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About rickshaw

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  1. rickshaw

    CAC CA-23, 75 Squadron, RAAF, 1960

    CAC CA-23, 75 Squadron, RAAF, 1960 The CAC CA-23 was a planned supersonic, twinjet, two-seat, all-weather fighter aircraft designed by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation. In 1949, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) began assessing replacements for its locally-built Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) Mustangs, Gloster Meteors and De Havilland Australia (DHA) Vampires. A series of designs were considered, including the Grumman Panther and an unconventional, twin-jet all-weather fighter: the CAC CA-23. The Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) had developed an extensive in-house design office and capability stemming from Australian Government funding during World War 2. On the basis of the CAC track record and a detailed proposal, the Department of Defence Production granted funds to develop the CAC CA-23 concept. The CAC CA-23 delta wing design concept was a two-seat all-weather fighter with a low set tail. It was originally planned to be powered by two Rolls-Royce Tay engines; the final version was however designed for the more powerful Rolls-Royce Avon turbojet engines. The aircraft was to be fitted with the most up to date radar and electronic equipment. Its anticipated performance was to be in the region of Mach 1.5 which would have been much faster than any contemporary aircraft. Over the life of the project dozens of mock-up models were made at different scales, with hundreds of detailed drawings, plus wind tunnel tests proving the delta wing was more than satisfactory. The program was described by the British visiting CAC at the time as "the company's project was a most ambitious design for a fighter and as advanced as anything yet seen in any other part of the world." The four-year project was ordered into production in 1953 after extensive aeronautical R&D testing in wind tunnels in Australia and at the Royal Aircraft Establishment. The testing results were so promising and ground breaking for a delta wing design that the Royal Aircraft Establishment requested permission to distribute the results to the major UK aircraft manufacturers and Avro Canada. The CA-23 served with the RAAF in four squadrons – 75, 76, 77 and 78. It also served with an Operational Conversion Unit (OCU), No. 80 Squadron. Initialy equipped with four .50 cal HMGs, it was later equipped with four 20mm Cannon and two AIM-9B Sidewinder IR guided air-to-air missiles. The Model The model is a resin one, by Uncle Les from Australia. It was painted with a rattlecan of Silver paint from Bunnings Hardware with alfoil overlaid. The markings represent a machine from 75 Squadron, cobbled together from the spares box.
  2. Fairey Gannet AEW 31, 814 Squadron, RAN FAA, HMAS Eagle When the Australian Government decided it was time to replace their Majestic Class Carrier, HMAS Sydney in 1960, after considerable deliberation it was decided that upgrading the Sydney with a angled deck and all the gubbins required to operate jet aircraft was not possible. It was decided that it would be cheaper in the long run to go larger and purchase a more modern carrier with a longer life. Looking around, they turned first to the Royal Navy. It was now 1965. the Royal Navy was in the midst of deciding whether to finish upgrading HMS Eagle. The Admiralty had originally planned to give Eagle a complete rebuild on the lines of HMS Victorious, but due to high costs, plans to fit new geared steam turbines and a stretched hull were abandoned. Eagle was instead given a more austere but extensive modernisation that provided greater radar and processing capability than the systems fitted to Victorious. The changes included major improvements to the accommodation, including the installation of air conditioning. The island was completely rebuilt and a 3D Type 984 radar was installed, with processing capacity to track and rank 100 targets, twice the capability of the early 984 system fitted to Hermes and Victorious. The flight deck was modified and included a new 2½ inch armoured deck with a full 8.5 degree angle, two new steam catapults (BS5s, 151 ft (46 m) stroke on the port side forward and 199 ft (61 m) stroke in the waist) were fitted as well as new arrester gear (DAX I) and mirror sights. As well as an overhaul of the DC electrical systems, AC generators were also fitted to give additional power. It was decided that Eagle would have her anti-aircraft guns removed and replaced by the Seacat missile system, though her aft four 4.5 inch gun turrets were retained, and all of her original machinery and equipment would be fully overhauled. In 1959 Eagle entered Devonport Dockyard to begin this extensive refit, and by May 1964 it was complete. Standard displacement had increased to around 44,100 tons (full load displacement was 54,100 tons) and Eagle was now the largest aircraft carrier in the Royal Navy. Total cost of the refit was £31 million. The refit was intended to extend her operational life for another 10 years, and she now operated Blackburn Buccaneer, de Havilland Sea Vixen, Supermarine Scimitar and Fairey Gannet aircraft, but water-cooled jet blast deflectors (needed to operate the RN Phantom fighters) were not fitted, and therefore the full potential of the ship was not realized. As a consequence of the British Government’s decision to cut costs, it was decided that Eagle should be retired and become a spares source for HMS Ark Royal. The Royal Australian Navy wished to both move up and keep a two carrier force in being. HMS Eagle seemed to be the ideal carrier for the RAN’s needs. The Royal Navy agreed to the sale and as part of the sale, it was offered that the ship would be refitted, with water-cooled jet blast deflectors and improved arrestor systems and radar systems. So, in early 1966 Eagle was refitted at Devonport once more and was fitted with a single DAX II arrestor wire (no.3, her other wires were DAX I). She also had bridal catchers fitted to her catapults. Finally, she also had an improved Type 985 3-d radar and improved accommodation and air conditioning systems installed. She was recommissioned in 1968 as HMAS Eagle. In the end, the water-cooled jet blast deflectors were not needed as the RAN never operated F-4 Phantoms. It had decided in 1966 to instead standardise on A-4 Skyhawks and F-8 Crusaders. When she entered service with the RAN she carried 18 A-4 Skyhawks, 14 F-8 Crusaders, 4 Gannet AEWs, 6 Sea King ASW helicopters and 2 Wessex SAR helicopters. As part of the deal with the British, the RAN received also Fairey Gannet AEW aircraft. Operated by 814 Squadron from HMAS Eagle and RAN Naval Air Station Nowra (HMAS Albatross), the Gannet AEW added a new capability to the RAN and allowed it to better control the battle space over the carriers, providing early warning of approaching aircraft. The Model The model is a mix of a Revell Gannet T.5 wings and tail and an Airmodel Gannet AEW vacuform. She was painted with a hairy stick using Tamiya paints. The decals came from an Xtradecal Gannet set.
  3. rickshaw

