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CAC CA-31 Sparrowhawk

In March 1964, the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation, located in Melbourne, introduced a proposal for an innovative supersonic aircraft that would be designed and produced domestically.

This aircraft, known as the Mirage Fighter, was intended to fulfil the requirements for both flying and weapons training.

The fundamental premise behind this project was the absence of any existing aircraft worldwide that possessed this unique combination of capabilities.

During the 1960s, a significant disparity was observed between jet trainers capable of flying and modern high-speed fighters.

This contrast extended beyond mere velocity; the flight behaviours of supersonic delta wing fighters differed significantly from the subsonic trainers that were in use at that time.

The initial blueprint showcased a double delta wing propelled by a single GE – J85 engine, and the project progressed to the point of fabricating a life-size mock-up, which was subsequently modified to accommodate the Rolls Royce RB172 Adour engine.

The aircraft was designed to include Martin Baker ejection seats and have the ability to transport a payload of 1815 kg using four wing and two fuselage hardpoints.

The Royal Australian Air Force’s need for a jet trainer was met in 1967 with Macchi Trainers produced under licence by CAC, as well as a series of two-seater Mirages manufactured by GAF in Melbourne.

As a result, the CA-31 project was terminated, marking the conclusion of CAC’s independent design endeavours.

Wirraway to Hornet – A history of the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Pty Ltd-Brian Hill.


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