ADA-Arrow Cancellation
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Why the Avro Arrow Project was Cancelled!!
Finally the question has been answered!
American tactics relating to Arrow cancellation
based on the research of RL Whitcomb.
Copyright 2004 (Feel free to distribute this, but with
In the 1940s and early 1950s the British
were far ahead of the Americans in jet-engine design. Armstrong
Siddeley Motors, a member of the Hawker Siddeley Group,
produced several axial-flow jet engines which were license-produced
by US manufacturers, especially for US Navy use where they
were probably more British engines flying than American.
The Bristol aircraft company was also, like
Hawker Siddeley and Avro Canada, one of the few manufacturers
producing both engines and aircraft, although they were
forced, by the British government, to abandon aircraft
and concentrate on engines, after the enormous Bristol
Brabazon was cancelled. They too, through the genius of
Stanley Hooker and Charles Grinyer and others, were producing
jet engines and turboprop engines in the early 1950s. Grinyer,
who later came to Avro Gas Turbines/Orenda Engines Ltd.,
was responsible for the successful type-test certification
of 10 engines at Bristol, all on the first attempt. An
unheard of feat. One of the engines he certified was the
Bristol Olympus, a large capacity engine which, in my statistical
analysis, was the second best engine in the world after
the Iroquois, and after Iroquois cancellation, probably
the best high-thrust turbojet in the World until at least
the 1980s. Not a bad run for an engine that first ran in
the early 1950s.
The Americans were very keen on this engine at first, and
had Curtis-Wright embark on developing an afterburning
license-built version of the Olympus. It was slated to
go into a variety of US aircraft at the time, including
the F-106, the XF-103, and, I believe, the F-108.
The interesting thing is, it is “rumoured” that
the J-75 was simply their old J-57 from behind the compressor
to the nozzle, and used, essentially, the J-67 (or Olympus)
compressor section. It seems reasonable to assume that,
if not the original intent, “acquiring” Olympus
technology for American manufacturers became the end result.
Most US sources claim the J-67 was abandoned
in 1955. Yet development of the XF-103, which used the
J-67 and an intriguing bypass ramjet design that at high
speed bypassed the main engine and dumped ram-compressed
air into the afterburner section of the J-67.
Mysterious stuff. One wonders if Avro was
told the engine was cancelled in 1955 was intended to cast
doubt on the Arrow program.
First of all, the Sparrow 2D was an active
guidance weapon, or, in the jargon of our times, a “fire
and forget” missile. This means that it had its own
radar transmitter and could find its way to the target
on its own, without assistance from the launching aircraft’s
radar. The Sparrow 3, which was used and still is used
from about 1960 on, and is the Sparrow most people know,
was not and active-guidance weapon. It required the aircraft’s
radar transmitter to “illuminate” the target,
while the missile’s receiver would pick up the radar
return and home in on the illuminated target. This required
the aircraft to keep pointing its radar at the target,
meaning, generally, the launching aircraft had to keep
closing on the target, potentially exposing it to the target’s
own defensive weapons. In other words, Sparrow 2D was a
far more advanced concept.
In reality, the AMRAAM, which is also based
on the Sparrow missile’s airframe, is identical in
concept and more to the Sparrow 2D – yet the Americans
weren’t able to make it a viable weapon until around
1990! It wasn’t offered to America’s allies
for several years.
So much for background. In the mid 1950s
Raytheon was working on the Sparrow 1, which was similar
to the Sparrow 3 by Douglas, and Douglas was working on
the Sparrow 3 and the Sparrow 2, which obviously were missiles
using different concepts and technology. (They were also
working on the Sparrow X, which had a nuclear warhead.
Canada, however, as late as the time of Arrow cancellation,
stated that no nuclear Sparrow was possible, and thus the
Arrow with the Sparrow 2 would not have a modern, high-potency
weapon. (AMRAAMs in 1960 is not modern?) In fact, in 1957,
if I recall the date correctly (I will check this later),
the Canadians were told by American authorities that no
nuclear air to air weapon would be available until around
1962-63, and was being reserved for the F-108 Rapier. Of
course, the F-106 got the Hughes MB-2 Genie nuclear air
to air weapon long before that date. Was this another ploy
to try to convince the Canadians that the Arrow wasn’t
worth the bother and that Canada should just buy American?