    Chengdu J-7 color

  4. rickshaw

    Replacing the Canberra in RAAF service

    In real life or what-if? In real life, they replaced the Canberra with the F-111C and that with the F-18E/F/G. In what-if? Mmmm, how about the Panavia Tornado or the F-36?
  5. rickshaw

    Replacing the Canberra in RAAF service

    Because of critcism from users, the RAAF has changed the configuration of the aircraft, placing the secondary drop tanks on the outmost pylons and the self-defence Sidewinders on the innermost. There is now no more interference with either the dive brakes or the landing gear's retraction.
  6. Replacing the Canberra The Menzies government first publicly discussed the need for replacing the English Electric Canberra in 1954, only a year after the RAAF began receiving the bomber. The non-supersonic Canberra lacked radar and electronic countermeasures, all disadvantages based on Korean War experience. The RAAF believed that it needed a new strategic bomber to fulfill the nation's obligations to the Commonwealth Strategic Reserve in Malaysia, ANZUS, and SEATO. Air Staff Requirement 36 that year mandated an all-weather attack aircraft by 1959 capable of delivering a variety of bombs and missiles. A study recommended one of the British V bombers, but Prime Minister Robert Menzies' Minister of Defence Frederick Shedden decided in 1956 that at £1 million each they were too expensive. Air Marshal Valston Hancock, Chief of the Air Staff, stated in April 1960 that Australia needed a replacement for the Canberra. Although in mid-1962 the Menzies government again decided to not replace the Canberra, Indonesia's increasingly aggressive statements regarding Malaysia soon caused Australia to reevaluate the decision. The Sydney Morning Herald reported in October 1962 that the Indonesian Air Force's Soviet Tupolev Tu-16 bombers could reach Sydney or any other Australian city with a light bomb load, while the Canberras could not fly in all weather and had a range of 900 miles (1,400 km), insufficient to reach Jakarta. The opposition Labor Party, led by Arthur Calwell, used the report to criticize Menzies. The government denied that the Tu-16 could reach Sydney, but Minister for Air Frederick Osborne acknowledged that the Canberras were "the weakest link in our armoury at the present moment". He stated, however, that the available foreign bombers were unsuitable for the RAAF. The American Boeing B-52 Stratofortress and Convair B-58 Hustler, for example, were too large for existing Australian runways. More suitable aircraft such as the British BAC TSR-2 and the American TFX (later the F-111) would soon be available, Osborne said. Hancock study In May 1963 Menzies announced an A£200 million increase in defence spending over the next five years, and proposed to send a team led by Hancock overseas to evaluate Canberra replacements. Early candidates were the French Dassault Mirage IV, the TSR-2, and the U.S. North American A-5 Vigilante, McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II and the TFX. From June to August, Hancock's team visited France, Britain and the United States to evaluate the competitors, and determined that the TFX would be the aircraft best suited for the role. The Mirage IV was considered too expensive. The F-4 and the A-5 were immediately available, but the less expensive F-4 would need air-to-air refuelling to reach Indonesia from Australia. The TSR-2 was behind schedule and over budget, was the most expensive at A£122 million for 24 aircraft, and British government support for the program was uncertain. While the TFX was also controversial in the United States, its promised performance specifications and per-aircraft cost were superior to that of the TSR-2. As he did not expect TFX to be available before 1970, however, Hancock recommended buying 36 A-5 aircraft for A£88 million to counteract the perceived imminent threat from Indonesia. The Menzies government was reluctant to choose as interim replacement the A-5 or the F-4, which could not be deployed until 1966 and would cost A$120–180 million. Waiting for the TSR-2 or TFX in 1969 or 1970 seemed to pose great risk, but when considering Hancock's findings in September 1963 it wanted to be able to offer a substantial response to the Labor party's criticism of its defence strategy. The British and American governments competed on behalf of their nations' unbuilt bombers, as both believed that export sales would increase domestic support for the aircraft. The Menzies government viewed the British promise to deploy a squadron of V bombers in Australia for interim defense until the TSR-2 was ready as unacceptable for both technical and political reasons. Beyond its cost, the Royal Air Force had not ordered the TSR-2; the Chief of the Defence Staff Lord Louis Mountbatten, who opposed it, advised the Australians against buying the aircraft and the RAAF feared being the only customer. The RAAF returned to France. France had already won the competition for an CAC Avon Sabre replacement with their Mirage III. Marcel Dassault was keen to sell even more aircraft to the Pacific Dominion. He hoped that by selling the Mirage IV to the RAAF, a door could be opened to replace the TSR.2 in RAF service and elsewhere around the world. He revealed that he had plans, with Rolls