Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow Picture

Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow

Period: Postwar (1945-1959)
Uses: Interceptor
First Flight: March 25, 1958
Wing Span: 15.2 m (50 ft )
Length: 26.1 m (85 ft 6 in)
Height: 6.5 m (21 ft 3 in)
Weight, Empty: 19,935 kg (43,960 lb)
Weight, Gross: 28,319 kg (62,431 lb)
Cruising Speed: 1,128 km/h (701 mph)
Max Speed: 2,453 km/h (1,524 mph)
Rate of Climb: 15,240 m (50,000 ft) / 4 min 24 sec
Service Ceiling: 17,830 m (58,500 ft)
Range: 1,330 km (820 mi)
Crew: two
Power Plant: two Orenda Iroquois axial flow turbojet engines, 11,791 kg (26,000 lb) static thrust, with afterburner

Intended to replace the Avro Canada CF-100, the CF-105 Arrow was a technical masterpiece at the forefront of aviation engineering during its time. The Canadian government believed, however, that the manned bomber threat was diminishing and that air defence could be better handled by unmanned BOMARC missiles. The contract was cancelled on February 20, 1959 while test flying was still in progress. By then five Arrows had flown. The government ordered all completed Arrows, related documentation, and equipment destroyed.

Sleek, elegant, and the stuff of mythology, the Avro Arrow is still alive in print and in memory. The Arrow met most of its performance requirements while flying with less powerful engines. One of the Canadian-made Iroquois engine designed for the Arrow was flight-tested attached to the rear fuselage of a Boeing B-47, but never powered the Arrow. At 28 tons, the Arrow was equivalent in weight to its ancient Avro relative, the Lancaster bomber.

The Avro CF-105 Arrow was a delta-wing interceptor aircraft, designed and built by Avro Aircraft Limited in Malton, Ontario, Canada, as the culmination of a design study that began in 1953. Following the start of its flight test program in 1958 (the first five examples were undergoing proving and service evaluation trials) the CF-105 Arrow, and its accompanying Orenda Iroquois jet engine program, were abruptly cancelled in 1959, sparking a long and bitter political debate. Despite never entering full production, the CF-105 Arrow is still the subject of controversy.


Within two months, all aircraft, engines, production tooling and technical data were ordered scrapped. This was partly in response to RCMP fears that a Soviet "mole" had infiltrated Avro, later confirmed to some degree in the Mitrokhin archives. Officially, the reason given for the destruction order from Cabinet and the Chiefs of Staff was to destroy classified and "secret" materials utilized in the Arrow/Iroquois programs.

Along with the five flying test models and production aircraft, blueprints and other materials were destroyed leading to the creation of a piece of Canadian mythology. The rushed destruction incited a number of conspiracy theories alleging American culpability for the Arrow's demise. There remains an enduring but fanciful legend that one of the prototypes was spirited away after the cancellation and remains intact, but there is no evidence to support this. (I wish that we do have one... somewhere...)

Nose section of CF-105 Arrow #206.
Iroquois engine
Continue Reading: The Creation