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GOT: The CAC CA-15 Kangaroo

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#1 Romantic Technofreak

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 09:45 PM

I am glad that I could finish another GOT topic. Let's return to the beginning, "A" like Australia, because I wrote the first one about the CAC CA-4/11 "Woomera". I hope Corsarius is still here sometimes and enjoys this article, and so I do for you all.

The text is from samoloty.ow.pl. Translation, as usual, was done with the help of poltran.com. It's translation performance was ok, at least most of the time.


The CAC CA-15 "Kangaroo"

On June 17th, 1936, the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) was founded by inititative of the Australian government for to gain independence for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)from foreign aerial supplies. CAC mainly produced training aircraft, but by proceeding time its knowledge in project engineering and technological capabilities grew so much that it could develop airplanes in complete independence - like the fighter "Boomerang", the single-engined light bomber "Wirraway" and the two-engined "Woomera".

Already in 1942, basing on RAAF specification No. 2/42, preliminary work on a very ambitious long-range fighter aircraft started, which received the factory designation CA-15. It was forecasted, that near the end of the war the CA-15 would become the RAAF's basic fighter. Layout was an all-metal cantilever low-wing construction with retractable undercarriage and the pilot's position in a closed cabin. The wing layout reminded on the American fighter "Mustang". Further, it received the identical armament, six machine guns "Browning" of caliber 12.7 mm, while the engine, a radial of type Pratt & Whitney R-2800-21 "Double Wasp", was the same like in another American fighter, the Republic P-47 "Thunderbolt". (A difficult and uninteresting sentence about the Double Wasp's air intake is omitted, RT).

In 1943, a mockup of the aircraft was built, although the development process was delayed because the project engineers wanted to accomodate the fighter to low heights. Furthermore, it was tied down by the decision of exchanging the engine to a water-cooled R-2800-21W. By August 1943, the RAAF accepted the new concept of the machine by specification No. 2/43. In 1944, the mounting of the structural elements of the first prototype started, although the R-2800-21W engine turned out not to be available.

The factory suggested the replacement of the engine to the high-altitude version R-2800-57W. But in August 1944, this further alteration was stopped when the Americans stated not being able to guarantee future supplies of the R-2800-57W for Australia. They also diminuished the amount of license-produced items, because in Australia in 1944 already the production of the P-51D "Mustang" under license had begun.

This time, the project engineers were forced to completely change the driving system for the new fighter. The choice fell on British engines of the newest versions, the Rolls-Royce "Griffon" type 120 or 125, although the radial Bristol "Centaurus" had been proposed too. The Griffon turned out to have the smallest frontal surface, and the placing of the liquid cooler under the central part of the fuselage caused an even further similarity to the "Mustang". However, it turned out soon that troubles with the drive should plague the CA-15 from the beginning. At this time, the Griffon version 120/125 had not yet reached its serial production stage, so the British decided to replace it by the weaker version "Griffon 61".

The first two copies of the "Griffon 61" arrived in Australia in April 1945. By this time, the Australian government had lost interest in the furthest development of the CA-15, due to the personal cost of the project, but decided to have the prototype finished. However, the next changes on the driving units caused that the first prototype of the CA-15 - informally called "Kangaroo" - and matriculated under number RAAF A62-1001 was completed only in February 1946, five months after the end of the war in the Pacific Ocean.

It performed its maiden flight on March 4th, 1946. By the way, it is worth a note that at this point of time also no license-produced CA-17 "Mustang" had entered the service in the RAAF (??, hope this is correct, another source says 17 were deleivered at the end of the war and took place in the occupation of Japan in 1946, (link dead) http://home.att.net/...er1/p51_11.html ,RT). Since June 27th, 1946, the prototype performed test flights at the No.1 Aircraft Performance Unit (No.1 APU) at Laverton. Until then, the prototype already had executed 23 flights of joint 16 hours and 45 minutes. The tests in No.1 APU continued without problems until December 10th, 1946, when the prototype had to do a forced belly landing on the airfield of Point Cook due to a failure of the hydraulic installations in the undercarriage.

For various reasons, the repair of the aircraft was delayed until April 1947. At this time, the RAAF already had its Mustangs, and was preparing for employment of the jet-propelled fighter De Havilland "Vampyre" of British production, so the further work on the CA-15 was interrupted.

On May 19th, the aircraft was transferred to the Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU),
where several farthest test flights were executed. During a flight on May 25th, 1948, Flt. Lt. J. Archer on the controls, the aircraft gained an inofficial speed record, achieving 808 kph on level flight (in this place a note to the official record of the German Me 209 V-1 is given, RT). In May 1950, the machine was transferred to the No. 1 Aircraft depot, where it was scrapped the same month.