Royce to use their new Spey Turbofan engine to power a UK version of the Mirage IV. He suggested that the RAAF might be interested in being the launch customer for the Mirage IVO (“O” for “Orstralian” ) and getting the jump on the RAF. Intrigued, the RAAF representatives took a test flight in a prototype Mirage IVA (the French version) and were delighted with its performance. They felt that with a pair of Speys, delivering more than 25% more thrust in afterburner, using some 10-15% less fuel the aircraft was a fine match to their needs. Dassault said he was prepared to drop the price on the Mirage IVO to match the Vigilante if the Australians ordered immediately. Returning back to Australia, the study mission immediately recommended the adoption of the Mirage IVO into RAAF service as a deterrent to possible Indonesian aggression against Australia and it’s allies in the South-West Pacific region. Dassault had assured them that they would receive their first Mirage IVO in 1968. This was well ahead of the US F-111. The Australian Government decided therefore in early 1965 to adopt 48 Mirage IV, with suitable modifications to suit it to RAAF service. The problem was, what were the new aircraft to carry? They were optimised for nuclear weapons, not conventional ones. The RAAF specified to Dassault that he should redesign the aircraft to carry nuclear but also conventional weapons in an internal bomb bay. It should also be able to carry externally, on wing pylons both drop tanks and conventional bombs on multiple ejector racks. When Dassault asked “what ‘special weapons’ would the RAAF like to carry?” The RAAF was a little nonplussed. As far as they were aware, the Australian Government had no plans for nuclear weapons. What the RAAF did not know was that the Australian Government had been closely studying the British nuclear tests which had occurred in Australia in the 1950s. They knew what the British were building. They secretly commissioned in 1957 the Australian Weapons Research Establishment (WRE) to recreate the most advanced British weapon – the RED BEARD bomb. Whilst they did not doubt that the RAF would “lend” some Atomic bombs to the RAAF in case of a general nuclear exchange, they felt it would be better to have some of their own, “just in case”. WRE built their own BLUE BEARD weapon. Almost exactly the same size and shape as the British RED BEARD, the BLUE BEARD was slightly more powerful at 20 Kilotonnes. It was also a safer design, being created with a core which was shielded until the weapon was armed in flight automatically which occurred just as the aircraft approached it’s target. It could also be disarmed through the same method, allowing the aircraft to land with the weapon again safely. The British had conducted tests of their RED BEARD design weapon in the Buffalo Tests - Rounds 1 (27 September 1956) and 4 (22 October 1956) with yields of 15 and 10 kt respectively. WRE secretly tested it’s first BLUE BEARD weapon on 18 December 1959 at Maralinga. It was an immediate success. Two more tests occurred approximately six months later with the last bringing the weapon to it’s full potential with a yield of 20 Kt. When the RAAF was informed of BLUE BEARD’s existence in late 1965, they were delighted. Suddenly they had joined the “Big Boys’ Club”. Australia was a nuclear power. This meant they could destroy Jakarta and any other Indonesian city easily. They wired Dassault that the new Mirage IVO should be designed to carry a ‘special weapon’ which was approximately 3 feet in diameter, 12 feet long, and weighed 2000 lb. Dassault complied, along with two extra wing pylons on each side, two stressed to carry multiple ejector racks of approximately 2,000 lbs each. The outmost rack was only stressed to carry a lighter 250 lb weight. The RAAF intended to carry either ECM pods or Sidewinder air-to-air missiles for self-protection. They also decided that it would be better to eliminate the downward facing mapping radar and replace it with a search and target acquisition radar in the nose. The first Mirage IVO was delivered in May 1968. The first squadron to operate the aircraft, 1 Squadron RAAF. Initially delivered in fully white coloured paint, to better reflect the “flash” of an atomic explosion, with “pink” markings, the Mirage IVOs were never used in anger. The closest they came was at the end of their careers in 1999 when they were readied for possible use during the Australian intervention in East Timor when Indonesian rule there ended. The Model The model is the venerable Heller 1/72 Mirage IVA. Actually, it’s two of them. The Mirage IVK was intended to be about 3 feet longer than the standard Mirage IVA, so I combined the nose from an existing model I had bought many years ago cheaply from EvilBay with a new kit. I also used some resin Spey exhausts intended for a British F-4 kit. I used a spare plastic nose cone from a Trumpeter Su-15 model from the spares box. I added two extra wing pylons on each side. The extra fuel tanks came from a 1/72 Mirage IIIO and the Sidewinders from the spares box. I painted it with a rattle can of white undercoat. The nose was finished with Vallejo black acrylic and the red on the intakes came from the same source. The “pink” markings were printed by Kit Speckman Enterprises.
  7. rickshaw

