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.
In 1960, the elected Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker was trying to distance Canada from the neighbors to the south. Canada’s PM thought at the time the United States was getting too pushy and demanding. And now he’s worried about the newly elected President John F Kennedy. He thought JFK was an inexperienced rich guy and a bully.
So as research shows, there was a toxic environment between US President Kennedy and Prime Minister Diefenbaker right from the get-go. There was no shortage of articles on their dislike for each other.
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 best to defend our two nations, these two bulldogs agreed to form NORAD
“North American Aerospace Defense Command”
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, no insisted that these Bomarc Missiles be-armed with nuke warheads. Again, our prime minister didn’t like being bullied by the United States, who was still trying to force Canada into having nuclear warheads on Canadian soil, “that was out,” he said.
* “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 at the time must have forgotten that Canada was between the USSR and the United States and that, in fact, they did need Canada’s help. I guess by the US showing their appreciation; the President would slander our PM, deliberately mispronounce his name because he had German heritage, and he did it not privately, but PUBLICLY.
Behind the scenes and 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 Canada’s industry — gone.
So, as the Avro Arrow was outperforming anything in the sky at that time and capable of doing MACH 2+. It did turn some heads in other foreign Government agencies. Our contribution to World War 2 in the aviation industry made many skilled workers and talented engineers. Everybody knew Canada had talent and technology.
Our overworked engineers that played a vital role in the war effort just a few years before helped to implement the construction and design of this futuristic CF-105 Interceptor. It was the pride and envy of the Canadian aerospace industry.
This whole project was taken on by our government because, at the time, we needed a high altitude and 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 manufacture our own, to our specifications, to our environment. And thus came the CF-105 Interceptor.
SO NOW HOPEFULLY I SHOWED THE TOXIC POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT THE AVRO ARROW WAS CONCEIVED.
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.
* 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 Canada’s …gone.
*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 last nail in the coffin.
* At the end of the day, our Aerospace industry disappeared as we knew it, NEVER TO RETURN in Canada.
*We needed replacement aircraft and in the end, ended up buying surplus Voodoo F101 Jets Fighters from the US “The same jets our war department didn’t think we’re up to the task.”
* After the fall of the Diefenbaker government and new US Friendlier government was in place. Bomarc Missiles were armed with nuclear warheads, “On Canadian soil.” And in the end, as history claims, they turned out to be expensive duds.
Feb. 20/1959, John Diefenbaker after being strong-armed into canceling the Avro Arrow and the future of Canada’s aerospace industry. Ultimately all our engineers /brains on the Avro Project went south to the United States. That on its own, adding insult to injury.
I think today they call it a Canadian ‘BRAIN DRAIN”
Did the US government influence the media and that the Avro Arrow was a waste of Canadian tax dollars. And in the end, they published not-so-pleasant news, putting doubts in the minds of all Canadians. Their tax money was being wasted on, that old technology.
A Supersonic airplane that Canada built, was capable of doing Mach 2+ and, nobody wanted it! (Mach 2 is pretty FAST) That’s twice the speed of sound.
In comparison, the Avro Arrow was the fastest plane flying at the time “short of the US Spy plane” Most did Planes only did MACH 1
After the Arrow cancellation, when our Prime Minister ordered everything gone like it never happened and only as ─ the story goes. Foreign Companies lined up at the door wanting to buy something, anything of the advanced Avro Technology. I have to wonder, where were our NATO “friends” before? “The Demise Of The Avro Arrow”.
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, AND THAT PART, I WOULD UNDERSTAND.
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, the Americans would still be working on the first-generation jetpack.
At the end of the day, there is no real proof that there were outside influences at work, Canada’s Ex-Prime Minister Diefenbaker made the call ─ he alone.
Diefenbaker paid the ultimate price Come elections time.