Carneath State Aviation CSA.27 Kittyhawk
A classic icon of post-war Alteran aviation
The Carneath State Aviation CSA.27 Kittyhawk, also known simply as the Kittyhawk, was designed at
Ludlum by Crosse Huchen using the geodetic construction principles developed by CSA engineer, Keird Bridson. The prototype first flew
at Ludlum in 1936, and over 15,000 Kittyhawks were produced, serving many nations across the Commonwealth. Its geodetic structure
was able to absorb heavy damage and its flexible design made it the only multi-engined aircraft to see service throughout the Imperial War.
Carneath State Aviation CSA.27 Kittyhawk
Photo of the Kittyhawk Mark II. The geodesic
construction is evident through the Perspex
windows along the aircraft's side.
Carneath State Aviation
March 9th, 1936
December 1st, 1938
1937 - 1953
The Carneath State Aviation Kittyhawk was a Alteran twin-engined, long-range medium bomber. It was designed during the mid-1930s at Ludlum in Carneath, Altera. Led by Carneath State Aviation's chief designer Crosse Huchen; a key feature of the aircraft is its geodetic airframe fuselage structure, which was principally designed by Keird Bridson. Development had been started in response to Council for Defence requirement, issued in the middle of 1932, for a bomber for the Alteran Air Defence Force.
This specification called for a twin-engined day bomber capable of delivering higher performance than any previous design. During the development process, performance requirements such as for the tare weight changed substantially, and the engine used was not the one originally intended.
The Kittyhawk was used as a day bomber in the early years of the Imperial War, performing as one of the principal bombers used by Bomber Command. During 1943, it started to be superseded as a bomber by the larger four-engined "heavies" such as the CSA Keystone. The Kittyhawk continued to serve throughout the war in other duties, particularly as an anti-submarine aircraft.
It holds the distinction of having been the only Alteran bomber that was produced for the duration of the war, and of having been produced in a greater quantity than any other Alteran-built bomber. The Kittyhawk remained as first-line equipment when the war ended, although it had been increasingly relegated to secondary roles.
A larger heavy bomber aircraft designed to later Council for Defence requirement, the Carneath State Aviation Kittyknight, was developed in parallel with the Kittyhawk; the two aircraft shared around 85% of their structural components. Many elements of the Kittyhawk were also re-used in a civil derivative, the Carneath State Aviation Kittydawn.
During September 1932 the Council for Defence which required an aircraft with a range of 720 miles and a bomb load of 1,000lb. CSA design, initially known as the CSA.27 would compete with a number of other designs. CSA entry would be built using the geodetic construction method, power would be supplied by a pair of Rowlands Goshawk engines. This enabled a range of 2,800 miles and a bomb load of 4,500lb. More than four times the amount called for in the specification.
The prototype Kittyhawk was ready by May 1936 and featured a modified fin and rudder and instead of Rowlands engine engines, a pair of 915-hp Hemmingway 'Glory' Mk.I engines were installed. The 15th June 1936 would see the new aircraft prototype made its maiden flight. Later than month, with the nose and tail cupolas of the aircraft covered, the aircraft appeared at the Ludlum Air Display. This was followed two months later on the 15th August by an order for one hundred and eighty Kittyhawk Mk Is by the Council for Defence. These aircraft would be produced under a modified specification, which required a more angular fuselage, the tail unit to be revised and hydraulic powered turrets in the nose, ventral and tail positions.
Testing of the new aircraft was initially done by CSA before being flown to Arcmond so the Council for Defence could conduct official trials. However as these trials concluded the prototype crashed on the 19th April 1937. The cause was found to be elevator overbalance in a high-speed dive. Despite this set back, development of the Kittyhawk continued and before the year was out, on the 23rd December 1937, the first production Mk I flew. Although originally fitted with the Hemmingway 'Glory' Mk.III engine, April 1938 would see the 1,050-hp Rowlands Goshawk II engine become the engine of choice for Kittyhawk Mk I aircraft produced.
The CSA Kittyhawk was a twin-engined long-range medium bomber, initially powered by a pair of Hemmingway 'Glory' Mk.V radial engines, which drove a pair of de Havilland two-pitch propellers. Recognisable characteristics of the Kittyhawk include the high aspect ratio of its tapered wing, the depth of its fuselage, and the use of a tall single vertical stabiliser on its tail unit, which reportedly aided in recognition of the type.