At any rate, AVM Easton, Chief of Operational
requirements (and probably the Arrow’s number one
enemy within the RCAF itself), specified the Sparrow 2
and stuck to his guns to the bitter end, despite that fact
that the miniature, high-speed, digital processing technology
(ie the microchip) required for the Sparrow 2 was far in
the future. Right after this weapon was specified for the
Arrow, the US Navy, who had been developing it with Douglas,
cancelled the Sparrow 2D, probably because they realized
the technology just wasn’t ready.
Easton desperately wanted this weapon, and
went about seeing if Canada could take over the development.
The American authorities encouraged Canada to do so. I
have a document from Jim Floyd’s files describing
their reaction to the decision to “patriate” the
Sparrow 2D development. One should remember that Sparrow
and ASTRA, despite being paid for by Canada, were owned
by the United States. Floyd’s document proves the
US encouraged Canada to take on the weapon, and it seems
clear from this document that Easton and/or the RCAF felt
that the American encouragement meant that the technology
was feasible, and that it was a nice gesture of support
for the Arrow programme and Canada’s defence efforts
generally. Jim Floyd saw it somewhat differently. To paraphrase
what he wrote: “Of course they are encouraging Canada
to develop a new missile for the United States free of
charge.” ASTRA most definitely appears to fit the
same mould.
This programme was even more bizarre.Avro
originally wanted to use the MA-1 system by Hughes, which
the USAF was developing in an enormously expensive effort
to be their “wonder” radar of the 1950s and
1960s. An article in January 2004’s issue of Airpower
shows they were keen to get this radar into a higher capacity
interceptor than the F-106 (it had been slated for the
F-102 but development difficulties made this impossible)
and it had been specified for the XF-103, which was projected
by Republic Aviation to be capable of Mach 4. (However
a USAF technical evaluation said it would only be a Mach
2.5 aircraft, which seemed good enough to them until 1957
when it was cancelled in favour of the LRIX aka F-108,
perhaps because they knew the Arrow 3 would embarrass it?)
Avro quite logically specified the MA-1 system
for the Arrow, and the RCAF seemed to go along with that
until 1956. After consulting with the Americans, Easton
decided that the Arrow should have an extremely sophisticated,
fully transistorized, all-can-do radar that would be integrated
with the navigation system, the flight control system,
have ground mapping capabilities, home on jamming, angle
on jamming, electronic countermeasures, and integrate the
world’s first infra-red detection and targeting system.
It was also to incorporate a radar altimeter, which would
have allowed terrain following and would, with the ground
mapping capability, have given the Arrow serious bombing
capabilities. How Easton became convinced such a system
would be feasible, is a very good question.
Hughes was the leader in radar fire control
systems. The RCAF wanted them to develop ASTRA. Hughes,
for whatever reasons, refused. The USAF suggested they
contract RCA to develop it, partly because, they said,
they wanted a second source for this kind of equipment
to reduce their dependency on Hughes. (They certainly could
have secured a second source by picking up the phone and
calling Westinghouse which made most of the US Navy’s
radar/fire-control system.) The RCAF dutifully complied,
for inexplicable reasons, other than perhaps excellent
salesmanship and blind trust. At this time RCA was building,
under license from Hughes, several radars, including the
MG-3 which was used in the late CF-100s and early F-102s.
The MG-10, however, was “developed” by RCA
for the later F-102s, and RCA considered it “their” proprietary
technology. Hughes apparently disagreed, feeling it was
only a development of their MG-3 system, and a lawsuit
was either threatened or actually carried out. Floyd’s
documents describe a meeting he had with the head of RCA
over this system and it is troubling to read the note to
file he produced as a result. RCA told Avro that the ASTRA
system was going to be, essentially, a development of the
MG 10 radar. Floyd was quite worried that it would never
come to be because of Hughes’ technology, and the
reassurances of the RCA chief, as described in the note
to file, are not convincing and indeed seem evasive.
