1/48 Revell CA28 Sabre Dingo

Gallery Article by Ulysses Almeida on Nov 5 2019



I came across the drawing of the CA 28 when I was looking at some Dog Sabre pictures. At first, I was very intrigued. I had never heard of such variant. The drawing was part of a forum conversation about an imaginary variant of the Australian CA 27 and contained a mock service history and specifications. This made me want to build this airplane. I'm attaching the text as published in that forum.

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In 1954, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) decided that it needed a new all-weather/night fighter to supplement the new Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) CA-27 Sabres about to enter service. This was especially felt necessary in the North of the country where the 'Wet Season' could make it difficult to intercept aircraft for much of the year. Initially versions of the de Havilland Sea Venom, Douglas F3D Skyknight and/or Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck were considered. These were soon dropped from consideration though when the CAC management proposed an indigenous all weather fighter based on a version of the CA-27. 

Using data provided by North American Aviation contacts on the new F-86D 'Sabre Dog' as well as their own knowledge gained from the development of the CA-27, the CAC engineers soon developed what would eventually become known as the CA-28 'Sabre Dingo'. 

Although very similar to the F-86D, especially in its use of the AN/APG-36 all-weather radar fitted in a radome in the nose; larger fuselage and 24 2.75" Mighty Mouse FFAR rockets in ventral tray, the CA-28 was noticeably different as well. Foremost amongst the differences was its use of two crewmen. This was due to the RAAF's stated preference for a dedicated operator of the radar equipment - especially when operating in severe weather conditions (where the pilot may be totally dedicated to flying the aircraft). The fact that Australia did not possess an established Ground-Controlled Interception (GCI) network also contributed to this choice - interceptors needed to be able to operate largely independent of ground control. In addition to this, the CA-28 kept the more powerful Avon turbojet of its CA-27 siblings (thus avoiding the need for an afterburner as used in the F-86D with obvious fuel savings/range benefits) as well as the dual 30mm Aden cannon. These, when combined with the Mighty Mouse rockets, and latter AIM-9 missiles, made the Sabre Dingo arguably the most heavily armed of all Sabre variants. Later versions sometimes removed the rockets replacing them with an additional pair of missiles.

The first Sabre Dingo flew in February 1956 and the first squadron entered RAAF service in November 1958. Rather than being operated by dedicated units, the aircraft were instead allocated to existing CA-27 squadrons. In this way, they could be operated in an integrated manner allowing 24hr operations in all weather - often the CA-28s were used to provide guidance support to CA-27s.

In 1964, the Sabre Dingo was blooded when one operating from RAAF Butterworth shot down an Indonesian Il-28 Beagle that penetrated Malaysian airspace. During the Vietnam War, a small number were also deployed to RAAF Ubon, in Thailand to provide air defence for United States Air Force attack and bomber aircraft based at Ubon. The aircraft never engaged North Vietnamese aircraft though and were withdrawn in 1968. The last Sabre Dingo was withdrawn from service in 1971. Unlike the CA-27s, none were exported.

Ulysses Almeida

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Photos and text by Ulysses Almeida