|Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow
|25 March 1958
|Cancelled (20 February 1959)
|Royal Canadian Air Force
|1957–1959 (design work began in 1953)
|Five. (The sixth aircraft was 93% complete; others were in various states of completion.)
|Avro CF-105 Arrow cutaway
|Cutaway of the Avro CF-105 Arrow by Flight Global.
The Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow, often known simply as the Avro Arrow, was a delta-winged interceptor aircraft designed and built by Avro Canada. The Arrow is considered to have been an advanced technical and aerodynamic achievement for the Canadian aviation industry. The CF-105 (Mark 2) held the promise of near-Mach 2 speeds at altitudes of 50,000 feet (15,000 m) and was intended to serve as the Royal Canadian Air Force's (RCAF) primary interceptor in the 1960s and beyond.
The Arrow was the culmination of a series of design studies begun in 1953 examining improved versions of the Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck. After considerable study, the RCAF selected a dramatically more powerful design, and serious development began in March 1955. The aircraft was intended to be built directly from the production line, skipping the traditional hand-built prototype phase. The first Arrow Mk. I, RL-201, was rolled out to the public on 4 October 1957, the same day as the launch of Sputnik I.
Flight testing began with RL-201 on 25 March 1958, and the design quickly demonstrated excellent handling and overall performance, reaching Mach 1.9 in level flight. Powered by the Pratt & Whitney J75, another three Mk. 1s were completed, RL-202 through -204. The lighter and more powerful Orenda Iroquois engine was soon ready for testing, and the first Mk.II with the Iroquois, RL-206, was ready for taxi testing in preparation for flight and acceptance tests by RCAF pilots by early 1959.
On 20 February 1959, the development of the Arrow (and its Iroquois engines) was abruptly halted before a planned project review had taken place. Two months later, the assembly line, tooling, plans and existing airframes and engines were ordered to be destroyed. The cancellation was the topic of considerable political controversy at the time, and the subsequent destruction of the aircraft in production remains a topic for debate among historians and industry pundits. "This action effectively put Avro out of business and its highly skilled engineering and production personnel scattered...."
In the post-Second World War period, the Soviet Union began developing a capable fleet of long-range bombers with the ability to deliver nuclear weapons across North America and Europe. The main threat was principally from high-speed, high-altitude bombing runs launched from the Soviet Union travelling over the Arctic against military bases and built-up industrial centres in Canada and the United States. To counter this threat, Western countries strenuously undertook the development of interceptors that could engage and destroy these bombers before they reached their targets.