The demise of the Avro CF-105 Arrow and why our Canadian government canceled the “State of the Art” fighter jet.
I think we have to understand the Political Environment at the time and what really happened to the Avro Arrow Program.
image from Wikimedia .org
In 1960, our Prime Minister John Diefenbaker was trying to distance Canada from our neighbors to the south. Our PM thought at the time the United States was getting too pushy and now worried about with the newly elected President John F Kennedy. He thought JFK was an inexperienced rich guy and a bully.
Kennedy was updated on our Prime Minister and thought our PM was boring, a thief and many a time deliberately and in public mispronounced our Prime Minister Diefenbaker’s last name.
Research shows there was a toxic environment between US President Kennedy and Prime Minister Diefenbaker right from the start. There was NO SHORTAGE OF ARTICLES ON THEIR DISLIKE FOR EACH OTHER.
At one of their meetings, Kennedy mistakenly left a “doodle” note behind saying all the things he “wants and expects” Canada to do. Apparently, our Prime minister found the note and called Kennedy on the supposedly left note. Threatening to make contents of the note public, which our PM apparently didn’t. Now, if US President disliked our PM before, now, he really doesn’t like him.
It was called “Rostow Memo”
Now, with the Cuban and the USSR crisis escalating and Canada being “geographically” in a bad situation, our heads of state had to put their differences aside and come up with a plan on how to defend our two nations, they agreed to form NORAD
“ North American Aerospace Defense Command”
globe with missile tracking over Canada
Keep in mind, the story is about our Avro Arrow jet fighter. It was designed solely for that reason to help ward off the threat from anything flying over the North Pole, and over our sovereign territory.
Having agreed to form Norad, the US also wanted these Bomarc Missiles armed with nuke warheads. Again, our prime minister didn’t like being bullied by the US who was still trying to force Canada into having nuclear warheads on Canadian soil, “that was totally out”.
* “A PISSING CONTEST AMONGST LEADERS” … It’s a man thing.
Kennedy would refer to our Prime Minister, “That, WHATEVER HIS NAME IS”! … I guess Kennedy must have forgotten that Canada was between the USSR and the United States and that in fact, they did really need our help. I guess by the US showing their appreciation, the president would slander our PM, deliberately mispronounce his name, and not privately, PUBLICLY.
And behind the scenes, downplaying our State of The Art Jet Fighter that they would no longer be needed in the future conflicts of the world. Missiles are where the future was taking us. But having said that, (they, the US) did not give up their aerospace industry, they just wanted our industry,… gone.
So, as the Avro Arrow was outperforming anything in the sky at that time and capable of doing MACH 2+. It must have turned some heads in other foreign Government agencies. Our contribution to World War 2 in the aviation industry made many skilled workers and talented engineers. They helped and implemented the construction and design of this CF-105 interceptor. It was the pride and envy of Canada aerospace industry.
This whole project was taken on by our government because at the time we needed a high altitude, a supersonic plane that would meet our Canadian environment and commitments to NATO and the newly formed Norad. As the story goes, there was nothing to be bought. The Americans had a Voodoo F101 jet fighter to sell but our political leaders didn’t think it was up to the task.
So, the Canadian Government decided to build our own, to our specifications. And thus came, the CF-105 interceptor.
SO NOW HOPEFULLY I SHOWED THE POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT ON THE AVRO ARROW. As I see it.
THESE ARE THE THINGS THAT ARE A GIVEN
*The Americans wanted and demanded consolations from the Canadian Government during and after the missile crisis
*Former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker wanted to distance Canada from the US and that, was before the noticeable feuding and the demanding President Kennedy, he thought the US as a whole were getting too pushy.
*Avro Arrow was state of the art, and the pride of all Canadians.
*The Americans not endorsing our CF-105 Jet Fighter supposedly put an end to all our aerospace achievements in Canada …… Like any industry, the Avro Aerospace Company needed sales and endorsements of their jet fighter. By our brothers from the south not endorsing or wanting to buy any part of the Avro, put the nail on the project.
* Behind the scenes the US convinced our Canadian Defense Department to abandon the Avro Arrow and not to endorse it because missiles were the way of the future, knowing completely well, they weren’t giving up their industry. It just seemed they wanted ours …gone.
* At the end of the day, our aerospace industry disappeared as we knew it.
*We needed replacement aircraft and in the end, ended up buying surplus Voodoo F101 jet
US Voodoo F101
fighters from the U.S. “The same jets our war department didn’t think we’re to the task”
* Bomarc Missiles were armed with nuclear warheads, on Canadian soil. They turned out to be expensive duds.
* Feb. 20/1959, After John Diefenbaker, being strong-armed into canceling the Avro Arrow and the future of our aerospace industry. Ultimately all our engineers /brains went south to the United States. That on its own, adding insult to injury. I think today they call it a “Canadian BRAIN DRAIN” and maybe that’s how it started.
*Did the US government have influence over the media and that the Avro Arrow was a waste of Canadian tax dollar. And in the end, they published not so pleasant news, putting doubts in the minds of all Canadians that their tax money was being wasted on that old technology. A Supersonic airplane, that was capable of Mach 2+ and that, nobody wanted! (Mach 2 is pretty FAST) Twice the speed of sound.
After the Arrow cancellation, when our Prime Minister ordered everything gone like it never happened and only as the story goes. Foreign Companies were lined up wanting to buy something, anything of the Avro Technology. And you have to wonder, where were our “friends” before?
I can hear our PM John Diefenbaker saying
“IF WE CAN’T HAVE IT, NOBODY’S GETTING IT”.
*So I THINK IN THE END, THAT’S WHY OUR PM wanted everything destroyed.
Even though the same engineers went south and took their knowledge with them and ultimately helped our ”brother” in their NASA program, and we all know, without the Canadian engineers helping the Americans with their projects,
Hell, they still would be working on the first generation jetpack.
He ultimately paid the price “come elections time”.