    British nuclear weapons - what colours?

    OK, thanks. So, what do the various coloured stripes represent? Yellow for HE? Orange for nuclear?
  8. Quick question, what colour and markings did British nuclear bombs carry? I'm particularly interested in Red Beard.
  9. rickshaw

    P-61E Black Widow in RAAF service

    Nice model. That was what I was aiming to use but I could not find one anywhere cheaply enough. So I opted for a Frog kit (or rather, the remains of a Frog kit, it was incomplete). It worked out OK but not as good as I wanted. I now have an Airfix kit to sacrifice for my next attempt.
  10. rickshaw

    Supermarine Scimitar

    1/72 of course - the one and only scale...
  11. rickshaw

    P-61E Black Widow in RAAF service

    P-61E Black Widow in RAAF service As already related, at the end of WWII, Australia found itself in a unique position. It was a creditor to the Lend-Lease scheme because of the large quantity of agricultural products it provided to feed occupied Europe and Asia. In addition, it was where the US forces dumped a large quantity of their materiale’. It had already been “written off” so to speak and was no longer wanted back in the continental USA, being considered a threat to the US economy. The result was that the RAAF amongst the other Australian services received a large quantity of equipment at rock-bottom prices. One of these was the P-61 “Black Widow” night fighter. Several hundred of the earlier versions, some with and some without the troublesome upper machine gun turret were left in Australian “grave yards”. The RAAF, disappointed with the performance of their chosen Mosquito “wooden wonder” which had suffered from tropical rot and weakened glue was looking for alternatives. The P-61 seemed to fulfill it’s need. Back in the US, the aeroindustry was suffering the downturn post war. Northrop had tried, just as the war ended to transform the P-61 from a purely nigh fighter into a day fighter in it’s P-61E variant. This featured a new fuselage module, seating two crew and which had multiple .50cal machine guns in the nose and four 20mm cannons underneath, plus a small bomb bay. Their efforts had fallen on deaf ears. The USAAF was only interested in jet propelled aircraft. Northrop approached by the RAAF about supporting the P-61s in Australia sensed an opportunity. They offered to rebuild the P-61s into E variants. Australia, anxious to establish it’s own aeroindustry, leapt at the chance. The GAF P-61Ea was created. It saw service in BCOF-J – British Commonwealth Occupation Forces – Japan and in the early stages of the Korean conflict as part of 94 Squadron. It scored no victories in the Korean War. The Model The model is a combination of the Airmodel vacuform kit with an ancient Frog P-61A kit. It was painted with a rattlecan of silver. The canopy was ruined when I tried to cut it out and replaced with a 1/48 P-51 one, which is approximately the right size and shape.
  12. rickshaw

    Supermarine Scimitar

    Thanks. It was a simple, easy model to build.
  13. Real World Build - Supermarine Scimitar The Supermarine Scimitar was a British naval fighter aircraft operated by the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm. The prototype for the eventual production version flew in January 1956 and production aircraft were delivered in 1957. It saw service with the Royal Navy from 1958 until 1969, replaced in service by the Blackburn Buccaneer. This is my only real world build for over 30 years. It is a Scimitar from Merlin Models which I purchased off of EvilBay several years ago. It has been painted with a hairy stick and Vallejo paints. The decals came in the box and represent an aircraft from 803 Squadron FAA operating off of Ark Royal.
  14. rickshaw

    Caribou paint colour/Decal problem (RAAF)

    Use the black titles/markings.
  15. rickshaw

    Caribou paint colour/Decal problem (RAAF)

    I used Vallejo Acrylics. All with a few drops of white in them to fade them a little.