Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow


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Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow

For the Canadian aviation industry, and for Avro Canada in particular, the traumatic story of the Avro Canada CF-105 was paralleled by that of the contemporary British Aircraft Corporation TSR.2 in the UK. Both were destroyed by politicians who,.in 1957, were convinced that missile technology had advanced to a stage when manned interceptor aircraft would no longer be needed. The first stages of development of a new two-seat all-weather long-range interceptor for the RCAF began in early 1953, at the time when the RCAF was busy forming its first CF-100 squadron. This was not an action that represented dissatisfaction with the capability of the CF-100, but showed an appreciation of the fact that something like a decade was needed to get a new high-performance interceptor/weapons-system into squadron service. Avro's design team tackled the new and demanding task with great enthusiasm, with the result that by April 1954 the company was involved in the manufacture of the first five Arrow 1 prototypes. The name derived from the aircraft's delta wing, set high on the fuselage. This had a sharp needle-nose, widening just aft of the cockpit, where intakes on each side of the fuselage fed air to two turbojet engines mounted side by side within the fuselage. The Arrow 1s were powered by two Pratt & Whitney J75s, but it was intended that the following Arrow 2s would have engines of indigenous design and manufacture, in the form of PS-13 Iroquois turbojets, developed by Avro's Orenda engine division, each of which promised a thrust of 12700kg with maximum reheat.

The first of the Arrow 1 prototypes made its maiden flight on 25 March 1958, and all five of this version were being used for development and testing when the entire programme was cancelled on 20 February 1959. A final bitter edict was to ensure destruction of the five Arrow 1s, one unflown Arrow 2, and four almost complete Arrow 2s. Armament of this latter version was to have comprised eight Sparrow air-to-air missiles carried in an internal weapons bay.


© The projected follow-on Mk 3 was to be fitted with Iroquois 3 engines, new intakes and nozzles.

© No fewer than 16 wind-tunnel models were used during the final design stages.

© The two underfuselage speed brakes could be held open during Mach 1 flights.

© The CF-105's advanced hydraulic system remained unique until the Rockwell B-1A strategic bomber was flown in 1974.

© For servicing, the Mk 2's engines could be slid out on special rails.

© A B-47 with a rear-mounted nacelle was used to test the Orenda Iroquois engine.

Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow on YOUTUBE

Avro Canada CF-105 ArrowA three-view drawing (1680 x 1257)

 ENGINE2 x turbo-jet Pratt & Whitney J75-P-3, 104.5kN
  Take-off weight25855 kg57001 lb
  Empty weight22244 kg49040 lb
  Wingspan15.24 m50 ft 0 in
  Length23.72 m78 ft 10 in
  Height6.48 m21 ft 3 in
  Wing area113.8 m21224.93 sq ft
  Max. speed2.3M 2.3M
 ARMAMENT8 x AA "Sparrow"

Comments1-20 21-40 41-60 61-80 81-100 101-120 121-140
Mike Craine, e-mail, 26.11.2016 05:50

I actually saw it fly, did any of you? Canadian National Exhibition, can't remember the year but it must have been the year it was destroyed or the year after. It was a treat, something I haven't forgotten all these years later.


Paul Scott, 28.03.2015 20:43

Outstanding aircraft for its day, sadly, as has been said, the patriotism of Canada's own government leaves a lot to be desired as it did for Britain's military aero industry.


Susan, e-mail, 24.01.2015 02:34

I forgot to say I really appreciate the discussion here.

Dad has been gone since 2002 before I could get access to a lot of the declassified military documents that explained his work.

I followed the subsonic to supersonic aircraft body designs and you can see how they evolved into Nasa's Space shuttle and now the attempts to design a passenger aircraft that can exit and reenter the atmosphere.

When I visited my cousin at the Abbotsford air show, it Pratt and Whitney's first commercial display at that particular show. I turned to the men opposite him and asked them if any one them were familiar with the Blackbird. They told me after they were laid off from the Avro Arrow project they went to work on the Blackbird.

I used to have the Arrow, Blackbird and a third such aircraft, detailed engineering specs on posters on the walls of my office.

In my work I visited the Jet Propulsion Lab in San Francisco, and got to see all the experimental aircraft and saw a U2 take off. It was very interesting.



Susan, e-mail, 24.01.2015 02:22

In 1952 my family was posted to Wright Patterson AFB Dayton Ohio from Victoria BC with the RCAF

My father, a lawyer and Supply Officer, purchased the first engines for the Avro Arrow after watching them being tested at Wright Patterson. We were later posted to JAG HQ Ottawa.

At the same time a cousin was sales engineer for Pratt and Whitney engines who supplied the final engines as I recall.
I saw the remnants of one in Ottawa in the National Science museum in 1984.

