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Boomerang - the First Flight of Aussie Fighter
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From May 29th 15:00 GMT to May 30th 15:00 GMT

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December 1941 was a shock not only for the United states but also a shuddering realisation to the government of Australia. The Royal Australian Air Force at that time had no formations of modern fighter aircraft in the mainland. All the RAAF airborne assets had been deployed overseas and now with the united states fully in the war, Australia had been informed it would no longer receive any aircraft from the US, this along with the inability of the United Kingdom to provide any supplies brought the shocking realisation of isolation to Australia.

On hearing of the attack on pearl harbour, Lawrence Wackett on his own accord realised the paucity and negligence of Australia's position, he quickly set about acquiring the necessary details to design a locally made aircraft.  Within 3 days Lawrence and Fred David, CAC’s Lead engineer were hard at work, they used what they had, Based on the Wirraway bomber and using as many common parts the new airframe would be mated to the Pratt & Whitney R-1830 S3C4-G engine then in local production, The aircraft had to meet many difficulties, armament would have to be produced locally, or taken from stocks already in the country. the landing gear had to be suitable for take offs and landings on some of the worst airstrips in the world, it also had to be easy to repair, and most importantly bring it’s pilots home.

On the 31st of December 1941, the plans and details of the first design then known as both the Wirraway and Wackett interceptor  were sent to the Department of aircraft production. the initial design was to be equipped with 8 Vickers Mk V .303 guns, these were quickly replaced with .303 Brownings and 6000 rounds of ammunition. Next the design was again changed to take two or four .50 inch brownings whilst retaining either four or six .303 guns. all this and it was only February. Trouble continued to be encountered with the type of engine to be used, what was desired and what were available were two very different things. Finally the armament was settled it would include two locally produced Mk 1 Hispano 20mm cannons fed by 60 round magazines.

Even as the Boomerang was being designed, Beaufighters and Kittyhawks were being found and assembled for transport to australia, the numbers were limited and delivery was still uncertain so the boomerang was kept alive, it was however clearly becoming evident that aircraft design was already moving ahead, and the boomerangs performance would be inadequate. Even before the first prototype could take flight, various engine upgrades were already under consideration, designs assembled and the acquisition of exhaust driven superchargers were sought.  

The Prototype was assembled and ground tested at fishermans bend on the 10th of May 1942 it be handed to the RAAF on the 22nd of May 1942  

Test pilot Ken Frewin flew A46-1 on 29 May 1942 at RAAF base Laverton, the first tentative tests proved promising, and tests up until the 11th of june revealed that the Boomerang at first had decent performance and handling qualities, it was an effective platform for its guns. As testing progressed however the lack of high end performance showed, many improvements and modifications were demanded, while tests in June/July would show it was capable of holding it’s own against a P-40E and a P-400, it would fail to have the necessary speed or agility to combat the Zero’s of the Japanese. Sadly the aircraft would be relegated to the less active parts of the southwest pacific, it never shot down an enemy and was only built in limited numbers, but it was there when it was needed when others were not.

The War Thunder Team

Australian Air Force Boomerang - skin by ThePandanator2

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