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Lost Classics - AVRO Arrow

Enlarge image (will open in a new window) The Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow was, in 1959, one of the most advanced interceptor fighters in the world. Its development began in 1953, as a replacement for the CF-100 Canuck two-seat all-weather fighter which was then just entering service with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). It was a matter of forward-thinking. The CF-100 was not under criticism, but it took years to develop a supersonic interceptor.

By April 1954, after enthusiastic pursuit of design development, the first five Arrow Mk.1 prototypes were in production. The name came from the new aircraft's high-set delta wing on a needle-nosed fuselage. Inlets each side of the tandem cockpit fed two turbojets mounted side by side in the fuselage.

Enlarge image (will open in a new window) Having passed through various design changes since 1953, an order was placed for 37 development and pre-production aircraft in 1957. The first prototype Mk.1 flew on 25th March, 1958. The first five Arrow Mk.1s (RL-201 to RL-205) were powered by Pratt & Whitney J75 engines.It was intended to introduce engines of Canadian design and manufacture from the sixth aircraft, designated Arrow Mk.2. These would have been the PS-13 Iroquois turbojet developed by Orenda. These were rated at 19,250 lb. st (85.63 kN) dry and 26,000 lb. st (115.65 kn) afterburning.

During flight trials, the Mk.1 attained Mach 2.3, and exceeded 1,000 mph (1610 km/h) at 50,000 ft (15,240 m), with the aircraft still climbing.

All five Mk.1s flew before February 1959, and the first Mk.2 was on the point of flying, with aircraft seven to ten nearing completion. The Canadian Prime Minister, Mr. Diefenbaker, announced termination of the project on 20th February, 1959, after an expenditure of some £108M.

Enlarge image (will open in a new window) He stated that Canada would rely mainly on the US-built Bomarc surface-to-air missile which, at the time of tenure, carried sand-filled warheads. (The Bomarc's nuclear warheads were not delivered until late 1963, after which it became operational).

Destruction of all five Arrow Mk.1s, the unflown Mk.2 and the four near-complete aircraft was ordered. Only three years later, Canada found it necessary to obtain from the US the two-seat McDonnell F-101B Voodoo to fill the role for which the Arrow had been designed.

Avro Canada CF-105 data:
Two Pratt & Whitney J75-P-3 turbojets,
each rated at 12,500 lb st (55.6 kN) dry
and 18,500 lb st (82.29 kN) afterburning

49,040 lb (22244 kg)

68,602 lb (31118 kg)

Mach 1.98 1,307 mph (2104 km/h)
at 50,000 ft (15240 m)

607 mph (977 km/h)
at 36,000 ft (10975 m)

410 mls (660 km)
39,000 ft (11887 m) per min. with afterburning

50,000 ft (15240 m)

50 ft 0 in (15.24 m)

LENGTH (excuding probe):
77 ft 9½ in (23.72 m) on first 3 aircraft,
76 ft 9½ in (23.41 m) on last two.

21 ft 3 in (6.48 m)

Not fitted. The armament for the Mk.2
was intended to be eight Sparrow II
medium range AAMs carried in an
internal weapons bay. An external
fuel tank could be fitted.

More CF-105 Arrow links:

The Floyd Avro Arrow Lecture
Avro Arrow book - The Boston Mills Press
Avro Arrow Recovery Canada


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