Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation CA-17 / CA-18 / CA-21 Mustang
In 1943, the Australian government arranged for the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) to manufacture the Mustang Mk IV (P-51D) under licence from North American Aviation. The RAAF urgently needed a new fighter, and so the first CAC Mustangs were built mainly from imported semi-finished parts. A prototype Mustang, A68-1001, was used for development trials and the first Australian production Mustang, A68-1, flew on 29 April 1945. This aircraft was handed over to the RAAF on 4 June 1945 and was used for trials by No 1 Aircraft Performance Unit until October 1946. It was placed in storage until 1953 when it was delivered to the Department of Supply at Woomera.
The first 80 Mustang 20s (A68-1/80) were delivered with Packard Merlin V-1650-3 engines, under the CA-17 designation. A second contract called for 170 improved Mustangs, but only 120 were completed. Known as CA-18, the first 40 were built as Mustang 21s (A68-81/120) with Packard Merlin V-1650-7 engines. The remaining CA-18s comprised 14 Mustang 22s (A68-187/200) with Packard Merlin V-1650-7 engines. A CA-21 contract for a further 250 Mustangs was cancelled and, in lieu of the remaining CA-18s and CA-21s, 298 lend-lease P-51Ds and Ks were taken on strength (A68-500/583 and A68-600/813). In addition, the RAAF also accepted Mustangs for the Netherlands East Indies Air Force (N3-600/640).
Produced too late for World War II, RAAF Mustangs were assigned to Japan for occupation duties and, early in 1946, Nos 76, 77 and 82 Squadrons flew into Iwakuni. In 1949 Nos 76 and 82 Squadrons withdrew to Australian and the Mustangs of No 77 Squadron remained to take part in the Korean War from June 1950 until April 1951, when they were replaced by Gloster Meteors.
In Australia, Mustangs remained in service with Citizen's Air Force Squadrons until they were withdrawn from service in 1959.
CAC CA 18 Mustang Mk 21
Engine: One Packard Merlin V1650-7, 1490 hp at sea level, 1720 hp at 6300ft & 1565 hp at 17250 ft.
Propellor: Hamilton Standard 4 Bladed Constant Speed
Propellor diameter: 11ft 2in (3·4m).
Span 11.28 m (37 ft)
Length 9,83 m (32 ft 3 in)
Height: 3.71 m (12 ft 2 in).
Empty weight: 3567 kg (7863 lb)
Maximum Take Off Weight: 10,500 pounds or 4763kg.
Internal Fuel Capacity 224 Imp Gallons / 1018 litres
External drop tanks of 75 US Gals (284 litres) & 110 US Gals (416 litres).
Max IAS/Mach all altitudes: 438 kts IAS/Mach 0.77
Vne at 9,000ft: 500 kts TAS / 925 km/h
Max speed straight and level 10,000ft: 348kts TAS / 643 km/h
Max speed straight and level 25,000ft: 380kts TAS / 703 km/h
Maximum Rate of Climb: 3475ft/min at 5000ft
Service ceiling: 41900 ft / 12771 metres.
Time to 20000ft: 7·3 mins
Time to 30000ft: 12·6 mins.
Maximum Range 25000 ft internal fuel: 840 nm / 1530 km.
Maximum Range 25000 ft external fuel: 1435 nm / 2655 km.
Armament: Six 0.50 in Colt Browning machine guns; two 454 kg (1000 lb) bombs or up to 10 rockets
Inboard guns contained 400 rounds per gun & the rest – 270 rounds per gun.
Underwing hardpoints for six, 5 inch rockets or two 500lb (227kg) bombs.