Friday, August 24, 2018

The Underwater Recovery Of Test Models Of The Greatest Airplane That Never Was

The Avro Arrow is claimed to be one of the greatest planes that never was.

Built in Canada in the late 50s to counter the Soviet Bomber threat, the CF-105 Avro Arrow has been touted even today as a supersonic interceptor advanced beyond its time and an incredible high performance aircraft.

The plane was rolled out to much fanfare, and carried the hopes and dreams of the Canadian aviation industry.

After prototypes were built, the program was abruptly ended and all flying prototypes and the tooling to build them were quickly and unceremoniously scraped.

Inter-service rivalry (the Canadian Navy and Army argued too much defense funding was going to the Air Force) and cost of the program led to its downfall, along with the cost of adoption the Bomarc/SAGE system. Canadians often claim that there was also US political pressure to cancel the program was for the protection of the US Aircraft industry and led to the cancellation of the program on the unproven assumption that the Arrow was better than any other interceptor of the period.

Quite simply, its hard for small countries with limited defense budgets to develop their own advanced fighter aircraft.

Only replicas of the Arrow currently remain, except for the newly discovered test models of the Arrow that have just been found in Lake Ontario where they were shot during pre-production testing.

CBC: Sunken Avro Arrow model recovered from Lake Ontario

A very neat recovery of a relic from an interesting time in Canadian aviation history. Expect the hunt for more of the models to continue.

The Arrow is still an incredibly emotional subject to Canadians who know about it and The Arrow lives on in the hearts of many Canadians, so much so that the CBC did a mini-series in 1996 on the airplane. There is even a rumor that has circulated that one of the flying prototypes was hidden away by Canadian Air Force personnel and not destroyed. This unrequited love for a plane that never was is so great in Canada that there was actually a serious yet inane proposal to produce the Arrow now in lieu of acquiring US made F35 aircraft.

I just don't see a 1958 design working as the basis for that, and Canada simply cannot afford to build a fifth-generation fighter on its own. It's a rather delusional non-starter, but it certainly pulls at the heart-strings.

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