Did Canada plan another supersonic fighter program concurrent with Avro's Arrow?

TinWing

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Roger Franklin said:
The company (Canadair) even tried its hand in the most demanding field of aeronautical engineering and researched a bid to produce a wholly Canadian supersonic jet fighter. That effort, together with a rival project mounted by Avro, was abandoned only in 1959, when Ottawa decided that Lockheed's controversial F-104 represented better value for money.

Source: The Defender: The Story of General Dynamics, by Roger Franklin. Harper & Row, 1986.

Is there any truth in this statement?

The Avro Arrow program was replaced by a combination of Bomarc missiles and used F-101 interceptors.

Was Canada in the early stages of a second supersonic fighter program when the cancellation of the Avro Arrow occured in 1959?

Indeed, I have to wonder if the 1959 cancellation of the Avro Arrow a single isolated event or part of a broader defense review of the sort that occured in the UK in 1957 and 1964?
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Re: Did Canada plan another supersonic fighter program concurrent with Avro's Ar

I imagine Canadair might have submitted a rival bid to the Arrow. I doubt there were two programs going at once.
 

elmayerle

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I don't know about Canadair, but Avro had also studied a single-engined supersonic fighter under the CF-104 designation.
 

Antonio

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There is a comprehensive CF-105 origins article from Tony Buttler.

"Arrow Secrets. Items from the History of Canada's most famous fighter". Air Enthusiast Setember/October 2000 No89. Pg 34 to 43.

Project CF-104 started in July 1950 as an all weather fighter. The program CF-105 evolved from a redesigned CF-104/2.


I have found no references to other studies for the CF-100 replacement. (CF-103 was only a developed CF-100 not a replacement).


Other Sources:

Canadian Aircraft since 1909. KM Molson and HA Taylor. ISBN 0-920002-11-0

AVRO Aircraft & Cold War Aviation. Randall Whitcomb. ISBN 1-55125-082-9
 

Kim Margosein

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Yes, the Arrow was replaced by Bomarcs and Voodoos.
There is almost a cult built around the Arrow, in fact CBC did a docudrama starring Dan Akroyd about 9 or 10 years ago.

What you must understand is in a sense the Arrow was almost too technically advanced. Despite the propaganda, there was no real hope for export sales. The R&D for developing a new engine, airframe, and weapons system was extremely costly, something the US could barely pull off. The project was absorbing more and more of the defense budget, with end in sight. Granted, there were a few flights. However, the flight test program barely started, and I could guarantee you there would be costly delays.
Compare to a rough contemporary, the B-58. The US could afford an over-budget hangar queen, Canada could not.

Kim M
 

riggerrob

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AVRO Canada tried to develop too many new technologies simultaneously: supersonic airframe, 5,000 psi hydraulics, Orenda engines, new missiles and a new fire control system.
The Orenda engine project required borrowing a B-47 bomber (from the USAF) for high altitude tests.
After wasting money on the Brador hydrofoil, the Royal Canadian Navy was grudgingly re- focussing their efforts on ASW.
After wasting money on the Bobcat armoured personnel carrier, the Canadian Army was struggling to replace all it's WW2-vintage equipment.
All the while the Canadian defence budget was shrinking.
No wonder the AVRO Arrow got cancelled.
 

hesham

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riggerrob said:
AVRO Canada tried to develop too many new technologies simultaneously: supersonic airframe, 5,000 psi hydraulics, Orenda engines, new missiles and a new fire control system.
The Orenda engine project required borrowing a B-47 bomber (from the USAF) for high altitude tests.
After wasting money on the Brador hydrofoil, the Royal Canadian Navy was grudgingly re- focussing their efforts on ASW.
After wasting money on the Bobcat armoured personnel carrier, the Canadian Army was struggling to replace all it's WW2-vintage equipment.
All the while the Canadian defence budget was shrinking.
No wonder the AVRO Arrow got cancelled.


Nice Info Riggerrob.
 

Avimimus

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TinWing said:
Was Canada in the early stages of a second supersonic fighter program when the cancellation of the Avro Arrow occured in 1959?

Avro had started preliminary design work for Mach 3, Mach 4-5, and extremely long-range variants. I believe some of these made it to the wind-tunnel phase.


TinWing said:
Indeed, I have to wonder if the 1959 cancellation of the Avro Arrow a single isolated event or part of a broader defense review of the sort that occured in the UK in 1957 and 1964?


Definitely. It was also related to a similar phenomenon in the Soviet Union which lead to a wave of cancellations there... the development of effective ballistic missiles. First, ballistic missiles couldn't be intercepted. Second, maintenance and support costs for a missile detachment are very low compared to what is required for a bombers squadron. Finally, the development of surface-to-air missiles seemed to make manned interceptors less important.

Of course, within a decade it was clear that guidance systems were still quite poor and conventional warfare wasn't obsolete.


riggerrob said:
AVRO Canada tried to develop too many new technologies simultaneously: supersonic airframe, 5,000 psi hydraulics, Orenda engines, new missiles and a new fire control system.
The Orenda engine project required borrowing a B-47 bomber (from the USAF) for high altitude tests.
After wasting money on the Brador hydrofoil, the Royal Canadian Navy was grudgingly re- focussing their efforts on ASW.
After wasting money on the Bobcat armoured personnel carrier, the Canadian Army was struggling to replace all it's WW2-vintage equipment.
All the while the Canadian defence budget was shrinking.
No wonder the AVRO Arrow got cancelled.
Kim Margosein said:
There is almost a cult built around the Arrow, in fact CBC did a docudrama starring Dan Akroyd about 9 or 10 years ago. What you must understand is in a sense the Arrow was almost too technically advanced. Despite the propaganda, there was no real hope for export sales.


