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CAC CA-15 (Kangaroo)

Australia (1946)
Picture of CAC CA-15 (Kangaroo) Fighter-Interceptor / Bomber Escort Prototype
Picture of 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.


Detailing the development and operational history of the CAC CA-15 (Kangaroo) Fighter-Interceptor / Bomber Escort Prototype.  Entry last updated on 6/13/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

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.

In August of 1945, the Empire of Japan formally capitulated and brought an end to the War in the Pacific for September. The CA-15 had still not yet flown and the massive military drawdown that followed the conflict cast a shadow on the slowly evolving indigenous Australian fighter project. Nevertheless, work on the product continued to the point that a first flight was finally had on March 4th, 1946. The aircraft featured its inline set in the nose and a streamlined spinner managed the four-bladed propeller unit. The CA-15 was a good initiative for the country and its most advanced wartime design to appear. In testing, it was able to see speeds reaching near 450 miles per hour.

On December 10th of that year, the sole working prototype suffered a failure of its undercarriage hydraulics when attempting to land at Point Cook - leaving the main legs only partially lowered. After dumping fuel, the test pilot crash landed the aircraft. The pilot survived with a few bumps and scrapes but the aircraft suffered considerable damage in the exercise. Despite the setback, CA-15 was repaired and readied to be flown again and topped diving speeds over 500 miles per hour in further flights.

While the program continued forward, albeit at a much-reduced pace in peacetime, the product was no longer in need and served mainly in a data collecting role for most of its time aloft. The global shift to jet-powered aircraft did many fighter programs such as the CA-15 in at the end of the war and in the period immediately following. With that, the only completed prototype of the CA-15 was discarded and ultimately scrapped, lost to the pages of Australian aviation history. The project was formally ended in 1950.

As finalized, the CA-15 was given a length of36.1 feet and a wingspan of 36 feet with a height nearing 14.1 feet. Empty weight was 7,540 pounds and Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) reached 12,340 pounds. Officially performance numbers included a maximum speed of 448 miles per hour, a range of 1,150 miles, a service ceiling of 39,000 feet and a rate-of-climb of 4,900 feet per second.

While never officially named, the CA-15 ultimately garnered itself the nickname of "Kangaroo" in keeping with Australian aircraft naming conventions.

Proposed armament included 0.50 caliber (12.7mm) heavy machine guns, three per wing, with 250 rounds afforded per gun unit. The wings were also to receive provision for five high-explosive rockets each (ten total) and a hardpoint to carry up to 2 x 1,000 pound conventional drop bombs.

Any available statistics for the CAC CA-15 (Kangaroo) Fighter-Interceptor / Bomber Escort Prototype are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).




General Assessment (BETA)
Firepower  
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Performance  
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Survivability  
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Versatility  
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Impact  
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Rating: 68 (of 100)
The rating is an internal assessment derived from forty factors pertaining to this entry.
Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 500mph
Lo: 250mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (447mph).

    Graph average of 375 miles-per-hour.
Relative Operational Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the CAC CA-15 (Kangaroo)'s operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era Impact
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
1
1


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
  Compare this entry against other aircraft using our Comparison Tool  
Supported Mission Types:
Air-to-Air
Interception
Unmanned
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Training
Anti-Submarine
Anti-Ship
Airborne Early Warning
MEDEVAC
Electronic Warfare
Maritime/Navy
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Search/Rescue
Recon/Scouting
Special Forces
X-Plane/Development
National Flag Graphic
National Origin: Australia
Service Year: 1946
Classification Type: Fighter-Interceptor / Bomber Escort Prototype
Manufacturer(s): Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) - Australia
Production Units: 1
Operational Status: Cancelled
Global Operators:
Australia (cancelled)
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the CAC CA-15 (Kangaroo) model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
36.09 ft


Meters
11 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
35.99 ft


Meters
10.97 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
14.17 ft


Meters
4.32 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
7,562 lb


Kilograms
3,430 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
12,346 lb


Kilograms
5,600 kg

Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Rolls-Royce Griffon 61 12-cylinder inline liquid-cooled engine developing 2,035 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
447 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
720 kph


Knots
389 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
1,150 mi


Kilometers
1,850 km


Nautical Miles
999 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
38,993 ft


Meters
11,885 m


Miles
7.38 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
4,900 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
1,494 m/min

Armament - Hardpoints (2):

PROPOSED STANDARD:
6 x 0.50 caliber M2 Browning heavy machine guns in wings (three per wing).

PROPOSED OPTIONAL:
10 x High-explosive rockets (five per wing)
2 x 1,000lb conventional drop bombs (one per wing)
2 x Jettisonable fuel tanks (one per wing, assumed)
Visual Armory:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft heavy machine gun
Graphical image of aircraft aerial rockets
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Graphical image of an aircraft external fuel tank
Variants: Series Model Variants
• CA-15 - Base Product Designation
• "Kangaroo" - Unofficial Name