However, if you read the RCA progress reports
on ASTRA, you quickly come to appreciate that it was very,
very advanced technology for those days, in fact most people
today aren’t aware that this technology existed then.
While RCA may have used the MG 10 as a starting point,
by the time the first ASTRA 1 development sets were available,
it bore no resemblance to the MG 10 system.
On reading the ASTRA progress reports, it
becomes clear that there were to be two ASTRA versions.
A fully transistorized, but analogue Mk.1 set, and a fully
transistorized, fully digital, pulse-Doppler version. This
meant it would have become the first “shoot-down,
look-down” radar in the World. Most people think
the Tomcat had the first “shoot-down, look-down” radar
in the World. Yet it’s radar, the AWG-9 by Hughes,
was not fully transistorized, and was not digital.
Floyd’s documents also reveal that
RCA’s President told him that RCA had won, with the
ASTRA 2 system, the contract to produce the radar/fire
control system for the LRIX, aka the F-108. It is known
that, once the F-108 was cancelled, the avionics from it
went directly into the YF-12A interceptor version of what
became the SR-71 Blackbird. Yet this radar is known to
have been built by Hughes, and was called the ASG-18. Nobody
seems to think that this radar was pulse-Doppler, or “look-down,
shoot-down”, however, again, Floyd’s documents
reveal that it was – many years ahead of the AWG-9
and Tomcat. Tests of the ASG-18 in the YF-12A credit it
with the amazing detection range of 500 miles.
Very confusing stuff. Originally ASTRA was
projected to cost 72 million dollars to develop. By 1958
that projection had leaped to 208 million dollars! That
is roughly as much as was spent developing and building
the Arrow up to first flight with developing the Iroquois
up to cancellation. No wonder Fred Smye railed against
ASTRA and predicted it would result in the end of an independent
RCAF, and the end of the Arrow program. With the signing
of NORAD and with Black Friday, he was proven correct.
A gentleman who worked on ASTRA at CARDE told me in North
Bay that he was personally responsible for dismantling
6 completed ASTRA 1 sets, and that they worked fine. CARDE
also evaluated the Arrow with ASTRA 1 and commented in
early 1958 that the combination appeared “very promising”.
This evaluation was classified and, according to author
Palmiro Campagna, not released to anyone until 1960, when
it was too late. He also told me that the infra-red detection
and tracking feature of ASTRA 1 and 2 was proprietary Canadian
technology (I think it was one of Gerald Bull’s creations),
and that the United States was so desperate to acquire
this technology for ICBM launch detection, that they started
jacking the price of ASTRA through the roof to get it.
Apparently it worked. In mid 1958 Diefenbaker cancelled
ASTRA and Sparrow, and the USAF was then able to do with
it as it pleased.
ASTRA 1 and the APQ-72 of the F-4 Phantom
bear incredible similarities, right down to the “switchology”.
US documents I received from Westinghouse’s Historical
Electronics Museum in Linthicum Maryland state it cost
them merely one million dollars and a single year to develop
the APQ-72. Canada dumped at least 40 million into ASTRA.
It is listed as the “second” radar in the West
to incorporate infra-red detection and tracking, and the
first one to use a shock-isolated, retractable, rack mounted
system. In reality ASTRA 1 was first on both counts. Westinghouse
was, of course, a subcontractor on ASTRA.
So what happened? I believe ASTRA 1 was repackaged
and dumbed down slightly to become the APQ-72, and the
nose of the Phantom was drastically enlarged to accept
it. I suspect that ASTRA 2 was given to Hughes to perfect,
and evolved into the ASG-18 system of the YF-12A. RCA got
out of the radar/ fire-control business. Mario Pesando,
who was a senior engineer at Victory Aircraft and Avro
Canada, later ran RCA’s space efforts, including
PROJECT SAINT, which was for a space-based SAtellite INTerceptor,
which was shortened to SAINT. He told me that if anybody
could have pulled off ASTRA 1 and ASTRA 2, it was the RCA
division where it was designed. He told me that it wasn’t
designed at RCA Camden, as most people believe, but at
a secret advanced research facility in New York State.