This is in a sense, a major reason for the cult.

Coming out of the Second World War Canada had world's fourth largest navy despite its small population. There was a sort-of over enthusiasm about our potential for economic development and military capability. We'd built improved versions of the Sabre fighter and the CF-100. A lot of people really believed that we could build and develop new technologies and export them across NATO countries. Free markets & all.

The end of these R&D programs was the beginning of disillusionment. Other countries (mainly the U.S., but also France and the U.K.) would be able to purchase domestically and we would be put in a position of buying foreign products with minimal manufacturing on Canadian soil.

The fact that the government ordered the destruction of the prototypes (none kept for museums) and the dismantling of the various sub-programs (e.g. the Orenda engine program) gave the lingering impression that our government deliberately dismantled the high-end of our aviation industry (presumably under pressure from other governments and/or foreign aviation firms).
 

Avimimus

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A bit more information is here: http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,729.0/all.html

Avro Canada was also working on a space threshold vehicle and the tailless hypersonic programs... as well as an SST feasibility study during this period... so their other R&D projections make the high speed Arrow look rather pedestrian :)
 

Rickshaw

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riggerrob said:
AVRO Canada tried to develop too many new technologies simultaneously: supersonic airframe, 5,000 psi hydraulics, Orenda engines, new missiles and a new fire control system.
The Orenda engine project required borrowing a B-47 bomber (from the USAF) for high altitude tests.
After wasting money on the Brador hydrofoil, the Royal Canadian Navy was grudgingly re- focussing their efforts on ASW.
After wasting money on the Bobcat armoured personnel carrier, the Canadian Army was struggling to replace all it's WW2-vintage equipment.
All the while the Canadian defence budget was shrinking.
No wonder the AVRO Arrow got cancelled.

Brador Hydrofoil programme didn't really get started until well after the CF-105 had been terminated and was by de Havilland of Canada rather than Canadair.
 

Grey Havoc

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Also, development of the Arrow with all its sunk costs was actually nearly complete by the time of it's cancellation, so the argument of saving money doesn't hold any water at all.

A few other points:

The CIM-10A/B (IM-99A/B) was originally intended to be used alongside the CF-105 Arrow. However a new Canadian defence minister, one George Pearkes, decided that nuclear armed interceptor missiles [CIM-10B] made manned interceptors unnecessary and that the CF-100 Canuck would be able to fill the gap in the interim. His ultimate goal seems to have been the abolition of the RCAF altogether (something which occurred in 1968 under a different government though manned combat aircraft remained). While Pearkes might have honestly been in error (albeit catastrophically) the same could not be said for his boss, a certain Mr. Diefenbaker (a right piece of work and no mistake).

Both however were to be hoist on their own petards not too long after scrapping the Arrow; Pearkes resigning from politics in 1960, in part over Diefenbaker's decision in the same year to open discussions with the United States on procuring the CF-101 Voodoo (a not particularly effective stopgap); Diefenbaker in the 1963 'Bomarc Missile Crisis'.

Ironically the CIM-10 missiles along with their USAF counterparts were to be prematurely retired without any replacement thanks to Robert McNamara's own insane policies, so Canada was much the poorer for the whole sorry cancellation saga, financially, militarily and industrially, with absolutely nothing to show for it. All because of blind stupidity and corruption you could say.
 

Avimimus

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Grey Havoc is right about the projected having reached small-batch production and being essentially done.

I ran my earlier analysis by my father - who lived during the early post-war era in Canada's industrial heartland. He agrees that there was a naive belief in Canada that we would be able to export weapons during the Cold War within NATO (belief in a free-market if you will). Similar to how Americans adopted the Merlin engine during WWII or the adoption of the B-57 Canberra in Korea etc.

So, the Iroquois engine and the Arrow are a deeply seated wound in Canada's sense of its place in the world.

More generally speaking - it is interesting that the Canadian army continued to participate in state of the art R&D efforts - for instance helping fund and then being one of the few countries to deploy ADATS and developing the MMEV (http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,7291.msg63136.html#msg63136). We're a wealthy country with a lot of technical know-how ...but our aviation industry never recovered.

This is one of the reasons why there is lingering mistrust of political decision makers being influenced by allies over things like what fixed-winged assets t buy. Part of the fight about the JSF today is related to underfunding of STOL transport aircraft, partol, and SAR equipment which has been happening simultaneously. In terms of being able to demonstrate Sovereign control over the arctic and conduct nation-building such capabilities are arguably more important than interceptors (and more likely to be developed in Canada - e.g. Viking Air and Bombardier are two companies which only have rivals in Russian firms when it comes to STOL operations). Most of the rest of the opposition to the JSF is related to the bad experiences with single-engined designs in the sparsely populated Arctic (the only single engined jets we operated the casualty prone F-86 and F-104).

So, it is really interesting to look at how the psychology around aircraft development is different in different countries.
 

riggerrob

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Avimimus hints at another problem with Canadian defender procurement: the RCN, RCAF and Canadian Army all competing for the same dollar. Defends spending has been shrinking since WW2.
When Pearkes was Chief of Defense Staff, spending shifted towards wheeled hardware, meanwhile the RCAF was still magically expected to provide enough airlift.
 

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