CAC Wirraway

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CAC Wirraway
CAC Wirraway.jpg
Wirraway from 251 Squadron RAAF in Feb 1940 John Thomas Harrison photo
CAC Wirraway Navy.jpg
Navy photo
Type single wing monoplane
Role Trainer / general purpose fighter
Designer based on US NA 16
Manufacturer Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation
Produced 1939 - 1946
Number built 755
Primary users RAAF; RAN (17)
In service 1939
Out of service 1959


The CAC NA-16 Wirraway (an Aboriginal word meaning "challenge") was a training and general purpose military aircraft manufactured in Australia by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) between 1939 and 1946. It was an Australian development of the North American NA-16 training aircraft, and 755 aircraft were built. The Wirraway has been credited as being the foundation of Australian aircraft manufacturing.

With war likely, in June 1939 the RAAF recommended an expansion to 32 Squadrons, with nine to be equipped with Wirraways. Deliveries began in July 1939. In addition to their planned trainer role, Wirraways also served with front line units as emergency fighters, although only one Japanese aircraft was destroyed by a Wirraway. Others served as ground attack aircraft supporting Australian units in New Guinea. Flown by 9 RAAF Squadrons, and two RAN Squadrons

Post war the Wirraway continued to serve as a trainer for the Army and 17 were acquired by the Navy, who retired their aircraft in 1957. The Air Force retained theirs a little longer until it was replaced by the CAC Winjeel.

General characteristics

  • Crew: Two - Pilot, Instructor (or gunner/bomb aimer)
  • Length: 8.48 m
  • Wingspan: 13.11 m
  • Height: 2.66 m
  • Empty weight: 1,910 kg
  • Max takeoff weight: 2,991 kg
  • Powerplant: 1 x Pratt & Whitney R1340 radial engine 600 hp.
  • Maximum speed: 354 km/h
  • Range: 1,158 km
  • Service ceiling:7,010 m
  • Armament
  • Guns: 2 x .303 Vickers machine guns
  • Bombs: 2 x 500 lb and 2 x 250 lb bombs

Air Crew

No. 3 Service Flying Training School RAAF

Ground Crew

No. 25 (City of Perth) Squadron RAAF

No. 2 Service Flying Training School RAAF