Avro Arrow 2012-The Plane Truth
A lively discussion ensued Monday on the program after the story of the Avro Arrow, and one company's wish to make it Canada's next stealth fighter. That's right, our NEXT fighter.
Currently Canadians are arguing over purchase of F-35's at a cost of between $16 and $25 billion. Price point is one of the areas of disagreement. If we are going to have an air force of any kind, Canada's current CF-18's will need replacement by 2020. So far the F-35 has been headlining, although plans remain on hold.
BRING BACK THE ARROW?
Apparently back in 2010 a plan to build an updated Arrow was pitched to the Harper government by Boudreau Industries. Julian Fantino, then associate minister for national defence, rejected the plan in a letter. An updated 2012 pitch has the backing of retired Maj.-Gen. Lewis MacKenzie. The idea that Canadian post WWII design and technology is still cutting edge today is a romantic notion, and not without merit.
In the late 40's/early 50's the Soviet Union was building long range bombers capable of carrying nuclear warheads across the Arctic. North America needed an interceptor fighter jet capable of blowing the bombers out of the sky. The Avro Arrow project was born and over the next decade 5 were built, all prototypical but without the Orenda Iroquois engines they had planned to eventually use. A test flight was run in March of 1958 as you will see by the video below.
By 1959 then Prime Minister John Diefenbaker canceled the project and ordered all materials, including aircraft, cut for scrap. The announcement on February 20th of that year was known as “Black Friday” in the aviation industry for many years. Dief had campaigned on reigning in years of Liberal overspending and this was one of the projects he set his sights on. Some say it contributed to his eventual political demise.
A 1996 fictionalized film account called The Arrow starred Dan Aykroyd. A full size replica is on display at the Canadian Air and Space Museum, while the Avro Museum is completing a 60% scale manned flying replica. The legend won't die.
Many of the engineers and experts on the Arrow left to work for NASA. Others continued to be pioneers in the field of aviation. It is not inconceivable that what they envisioned some 60 years ago wouldn't have merit today. A 21st century Avro Arrow? Can you imagine such a thing? Maybe it's worth a closer look. LEAVE COMMENTS.
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