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CF-105 Arrow documentation

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i have the book "Fall of an Arrow" on pdf ... interestering read!

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Its an absolutly sad story, ok if they had an idea about the financial "deficit" of the 35 program, they would never cry about the costs of this beatifull bird. The strange thing is that they had scrapped nearly everything and kept it secret until today. The Arrow was the most advanced and fastest plane on earth in those days and even some years later. You could hunt even the MiG25 down, but it needed still to be invented to be hunt down.

The US should realy finance that project and put it into service for the USAF.

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The Arrow's story has almost been raised to mythical proportions. As such, some details are overlooked that shouldn't be:


Here are a few books in dead tree editions I have on the Arrow:






There are several others that Amazon doesn't list, including one put out by the 'Arrowheads' themselves.


When one looks at the Arrow program as a whole, with an unbiased view, you come to the following overall conclusion:



The Arrow died due to bad timing...pure and simple.


The various nails in the coffin included:


1) Pushing the envelope in technology. As many other technological programs show, if you are at the bleeding edge, your R&D was going to always be high. The Arrow was a tech pusher...though not in speed as some suggest. The F-4 (which first flew only 2 months after the CF-105) and the F-106A (single engine!) both could match the CF-105 in raw speed. This may have been different for the Mark II, but it wasn't going to be by much. The fly by wire system on the other hand, was innovative (though not the first of its kind either). However, the thing that was eating up funds was not the aerodynamics, or even the engines, but the weapon system. The design was initially designed around the Falcon/Hughes missile/radar combo. But the RCAF wanted the in development MX-1179/Sparrow II combo. Unlike the former combo, which was almost at the production stage, the latter was running into development problems, not having even been tested yet, to the point where the USN abandoned the development in 1956, and Canadair was brought in to take over development. ALL of this cost money, most of which hadn't been budgeted for.


2) Constant design changes and requirements. In addition to the above mentioned changes to the weapons/radar combo, the engine changes had an impact on the development of the Arrow. The original specification called for the use of the Rolls Royce RB106, with a backup of the Wright J67. Unfortunately, BOTH engines were canceled by their respective countries (UK and US)...leaving the Arrow without an engine. Therefore, the J75 was used for the initial aerodynamic models (Mk I), with an Orenda developed TR13 (Iroquois). Of course, all the changes PLUS the cost for the engines development were rolled into the overall R&D cost of the Arrow.


3) Belt tightening. The Canadian, US, and UK governments were all in a period of budget axing in the late 1950s. The UK's 1957 Defence White Paper, the recession in the US in 1958-59, the Diefenbaker's targeting of large government projects (the Arrow, a giant postal "million dollar monster" sorting machine) all added to the atmosphere of shedding projects which were considered to not be cost effective. Regardless of what one thinks, defense budgets are still subject to justifiable cost effectiveness. It isn't a question of good, but if it will be 'good enough'...or enough of an increase in capability to offset the additional cost of development.


4) Missiles. Everyone knows the famous story of the rollout of the Arrow being upstaged by the launch of Sputnik the same day. However, the launch of Sputnik had farther reaching implications. The Russians proved they could launch a satellite in orbit...who knew if a nuclear weapon would be next. Manned interceptors couldn't do dick against a warhead coming in at Mach 25...or so the thinking started to shift. Were manned nuclear bombers a thing of the past? And by extension, manned interceptors?


5) Lack of export partners. Canada had some unique requirements for their interceptor that other countries' aircraft couldn't fulfill to the extent the RCAF wanted (resulting in development of the Arrow in the first place). One was the large, sparsely populated area needing coverage...dictating 2 engines (for redundancy), large size (for fuel capacity), and high speed (for area coverage). However, to get this capability, some areas were minimized. First, I have not found diagrams or documentation anywhere confirming some sort of external hardpoint system. The only thing I have seen was one notational drawing of carrying an external fuel tank on the centerline. There were notes that four 1000 pound bombs could be carried in the weapons bay (part of a 'clip on bay' system), but that part had not been fleshed out by the time the Arrow was canceled. Which made it an aircraft uniquely suited to Canada's requirements...and very few other countries' for the expense involved. All one has to do is think about those requirements and realize Canada's were simply unique, requiring an aircraft that was essentially a unitasker...it could do one thing really well. But one only has to look at the F-4 to see an aircraft that could do a similar mission (although with less range), but with significant flexibility with all the external hardpoints available. It gave 9/10s of what the CF-105 could do, but had additional capability built in. Don't let anyone fool you...external hardpoints are not simply 'tacked on'. If they are supposed to carry a decent amount of ordinance, they have to be designed or redesigned for.


In the end, due to a combination of all these factors, the CF-105 was canceled. Lest you think this was unique to Canada at the time, one only has to look at the cancellation of the F-103, F-108, B-70 programs. All fell victim to various factors.


In hindsight, the reasons for cancellation in the short term were correct. There never ended up being the hordes of Soviet bombers on the horizon. Missiles did end up being the primary delivery system for nuclear weapons, with bombers as a secondary threat. One can argue the need for the long range, high speed interceptor has faded from history, especially as missiles, (including surface to air) continue to improve in capability.


The longer range implications of the cancellation are more unclear. Certainly one can argue the 'brain drain' to the US was significant, especially as how many engineers ended up working for NASA. How much of an impact on the US space program is debatable (just ask Gepard about the German contributions...). Intangibles include things like development of home grown national defense and technology capability, national pride, economic impacts. Realistically, how much could Canada afford of home grown technologies is also debatable. For instance, many of the more advanced drugs Canada buys for its National Health Care System were developed by US companies, with the US footing most of the R&D, allowing Canada to buy at sale prices. Also, legitimate debates have popped up about host Olympics funding verses health care funding in Canada. If your finances are that tight...


So, put away the tinfoil...there are plenty of legitimate (at the time) reasons the Arrow died. You don't need to make up vast conspiracies when the boring truth is much simpler.


One final note.


Those with love for older aircraft often state that "If they only did this, this and this that it could still fly...". Does anyone notice why companies fight so hard to keep production lines open? Or why the most evolved version of the F-5 was basically a new aircraft (F-20) and had to be done by Northrop itself? Or why reverse engineering the F-5E by the Iranians results in an aircraft that really isn't any different other than the twin tails and slightly revised intakes? Or look at the Super Hornet, which essentially is a new aircraft. It wasn't cheap to develop, and still had to be flight tested and certified with the various weapon stores ('toed out' pylons anyone)? And that was from an aircraft that was still in production...not a 50 year old design.


One word: Expense. It is expensive to develop a military combat aircraft. If an Arrow were to be built today, all new jigs and production lines would have to be designed and built. The design would have to be engineered to have external hardpoints, stealth features, increased visibility requirements (note any new fighters NOT having a 'bubble' canopy), and avionic/ergonomic improvements. Who here thinks the resulting design would be an Arrow in name only?



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