Later when I met my husband, it turned out his father was leader of engine design for Canadair, such engines as the Sabre. His Dad led a group of Polish engineers in engine design. When WWII broke out they escaped to England and then Montreal where we benefited from their expertise. A declassified Nato document confirms Poland had the leading engineering university for aircraft engine design before WWII. I gave the Nato document to my husband who also was an engineer.

Dad would not talk about the cancellation of the Avro Arrow but I recognized a similarity in the USAF Dart and met former RCAF brats at Comox AFB museum who saw the Dart land when they were stationed in Quebec. The USAF Dart had the longest flying service of any USAF aircraft before being used for drone target practice. Says a lot about what we designed.
Former RCAF brat


Pete Lancashire, e-mail, 06.01.2015 21:23

Just saying hello. Father was a mechanical /structural engineer for Avro Canada and worked on Arrow from its conception to Black Friday. About the only thing I remember is a comment about how the way it was canceled killed the future of Canada's aviation industry.


Hakizumukiza théogène, e-mail, 07.12.2014 09:14

I do agrre that an economy version Arrow design should have been built cost plus contracts require the highest degree of good faith by both parties of the shelf. Would have saved the Arrow project. Hey reg! Why were n't you post my review of Amazing grace?.


BHH, 06.09.2014 08:19

Tragedies like the Arrow and TSR.2 happen in America too! They have names like XB-70 and Boeing 2707. Maybe in Canada, it's easy to assume that the nearest superpower is responsible for all the bad stuff that happens to your country's industry, but the government is always the same whether it's Canada, U.S., or U.K.. :(


Ed Sanford, e-mail, 13.12.2013 08:52

And have you noticed how similar the Mig-25 is? Manufacturing espionage, says I...


Stephen Round, e-mail, 17.10.2013 23:46

You cry over one aircraft company going west - whilst I mourn the total irrevocable loss of whole industies...Just an Englishman


rsaretsky, e-mail, 31.03.2020 14:20

Tom Dyer, elma.dyer=sbcglobal.net, 08.10.2011
One thing this Yank doesn't understand, was WHY were the airframes destroyed? None kept as research airframes. The Delta Dart carries wing tanks that are supersonic rated. This mod would have given the Arrow more range, obviously. Also, and this is for the conspiricy buffs, have you noticed how the Arrow and F-108A Rapier (also cancelled) look eerily the same?

+ ++

apparently, the Airframes were chopped due to fears that soviet intelligence might copy the titanium machining techniques.

the Legend of the Riving dief came form the fertile mind of one Michael sharp in 1961. The Liberals had been reduced to 43 federal ridings in 1958 and the Brilliant Mr. Sharp was leading the think tanks on how to get the Gov. back.


Reg Saretsky, e-mail, 07.10.2013 06:26

Hmmm.. Nice to return to this site &see that the insult fest Is over.
Fred Savage 's comments make a lot of sense. the Arrow was designed for a world that 'bypassed it'. there were no hordes of Soviet fanatics detected at last minute, requiring a 'eight nuke missile salvo."
Rather ,there were tu-95 turbo props lurking in the North, which required the 750,000.00 Cf-101 voodoo to deter and steer away. Not the twelve million dollar( 1961 figures) Avro arrow, or 120 million dollars in todays money.

Delta wind aircraft have inherent limitations as fighter craft, something the Soviets found out the hard way with the Mig 21. The arrow post the Red hordes scare really didn't have a market.

It was actually a great design for a limited role last minute launch , fast climb, big nuke in the sky show. But for air to air combat?
Physics rules, folks.


Joe, e-mail, 05.07.2013 04:54

I've made or gave my two cents on the Arrow so now I am looking at the why for this F35 and came to one conclusion, that it has to do with tactical support for all JSF to be on the same page in any conflict that may happen in the future. It would be one plane and pilots as well as ground crews can fly and maintain anyother country in such a conflict, rather then deploying seperate crews and maintance fuel, parts. It may work though the type of conflicts favor the gorilla tactics so far and seems to continue for years.If it is to build an aircraft suited for our defence only then another plane can be considered, whether the Arrow can compete is another question and that's where the dream starts to raise it's head.The design Joe Green has showen is some plane and great to see how people can still put their ideas forward.I hope for all who will fly and maintain the F35 have more good days than bad.


