CAC Wirraway

CAC Wirraway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1936 the North American NA-33 trainer, was selected for manufacture by the new Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation. The Australian Wirraway version (Aboriginal for 'Challenge') was modified for operations, with twin synchronised guns, Camera and radio, and the wing and tail units were redesigned. The first Wirraway flew on 27 March 1939 and by December 1940, 28 aircraft were being delivered monthly; rising to 45 by September 1942. Production continued until 1946.

In 1940-41, Wirraways were deployed to forward bases in Malaya, Rabaul, and Darwin. On 6 January 1942, Flight Lieutenant B. Anderson of No 24 Squadron became the first RAAF pilot to engage in air-to-air combat in the South-West Pacific when his Wirraway intercepted a Kawanishi (Mavis) flying-boat over Rabaul. On 20 January 1942, the Rabaul Wirraways achieved immortal fame when eight aircraft, engaged a force of over 100 Japanese fighters and bombers. Although outclassed by enemy aircraft, the Wirraway remained in the front line as a stop-gap fighter, and on 26 December 1942, Pilot Officer J. Archer in A20-103 succeeded in shooting down a Zero fighter near Gona. Wirraways served mainly with Nos 4, 5, 12, 14, 21, 22, 24, 25, 54, 60, 78, 82, 85 and 87 Squadrons. The Wirraway continued to serve as a trainer and communications aircraft until 1959.

General characteristics

Crew:                                                      2
Length:                                                   27 ft 10in (8.48 m)
Wingspan:                                             43 ft 0 in (13.11 m)
Height:                                                  8 ft 8¾ in (2.66 m)
Wing area:                                            255.75 ft² (23.76 m²)
Empty weight:                                      3,992 lb (1,810 kg)
Max take-off weight:                           6,595 lb (2,991 kg)
Powerplant:                                          1× Pratt & Whitney R-1340 radial engine, 600 hp (450 kW)

Performance

Maximum speed:                                   191 knots (220 mph, 350 km/h)
Cruise speed:                                         135 knots (155 mph, 250 km/h)
Range:                                                   720 mi (630 nm, 1,200 km)
Service ceiling:                                     23,000 ft (7,010 m)
Rate of climb:                                       1,950 ft/min (9.9 m/s)

Armament

Guns:                                                     2× 0.303 (0.77 in) Vickers machine guns
Bombs:                                                  2× 500 lb (230 kg) bomb - If no observer is carried
                                                              2× 250 lb (110 kg) bombs

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