The Commonwealth CA-15 "Kangaroo" without any doubt was the best Australian fighter, under many respects even surpassing the American "Mustang". It belonged to the best fighters of WWII. It was one of the last piston-engine driven fighters. Because of delays in construction and inconvenience of driving units, it remained a prototype only.


Sources given:

1. Jane's All The Worlds Aircraft, rocznik 1947

2. Letectvi + Kosmonautika nr 14/86

3. Skrzydlata Polska nr ?/?

4. W. Green, G. Swanborough "The Complete Book of Fighters", Smithmark, New York, 1994

5. other aerial magazines.

Also let's have some pictures. First 1 from 1000aircraftphotos.com:
CA-151.jpg

Second one, inflight, from samoloty.ow.pl. Sorry, quality could not be improved by editing:
CA-152.jpg

Third one from airbornemagazine.com.au:
CA-153.jpg


Fourth one from adf-serials.com:
CA-154.jpg

I also think some pictorials from Don's Modelworks would also be fine:
65e8edaa.jpg

Regards, RT



#2 Red Admiral

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Posted 22 May 2006 - 03:27 AM

Very interesting.

The pictures convey the sheer size of this aircraft well.

I'm surprised by the figure of 505mph quoted. Spiteful RB516 with a Griffon 101 (2420hp) managed 494mph and is a considerably smaller, cleaner aircraft with more power. Maybe some difference in atmospheric conditions.

#3 GregP

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Posted 22 May 2006 - 11:33 AM

Hi RT!

This is a really neat aircraft that deserves to have been a series.

Too bad it wasn't ...

Your research is, as usual., very good.

Thank you a bunch.

#4 Wuzak

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Posted 22 May 2006 - 06:41 PM

Yes it did Greg.

But it comes back to teh same old story....

Screwed by the Yanks and the Poms, but we still go back for more.......

#5 Wuzak

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Posted 22 May 2006 - 06:47 PM

Seriously, though, it is a fine looking aircraft, even if the canopy does look odd.

One wonders how it would have gone if it had been able to develop at a natural pace, rather than in teh fits and starts it obviously did.

Like so many of the late war piston fighters which lay claim to "the best piston engine fighter of all time" it is the turbojet that ultimately doomed it.

Makes me proud as an Australian that we could build something so fine. :D

#6 RHB785

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 10:36 AM

:) ,

The 505 mph was achieved in a shallow dive not in level flight. Imagine what it could have done with a Griffon 121 rather than the 61. The Ca-15 just missed its cue unfortunately and to this day we are dependent on foreign equipment. We're now not even allowed to licence produce our aircraft here even if they were designed overseas which is beyond me I'm afraid.

 

Regards,

Ross.



#7 RHB785

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 10:49 AM

:) ,

Incidentally the CA-15 got its name of Kangaroo because of its tendency to bounce around on its undercarriage. Forgot to mention that in the last post.

 

Regards,

Ross. 



#8 Mercman

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Posted 10 September 2016 - 09:57 AM

:) ,

Incidentally the CA-15 got its name of Kangaroo because of its tendency to bounce around on its undercarriage. Forgot to mention that in the last post.

 

Regards,

Ross. 

 

 

Ross, I'd  heard the 'Kangaroo' name was due to the prominent 'pouch' ( ventral radiator air-scoop)  added,

when the intended P &W R-2800 failed to materialize, & it took up  the liquid cooled R-R V12, instead.

 

It does make an interesting comparison with the ( also one-off) Griffon powered Martin-Baker MB-5 & Hawker Fury LA 610, which both

featured contra-props  ( the latter was then re-powered by a Sabre VII, & I wonder how the CA-15 would've performed with it, too).


Edited by Mercman, 10 September 2016 - 10:01 AM.


#9 Wuzak

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 12:03 PM

Neither the MB-5 or CA 15 showed much improvement over the Spitfire 20-series or even the XIV/XVIII in top speed, and lacked in other respects.

 

The MB-5 certainly lacked climb rate compared to the Spitfire.



#10 Rick65

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 11:29 AM

The source that I have seen with the most information on the CA-15 is

"Wirraway, Boomerang and CA-15 in Australian Service" by Stewart Wilson.

There is a section called The Introductory Phase that shows various early concepts circa 1943 planned around the R-2800 engine, initially turbocharged but later with two speed/two stage mechanical supercharging. Design drawings and detail layouts are included snd the wing design in particular is similar to what eventally appeared on the Griffon engined CA-15.

The Griffon came into the picture when the supplies of the R-2800 became unavailable in August 1944.

By the time plane had been redesigned for the Griffon, not in conditions of urgency as the war situation was by then favourable, the flight test pahse was not until early 1946 when the age of piston engined front line fighters was effectively over.







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