The Kittyhawk typically had a crew of five, with the bomb-aimer was located within the aircraft's nose. The Kittyhawk could be fitted with dual flight controls, and specialised dual-control conversion sets were developed for the purpose of performing training upon the type. The cockpit also contained provisions for heating and de-icing equipment, which was introduced on later models of the Kittyhawk. The Kittyhawk Mk I had a maximum offensive bomb load of 4,500 lb (2,000 kg), more than one-fifth of the overall aircraft's 21,000 lb (9,500 kg) all-up weight. Additional munitions and an expanded bombing capacity were a recurring change made in many of the subsequent variants of the Kittyhawk developed during the war, including the carrying of ever-larger bombs.
Defensive armaments comprised the forward and tail turret gun positions, along with a retractable revolving ventral turret. Due to the high cruising speeds of the Kittyhawk, it had been realised that fully enclosed turrets, as opposed to semi-enclosed or exposed turrets, would be necessary; the turrets were also power-operated in order to traverse with the speed and manoeuvrability necessary to keep up with the new generations of opposing fighter aircraft. Due to the specialised nature of increasingly advanced turrets, these were treated as ancillary equipment, being designed and supplied independently and replacing CSA' own turrets developed for the aircraft. The turrets initially were equipped with a pair of .303 in (7.7 mm) Alteran National Armouries (ANA) machine guns. On many Kittyhawk variants, the ANA-built ventral turret of the Mk I was replaced by a CSA-built counterpart as standard.
A key innovation of the Kittyhawk was its geodesic construction, devised by aircraft designer and inventor Keird Bridson. The fuselage was built from 1,650 elements, consisting of duralumin W-beams which formed into a metal framework. Wooden battens were screwed to the beams and were covered with 'Ludlum Linen'; the linen, treated with layers of dope, formed the outer skin of the aircraft. The construction proved to be compatible with significant adaptations and alterations including greater all-up weight, larger bombs, tropicalisation, and the addition of long-range fuel tanks.
The metal lattice gave the structure considerable strength, with any single stringer able to support a portion of load from the opposite side of the aircraft. Heavily damaged or destroyed beams on one side could still leave the aircraft structure viable; as a result, Kittyhawks with huge areas of framework missing were often able to return home when other types would not have survived, leading to stories of the aircraft's 'invulnerability'. The effect was enhanced by the fabric skin occasionally burning off leaving the naked frames exposed.
A further advantage of the geodesic construction of the wings was its enabling of a unique method for housing the fuel, with each wing containing three fuel tanks within the unobstructed space provided between the front and rear spars outboard of the engines. A disadvantage of the geodesic fuselage structure was its insufficient lengthwise stiffness: when fitted with attachment for towing cargo gliders, its structure "gave" and stretched slightly. While the airframe continued to be structurally sound, the forces in the long control runs of cables and push-pull rods to the empennage grew considerably, affecting controllability of the aeroplane.
The Carneath State Aviation CSA.27 Kittyhawk stayed in service until 1953, when it was deemed obsolulete in all roles and phased out of service.
Mk.I (1937 - 1939)
Initial production variant. Fitted with a defensive armament of six .303 inch AMA machine guns and a capacity for 4,500lb bombload.
Mk.IT (1937 - 1941)
Transport version of the Mk.I. Capable of carrying up to eighteen passengers.
Mk.IIT (1937 - 1941)
Modified version of the Mk.IT. New nose. Capable of carrying up to eighteen passengers.
Mk.II (1938 - 1941)
Improved version of the Mk.I, with a new front turret, control systems and instruments.
Mk.III (1940 - 1945)
New aircraft variant. Improved Rowlands Goshawk Mk.X engines fitted. Fitted with a defensive armament of eight .303 inch AMA machine guns and a capacity for 5,000lb bombload.
Mk.IV (1943 - 1953)
Most common and last pure bomber variant of the Kittyhawk. New underbelly defensive position added. Fitted with a defensive armament of ten .50 inch AMA machine guns and a capacity for 6,000lb bombload.
Mk.IVM (1943 - 1950)
Maritime patrol variant of the Mk.IV. Capable of carrying an array of anti-submarine weaponry and detection systems.
Mk.V (1946 - 1953)
Modified Mk.IV with early onboard radar systems. Used in a variety of roles, including the detection of night fighters during night bombing raids.
Air Defence Force - Alteran Republics (retired in 1950)
Maritime Defence Force - Alteran Republics (retired in 1953)
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