And Canada paid for the whole thing, and
in the end received nothing. No wonder Gerald Bull became
disenchanted with Canada, and the United States. (He was
also the brain behind the successful, but cancelled, Velvet
Glove missile.)
1) From 1951 to 1953 the Arrow was only a
project study. During the RCAF investigation into US and
British manufacturers, both nations were told that Canada
would buy a plane from either country if they produced
something comparable to the RCAF specification, even after
the Arrow program was started. They seemed to retain this
attitude until 1955 when the Arrow project was well underway.
The Arrow studies were cancelled in late 1953, then the
programme was re-started in 1954. Once it was re-started,
the USAF promptly informed Canada that they had let out
a design study competition for a long range interceptor
(LRIX) and asked Canada to provide the Arrow specifications
to them so they could compare the Arrow to the US manufacturers
submissions. It appears from later documentation that this
information was provided, but that Canada didn't,
at the time, receive the LRIX specifications. So the possibility
exists that they were using the Arrow specifications to
devise specifications for their LRIX that the Arrow wouldn't
meet, thus providing the USAF with a reason not to buy
the Arrow, and providing Canada with an alternative, and
reason to cancel the Arrow.
2) In 1954 the Canadian National Aeronautical
Establishment estimated the Arrow would have about 15%
higher drag than Avro estimated and some other minor criticisms,
but stated that Avro's projections were nevertheless
reasonable and well done. Then the NAE, DRB and RCAF descended
on NACA Langley to Discuss Aerodynamic Problems
of Avro CF-105 Aircraft It seems NACA was extremely
critical of the Arrow design (due no doubt to the incredible
difficulties the F-102 was facing) and suggested that:
a) It probably had at least twice the drag
Avro was projecting and therefore probably wouldn't
be supersonic.
b) The plane should be area ruled. (Area rule was formalized
by Dr. Richard Whitcomb at NACA in 1953 and the USAF endeavored
to keep the theory secret according to Bill Gunston.)
c) The intake wouldn't work.
d) The delta wing was a poor choice for range.
e) The delta wing was a poor choice for induced drag.
f) The delta wing was a poor choice due to serious pitch-up
g) The Arrow would be directionally unstable, more so than
any aircraft in the USA and that it shouldn't rely
on electronic stability augmentation. (This was actually
a lie, as a secret document from Avro on Zurakowski and
Potocki's visit to the USA to fly the F-102 reveals.
Zura pointed out that the F-102 was unflyable due to directional
(yaw) instability at low speeds and absolutely required
a stability augmentation system. It was pointed out that
the 102 had a tube technology non-redundant stability augmentation
system, whereas the Arrow had a solid state system that
was more than double redundant. The documents from Avro
show that Jim Floyd went through the roof when he learned
these nuggets.)
h) The Arrow would probably benefit from using elevons
rather than separate elevators and ailerons. Avro didn't
want to do this because the Arrow wing had negative camber
in the inboard sections changing to positive camber at
the tips (with droop for washout to prevent tip stalling
and aileron reversal) and planned to use aileron trimming
along with elevator trimming to achieve the lowest possible
trim drag.
j) The Arrow shouldn't use negative camber on the
wing because it would hurt drag and thus range, and would
result in higher trim drag to boot. Meanwhile Chamberlain
had added the negative camber to improve longitudinal stability,
prevent tip stalling (which caused pitch-up) and reduce
trim drag
I previously thought that it was the NAE
who had sold NACA on their criticisms, it now appears that
NACA were the ones who really disparaged the Arrow and
the NAE and DRB etc. became convinced to oppose the Arrow
due to their influence. This internal bureaucratic opposition
spread along with the rumours, and did the program serious
harm. They were also proven wrong by the Arrow, and by
history, in their assumptions.
