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Panavia Wiriwiri in RAN service

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Panavia Wiriwiri

In 1979, the Royal Australian Navy was seeking a new carrier, to replace its aging Majestic Class, HMAS Melbourne.   France, sensing the possibility of a windfall sale, both of a carrier and aircraft, offered a revised Clemenceau class, with a slightly longer hull and flight deck, with a commensurate increase in tonnage.  The aircraft on offer were to be SEPECAT Jaguar Ms and Mirage F1Ms.   However, France was not exactly flavour of the month in the Pacific, with its ongoing nuclear tests in the region and so any major purchase from them was politically unpalatable.   The British offered as an alternative a commercial design adapted to a carrier, built to the cheaper and simpler requirements of a commercial hull.  They offered the SEPECAT Jaguar M as strike aircraft and as fighters as well.  As an alternative, the Panavia Tornado was offered as well, working on the theory that, “offer them something really expensive as an alternative and they’ll plumb for the cheaper system instead.”

The RAN decided to go with the British offering, the Australian Government unwilling to spend the required funds for a dedicated carrier design.   The decision was also made to adopt the Tornado as a combination strike aircraft and as a fighter, rather than the simpler and cheaper Jaguar.   Using the IDS airframe, coupled with the ADV radar.  The Tornado was renamed the “Wiriwiri” (Aboriginal for “whirlwind”).   It would be capable of carrying both air-to-air missiles and air-to-ground weapons.

HMAS Australia entered service in 1984.  It carried an airwing of 24 Wiriwiri and 12 A-4G Skyhawks, plus several Trackers and helicopters.  The RAN felt that the duties required of the Wiriwiri were well suited to a two seat aircraft, rather than a single seat one.  Equipped with an arrester hook and catapult launching equipment, the Wiriwiri was able to take off from the short runway of the carrier.

The Model

The model is a simple conversion of an Italeri German Marine Tornado IDS, which I have added an arrester hook and catapult stays.   In addition, I have added two Harpoon anti-ship missiles, carried under the fuselage (from the Airfix RAF weapons set).  The model was painted with Tamiya and Vallejo paints using a hairy stick.  The markings came from the spares box.

Very interesting!

More evidence that everything looks good with Roos!   Very nice!! 

Very good.

Rick Lowe:
Another 'Shoulda Been!'  :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

She looks quite nice in the lighter grey.


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