boomerang
Type Fighter, Army cooperation
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S3C4 Twin Wasp
Cylinders Radial, Radial 14
Cooling Air
HP 1,200
Propeller blades 3
Dimensions  
Span 36', 36' 3"
10 m, 10.97 m
Length 25' 6"
7.77 m
Height 10' 6"
3.2 m
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 5,373 lb, 5,450 lb
2,437 kg, 2,474 kg
Loaded 7,000 lb, 7,699 lb
3,178 kg, 3,492 kg
Maximum load 7,600 lb, 8,249 lb
3,450 kg, 3,742 kg
Performance  
Speed at Sea Level 273 mph
437 kph
Speed at 7,600' /
2,320 m
296 mph
474 kph
Speed at 15,500' /
4,725 m
305 mph
491 kph
Cruising speed 190 mph
305 kph
Climb 2,150'/minute
655 m/minute
Service ceiling 29,000', 34,000'
8,845 m, 10,363 m
Range 930 miles
1,490 km, 1,496 km
Maximum range with drop tanks 1,600 miles
2,575 km
Armament  
Wings 2: 20 mm
4: 0.303" MG
Smoke bombs under wings 4: 20 lb
4: 9 kg
  CAC Boomerang CA-12 (A46)
Type Fighter
Crew 1
Engine (Type) Pratt & Whitney R-1830 S3C4-G Twin Wasp
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
HP 1,200
Dimensions  
Span 36' 3"
Length 25' 6"
Height 11' 6"
Weight  
Loaded 7,699 lb
Performance  
Speed @ 7,400' 302 mph
Service ceiling 29,000'
Range 930 miles
Armament 2: 20 mm
4: MG
Bombs 500 lb

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