10) In 1955 North American Aviation won the
design study contract for the LRIX. It is interesting that
the North American design was initially supposed to be
a long range escort fighter, and all the US references
state this, while Canada was told it was to be a long range
interceptor. The design at that time looked like a miniature
XB-70 Valkeyrie, with three fins and a canard. It had a
plain intake that would not have been suitable for anything
over, perhaps, Mach 1.8.
The RCAF tried to interest the USAF in the
Arrow in 1955, as they did with the Royal Air Force. From
Jim Floyd I have a copy of the US reasons for declining
on the Arrow, and they were:
a) They had in progress the F-106 and F-101 which they
felt would be adequate until their LRIX was ready (the
NAA F-108), which they stated would be in service in 1962
or 1963. (This was a ridiculous assertion, most credible
people now state it wouldn't have made it into service
until at least 1965.)
b) They stated that the F-106, while not
comparable to the performance of the Arrow, would be good
enough for US purposes. They further stated that they felt
the Arrow would be too much more expensive than the F-106
based on a dollars per pound of airframe assumption if
the Arrow weighed twice as much as the F-106, it would
cost twice as much. This didn't turn out to be the
case, in fact as of September 1958 the Arrow, with armament
and radar, was only priced at 3.5 million per aircraft,
while the USA spent 3.3 million apiece for the F-106.
c) This document also exaggerated the range
of the F-106 by about 25% and stated that the F-108 had
a RANGE (not radius) of 1,000 nm, and would be in service
in 1962 or 1963. The combat speed of the LRIX was only
listed as Mach 2 (.5 mach higher than the Arrows
specified combat speed).
In 1955 the wind tunnel testing of the Arrow
was done in earnest, some of it at NACA Langley. It seems
that the NACA folks became quite amazed by how the Arrow
and its intakes, which they had formerly criticized, performed
in the wind tunnel. It also appears that this data was
shared with the other US manufacturers, and it is known
that the evolving F-4 Phantom had its intakes and
wing planform changed to match the Arrow at this time.
Once the Arrow showed its potential in the
wind tunnel, the USAF Chief Scientist Dr. Courtland Perkins
arrived at Avro to look at John Frost's flying saucer
designs AND the Arrow in early 1957. He told Avro that
the LRIX might not make it into production, and that Avro
should prepare some Arrow versions, but NOT a new aircraft,
to see if it could go some way towards meeting the LRIX
specification. Jim Floyd told me that he and Fred Smye
then took Perkins aside and pumped him for
the LRIX specification, which he spilled. In the late 1980s
Palmiro Campagna contacted Perkins and he said it
had nothing to do with the Arrow, then or now At
any rate Avro cooperated and proposed the Arrow Mk. 3,
a Mach 3.5 capable aircraft with air to air refuelling
and a combat speed of Mach 3, using new materials including
carbon fibre composites, a glass microballoon filled insulation
contained in a composite honeycomb core. (This appears
to have become the heat shield for Mercury and Gemini.)
At that time however, they were only specifying a combat
speed for the Mk.3 of Mach 2.5 since even Avro was then
overestimating the drag of the Arrow airframe. It is worth
pointing out that the F-100 originally suffered from pitch
up and poor longitudinal stability, with Chuck Yeager saying
it was so unstable it couldn’t be flown in close
formation. Shortly thereafter the North American F-108
configuration changed to essentially become an Arrow Mk.
3, without air to air refuelling. In fact the idea of air
to air refuelling seemed to be a revelation to Perkins
at the time since most high performance fighters at that
time were difficult to control adequately for precision
refuelling. In fact it was still experimental at that time
with, I believe, only the F-100C trying it experimentally.
The specification for the F-108 also appears to have changed
from a combat speed of Mach 2 and a radius of 500 nm to
a combat speed of Mach 3, and a radius of 1,000 nm, which,
in my estimation and the estimation of Avro's Mario
Pesando at the time, appears to be ludicrously high performance
for the aircraft configuration, power and fuel capacity.