Ed Majden, e-mail, 08.05.2013 20:01

Had AVRO been a Quebec Company the Arrow would have survived. Under our policies now we buy U.S. cast-offs, junk, and current promotions that they need help with. If little Sweden can build top line fighters, why the hell can't Canada.
Oh, I know, we don't have enemies and everyone loves us! Many Canadians still think we can build up our military if war starts as we did in WW11. They don't realize it takes years to build a good aircraft and years to train pilots to fly them. Modern aircraft are not simple fighter as used during WW11 and pilots were put in them with few flying hours under their belts. Time to wake up Canada, or learn how to speak Chinese!!!


Michael Craine, e-mail, 31.01.2021 Ed Majden

The best thing that could ever happen for the world would be to have ALL militaries destroyed at the same time. Think of the resources that could be allocated to more useful activities like medical research or infrastructure development.


Susan Baker Oberman, e-mail, 23.04.2013 06:50

My father Deremot O'S Baker was doing a story as news editor of the montreal star when the project was considered to be scratched by Diefenbakers govt. It broke my dad's heart, after all the work to see its demise!
Sue Baker (St. Louis MO. formerly of Montreal, Que.


Joe MacQueen, e-mail, 27.11.2012 08:50

This plane flew, as to the purpose that is unclear whether it did all what is written I don't know and realy don't care for what matter's is we lost an industry that employed people that would have shown the next generation how to build the aircraft that we are now complaining about as we did with the Arrow and keep on putting it down.It's odd that some other country like Sweden or Europe, Russia,USA,France and even China all can build a fighter jet but Canada can't and appear's it never could I find that just a tad much. The only people I would consider knowledgeable about this plane are the pilot's who flew it everyone else had other motives to deal with. They could have redsigned the CF 100 and gave it a swept back wing or delta look who knows.To me it was the industry not just a plane.I'm not against any plane Canada built, though what the RCAF want today is a promotional tool for recruitment they need pilot's though 30 or 65 F35's are looking a bit weak.Doing a refit on the Arrow is a pipe dream as the people of Canada aren't ready to get back in that businees and the government know's that.


Joe MacQueen, e-mail, 21.10.2012 06:23

Like so many I know nothing as this topic requires knowledge in the field of aeronatic's which I doubt most have yet give opinion's based on what.I look at the Arrow a biase Canadian and like so many think of what might have been but that's it as we are looking once again to buy americian our thought's will never take flight reguarding Canadian built plane's (fighter jets )our air force is too small for one reason and those of higher rank would have no future in supporting such an idea.Politic's rule away's have.


Ed Majden, e-mail, 30.09.2012 04:00

Why would they design an interceptor with such poor range? The F106, F101, F104, all had better range.


Michael Craine, e-mail, 31.01.2021 Ed Majden

Those planes were still in development stages and that is probably why te USA wanted the Arrow destroyed.


Dennis Campbell, e-mail, 08.07.2012 13:33

(I have heard that the Concorde program was close to being cancelled a few years later, until they hired some of the ex-AVRO engineers who had already solved their major problem of how to get strong enough gear into a skinny wing! And I also heard that 25% or more of the NASA engineers had an AVRO background also.)

Anyway, my six bits worth; I believe vision-less politicians, hide-bound military dinks, AND appalling project management at AVRO, killed what might have been a world-class aeronautical industry in Canada, (and it was brutally done.) I don't know the background on why they didn't get foreign sales to offset the frightening cost, but that would seem to have been the only way to continue.


Dennis Campbell, e-mail, 08.07.2012 13:30

What the J58 engine does is, it routes more and more air from the intake
(the space just behind the spike, in front of the spinning compressor
blades) into big bypass pipes that go around the engine's spinning parts and
take the air straight to the afterburner. The air in the intake is already
more than hot enough to burn fuel, so you don't need spinny parts at all at
that speed. Even at subsonic speeds, a good intake can heat the air up
enough to burn fuel without a compressor's help. That's called a ramjet. The
problem is, a ramjet doesn't work at all until you get to that speed; until
you're going fast enough that just slowing the air down in the intake gets
the air hot enough to burn fuel. So you need a spinning compressor - and a
turbine to power it - in order to take off and get up to speed.

So the Blackbird takes off with its engine working just like any fighter jet
engine. But as it goes faster and faster, and the air in the intake gets
hotter and hotter, so less and less of that air goes through the spinning
"core" of the engine (and less fuel is burned in the combustor) and more and
more of that air goes around the core and into the afterburner (where more
and more fuel is burned). By the time you get to MACH 3, the spinning core
of the engine is basically just sitting there and wind milling around,
burning little or no fuel... and the afterburner is getting almost all the
air and generating almost all the thrust.

Each J58 engine in a Blackbird are like a turbojet sitting inside a ramjet.
At first, the turbojet does almost all the work. As the Blackbird
accelerates, the turbojet is fed less and less fuel, until it's basically
just dead weight, a useless lump of spinning metal sitting in the middle of
a ramjet. You needed the turbo machinery in order to get to supersonic
speeds, but once you're at MACH 3, you route your air around it."

