The Avro Arrow: Canada’s magnificent achievement

At about the same time the Avro Arrow was abandoned, the British were in the process of watching parts of their own armaments industry go under largely due to American manufacturers undercutting their prices, quite possibly with U.S government help. Missile production was a particular target.

There is little doubt in my mind that the Arrow came to grief as the result of pressure from an American government that saw Canada’s remarkable achievement as a threat to their own aircraft industry; during the Cold War, both the Russians and Americans used arms exports to buy influence and standing with non-aligned nations.

Jeff Goodall.

Avro Arrow’s short-lived flight 

Toronto Sun

Mike Filey: February 20th, 2011 

Today marks the 52nd anniversary of “Black Friday,” the day in 1959 that the federal government under Prime Minister John Diefenbaker put an end to one of Canada’s greatest achievements in the field of aviation, the untouchable (for the day) Avro Arrow. And while the aircraft’s fans and critics continue to debate whether the sudden and unexpected demise of the Arrow was in the nation’s best interest, it’s quite likely that this debate will never be resolved.

The Avro Arrow was seen as the replacement aircraft for the RCAF’s CF-100 jet fighter. It had been developed in the late 1940s by the talented staff at the Avro Canada plant located adjacent to what was then known as Malton Airport and today as Toronto Pearson International Airport.

The twin-engine CF-100 first flew in early 1950 and for many years cruised the skies above Canada protecting us and our American allies against attack by hordes of manned bombers of the mighty Russian air force. Though such attacks never materialized, one only had to have lived through the times to understand how important this aerial protection was in keeping our free world free.

As the possibility of nuclear war heated up, it soon became obvious that a much improved interceptor would be necessary. Thanks to the technical expertise available within Avro Canada’s workforce, a revolutionary new interceptor was born. With flying characteristics that exceeded anything produced thus far by any of the other allied nations, the new CF-105 Avro Arrow was described by many in the know as the world’s best.

But it was costly, too costly many believed for a small nation like Canada. Attempts were made to have other countries add the Arrow to their military arsenal. That would bring the cost per aircraft down. But no allied air force was interested. And then there was the question of missiles roaring through space to intercept the intruders. Would these unmanned missiles do the job better than the Arrow? And do it faster? And cheaper? Were manned aircraft obsolete? And would space be the next battlefield?

As if to emphasize this last point the world’s first space satellite, something called “Sputnik,” developed by our sworn enemies the Russians, went into low earth orbit on Oct. 4, 1957, the same day that the first Avro Arrow emerged from its top secret hanger. Arrow RL201 would make its maiden flight on March 25, 1958, with the legendary test pilot, Jan Zurakowski at the controls. The first Arrow was followed by four more, all of which pushed the revolutionary aircraft’s flying characteristics higher and higher.

Then came Friday, Feb. 20, 1959. With virtually no warning, the PA system in the AVRO factory blared out ordering all staff to put their tools down and clear all buildings … immediately. Work on the Arrow project came to a standstill. Quickly, all five Arrows, as well as those in various stages of completion, along with all special tools, diagrams, manuals, were destroyed. The Avro Arrow dream was over. A good move by the government? Or was it? They’ll be arguing this for years to come.

By the way, to get a real sense of what the Arrow looked like and learn just what many believed it was capable of achieving, be sure to see the full-size Arrow replica and talk to the knowledgeable people at the Canadian Air and Space Museum (casmuseum.org) at Toronto’s Downsview Park.

See original here.