7) Nevertheless senior officers in the USAF
kept expressing interest in the Arrow and Iroquois. In
August 1957, as the Conservatives were settling into power,
the military cutbacks started. The Chief of Air Staff said
to a meeting of the Chiefs of Staff Committee:
Whether or not we stay with the 105
(Arrow) depends largely on getting the U.S. to come in
with us during the next two months, before November when
we go to the government
It seems clear from what remains of the paper
trail (most given to me by Avro people) that the Americans
again declined on the Arrow 2 and also the Arrow 3, because
they couldn't maintain Mach 3 long enough. (Avro
was projecting, based on their materials testing to that
point, that the Mk. 3 could maintain Mach 3 for 20 minutes.)
Avro was then approached again by either the RCAF or Canadian
government to propose a higher performance Arrow for the
USA, which they did. This was the PS.2 and Mk.4 which were
basically Arrow 3 with titanium skin, using 4 auxiliary
ramjets, each giving an extra 16,000 pounds of thrust and
operated as fuel tanks until the fuel was burned out of
them, the fuel bag ejected, and the ramjet combustors lit
up. This probably sounds like a pie in the sky Arrow version,
and that is what I thought until I read Avro documents
pointing out that Curtis Wright had this basic ramjet
sitting on their shelves as paid for surplus, since they
had been designed for the NAVAHO missile programme, which
had been cancelled. These were proposed in November 1957,
and in very early 1958. Suffice it to say that this aircraft
would have had about twice the thrust to weight ratio of
the F-108, roughly the same drag (the F-108 was slightly
larger due to having engines with 44% larger frontal area
than the Iroquois, while having roughly the same thrust)
and there is no doubt in my mind that it would have had
better range ñ especially since it had air to air
Suffice it to say that the US told Canada
that it couldn't maintain Mach 3 long enough and
therefore killed the last attempt to sell Arrows to the
USA. Meanwhile, in accordance with the Truman statement
of economic cooperation, with the PJBD, NORAD and every
precedent to it in bilateral defence, the US said it would
buy from their allies if the equipment was the best available.
This meant they should have bought the Arrow 2, or even
the Arrow Mk. 1, rather than proceeding with the F106,
let alone the F-108, F-107, Thunderchief, etc.
1) When the first post war joint defence
board was set up, the MCC, their first policy paper stated
that the threats to North America in the foreseeable future
would be from first, Soviet jet bombers, and second, from
Soviet ICBMs, and that Canada and the USA would work first
to deal with the bomber threat, and then add missile defence
to the agenda. So the idea that the ICBM came out of nowhere
and shocked the allies and totally upset their defence
plans is entirely mythological. Canada had also decided
to equip with the BOMARC missile long before the Conservatives
came to power, along with SAGE and an interceptor. Indeed
by the mid 1950s the Douglas Aircraft was already designing
the NIKE-ZEUS Anti-Ballistic Missile system, which was
deployed in the mid 1960s. By this time Canada was so disenchanted
with bilateral defence issues that they refused to buy
any, and didn't participate in development.
2) The Canadian Ambassador was invited to
a dinner meeting with the Secretary of the Air Force James
Douglas and some senior US officers on January 30, 1958.
At this meeting the Canadians were told the F-108 would
make the Arrow look like something which might
be picked up in a department store. This meeting
is totally misconstrued in Peter Zuuring's Arrow
Scrapbook since the Secretary of the Air Force said the
US might be convinced to buy a couple of squadrons of Arrows
for Canada. On reading a detailed transcript of the meeting,
it is clear that this was a red-herring, and that the offer
was only a personal musing of the Secretary of the Air
Force. They knew Canada would not accept this because Canada
had remained aloof from lend lease in WW
II, and because it was Canadian policy to be a net contributor
to Western Defence, not a beneficiary. Furthermore Cabinet
minutes show Diefenbaker stating that it had always been
the policy of the Conservative party to meet Canadian defence
needs from within Canada. The Ambassador told Douglas all
of this an declined on the spot. Douglas reaction was that
he knew Canada accepting such an offer would cause many,
many problems. It was also pointed out at this meeting
that the US was not going to develop any more interceptors
after the F-108, and felt bombers would not be any threat
after about 1963, and that they were turning their attention
to anti missile systems. (Remember that NIKE ZEUS was already
underway, and I know of no other ABM system the US developed
in those days.)