So they obviously would have had to re-design the engine to get much faster than about M 2.5 or so.

Anyway, besides that fact that the project engineer for the Arrow was an asshole and severely pissed off a country bumpkin Prime Minister, it appears from what I read that the weapons system was the REAL problem with the aircraft; never having been done before it was becoming hideously expensive to develop, and putting production way behind schedule and way over budget.
So whether Diefenbugger was directly responsible or not, and the extent to which the Chiefs of Defense were afraid of spending that kind of money, (almost the entire defence budget!) and whether they were reluctant to sell to the many allied nations that had offered to buy the aircraft even before it was built… I'm guessing that there were several factors that went into the decision to scrap the program. (And I'm also betting the order to cut up and destroy everything was childish pique, and a way of ensuring that it STAYED scrapped. )

Given the degree of help that the Americans provided for the entire project, engines, wind tunnels, test-bed aircraft, and even an agreement to use the USAF base at Minot N Dakota for staging flights to Cold Lake; and given the fact that I believe they would have welcomed some help in defending North America, I don't think they did pressure Diefenbugger to cancel the program. Yes, many of their military would have been jealous of the capabilities of the aircraft, (just as they were jealous of the capabilities of the P-3 Orion we bought and modified to far superior capabilities with Canadian avionics for the Aurora sub-hunting program - which I had a small part in-) But I think the decision to cancel was all Canadian.


Dennis Campbell, e-mail, 08.07.2012 13:27

The COMBAT radius is listed as 408 miles; compares to the Foxbat, and had a 44,500 fpm climb rate, not matched by anything else for at least another 15 years!

So Gordon, you're right; with only 7000 lbw of fuel, the Mk2 would have had a power-to-weight ratio of greater than one. (Again, not matched by any western aircraft. (The Foxbat, five years later, could put in 7000 lb and do the same.)

(The Mk2 was projected to easily reach M 2.0, ("… it was estimated that it had a high chance of beating the world speed and altitude records held at that time by the United States.") At the time of scrapping a MK3 was on the drawing board that they planned to reach M 3.

But Murray, the skin friction is not a limiting factor until you get above M 2.5; rather the problem is that the pressure rise of the air entering the turbo-jet engine heats the air too hot. Here's a beautiful explanation of the SR-71 Blackbird's engine that illustrates my point;

"What the front half of a jet engine (the intake /diffuser, and the compressor
blades, i.e. all the stuff that happens before fuel is burned) does is; it
heats up the air until it's hot enough for fuel to ignite. First, the
intake /diffuser slows the air down, which raises its pressure, which raises
its temperature. The faster you're going, the more of a temperature rise you
get just from slowing the air down as it enters the big hole in the front of
the engine (because the air has more speed, and more energy, to convert to
heat). Then the air goes through those spinning blades that compress it (and
thus heat it) further, until it's hot enough to burn fuel. THEN, you burn
fuel, which gets the air (now with fuel and exhaust mixed in) to the hottest
temperature anywhere in the airplane. Nw we enter the rear half of the
engine. The air - at its peak temperature - goes through the turbine, which
is a bunch of blades that act like a windmill and absorb some of that energy
in order to spin the compressor. The amount of fuel you can burn in the
combustor (or, rather, the rate at which you burn fuel) is therefore limited
by your turbine's materials: The more fuel you burn (per unit time), the
hotter the turbine air becomes, so you can only burn fuel so fast before you
melt your turbine. Once your turbine temperature is as hot as it can
sustain, the only way you could burn more fuel (to get more thrust) is if
you had a bigger engine. (Or by burning fuel in the tailpipe - the
afterburner - which does not have melt able spinny parts in the middle). So
you make your turbine out of the highest-melting-point materials known to
man, and that determines how much fuel you can burn and how much thrust you
can get. (All this is true about every jet engine since the Nazis and
Whittle started experimenting with jet engines in the 1930s). But remember
that the faster you go, the hotter the air becomes just by going into the
big hole at the front. That means that, if your turbine is at the hottest
temperature it can sustain, then you're at your top speed: if you go any
faster, you won't be able to burn as much fuel in the combustor before you
exceed your turbine's critical temperature. By the time you get to MACH 3,
the air in the engine intake is already hot enough to start melting turbo
machinery. You can't burn almost ANY fuel in the combustor, or your engine
melts. This is why a conventional jet engine (read: any jet in the world
other than the Blackbird or ramjets like the D-21, X-43, X-51, etc.) just
can't get you past MACH 3.


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