CAC CA-15 (Kangaroo) Fighter-Interceptor / Bomber Escort Prototype
The CAC CA-15 Kangaroo was the most advanced fighter design to come out of Australia during World War 2.
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Much of Australian industry was evolved and put to the test during World War 2 (1939-1945). Its aviation sector eventually produced a handful of viable developments including the nationally-important CAC "Boomerang" by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation which had been established in 1936. In 1943, as the Pacific War continued to rage on near the Australian border, a new initiative was put into action involving a single-seat, single-engine monoplane fighter utilizing all-metal stressed-skin construction. Power for the aircraft was to come from the American-made Pratt & Whitney R2800-10W "Double Wasp" turbocharged radial piston engine of 2,300 horsepower output. The engine proved a monumental success during the war as it powered such famous types as the Martin B-26 "Marauder" medium bomber, the Curtiss C-46 "Commando" transport, and the Republic P-47 "Thunderbolt" fighter. Unfortunately this also meant that the engine continued to be in great demand outside of Australia.
The new endeavor was the CA-15 intended for the interceptor and bomber escort roles. CAC engineers, fresh off the success of their Boomerang program, elected for a well-streamlined and deep fuselage with the engine accordingly situated at front, the cockpit at center and a conventional single-finned tail unit at rear. The wing mainplanes were low-mounted and straight near midships and featured clipped tips. The pilot sat under a teardrop-style canopy offering excellent vision above and to the sides of the aircraft - though the design suffered as most wartime fighters did - the long nose and mainplanes obstructed much of vision towards critical quadrants about the aircraft. A "tail-dragger" retractable undercarriage was installed and a four-bladed propeller unit was fitted to the engine. The CA-15 showcased some of the form of the classic North American P-51 Mustang through its general appearance which included a ventral air scoop.
When it became apparent that the Double Wasp radial engine was not to be had in the numbers required, the decision was made to adopt an inline engine instead and this became the British Rolls-Royce Griffon 61 series liquid-cooled system. This added some complexity to the internal workings and overall operation of the aircraft. The shift in powerplant also did little to move the program along.