3) Once the Arrow started flying however,
some US authorities, politicians especially, started telling
Canada that bombers were on the way out and ICBMs were
going to pretty much completely replace them, making the
Arrow obsolete about half way through its expected life span.
(Their representations stated the F-108 would do the same
thing.) This was forced into the consciousness of Minister
of Defence Pearkes and Finance Minister Fleming during
their visit to NORAD HQ in April 1958.) Some British politicians
particularly were reinforcing this view. By 1956 the leaders
of the Canadian Army were totally opposed to the Arrow
and were totally sold on missiles. When asked which missile
however, they had no answer. They also had no answer on
how they were to tell if an intruder was really an intruder
or an airliner off course. They also had no answer on how
they would defeat flood and carcinatron jamming, which
the Soviets were known to already possess.
4) Once it was clear that the US would not
purchase any Arrow version, the Canadian government decided
it could not afford SAGE, Bomarc, AND the Arrow. They asked
the United States what they would do if Canada didn't
buy the BOMARC, and were told that the US would site their
own, along the US Canadian border. This meant that nuclear
ground to air missiles would be detonating over Toronto,
Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City, among others, in the
case of a Soviet attack. Once Canada bought the BOMARC
however, the USA sited BOMARCS along the Canadian border
with Ontario and Quebec anyway if my sources are correct.
(Need to verify this, although it isn't really relevant.)
5) So in July 1958 Minister of Defence Pearkes
went to Washington to try the charity angle. They hoped
to get the Americans to fund part of the Arrow programme
under the NORAD agreement and told the Americans that we
couldn't afford Arrows, SAGE and BOMARC, and asked
for a hand out. They were told that Canada producing the
Arrow by themselves, plus its engine by themselves, plus
its radar/fire control system themselves, plus its fire
and forget missile themselves, itself totally went against
the joint defence concepts of NORAD. In other words, if
Canada wanted assistance in defence funding, it should
show goodwill by cancelling the Arrow and helping fund
American programme's and equipping with the result. They
also appear to have pointed out that there was no way Avro
would get any American contracts because the technology
would find its way to Britain through the Hawker Siddeley
Group. With this food for thought hot and on the table,
the Americans then proposed a Defence Production Sharing
Agreement with Canada.
1) In August 1958 President Eisenhower and
Secretary of State John Foster Dulles came to Canada with
their Defence Production Sharing offer. Chronology shows
that Canada was not offered any assistance with BOMARC
or SAGE etc. until they were certain that the Arrow was
dead. The Canadians were told that the USA was well disposed
in principle to granting defence and development sharing
contracts to Canada. Canada agreed to never go it alone
on a major weapons system again. This is all clear from
Cabinet minutes dating to August 1958. It is also pointed
out in those minutes that they decided to keep the Defence
Development and Production Sharing agreement secret for
a while, which they did until the time of Arrow cancellation
some six months. It is worth pointing out that pretty much
everything to do with these meetings is still classified.
But the following American document isn't’t:
“The current program dates back to
at least 1941 and the Hyde Park Agreement. This agreement
provided generally that each would produce in areas of
greatest capability. In 1950 a Statement of Principles
of Economic Cooperation was issued by the Truman Administration.
It advocated, among other things, a coordinated program
of requirements, production and procurement; the exchange
of technical knowledge and productive skill; the removal
of barriers impeding the flow of essential defense goods.
In 1950 a DOD Directive on Defense Economic Cooperation
with Canada was issued. A Presidentially approved NSC paper,
5822/1, dated 30 December 58, reaffirmed the Statement
of Economic Principles and provided for equal consideration
to be accorded the business communities of both countries.
“Prior to the NSC paper, and following
a visit of the President to Canada in July 1958, Canada
took the following actions with the understanding that
her defense industry depended largely upon the U.S. channeling
defense business into Canada: cancelled the CF 105 and
related systems contracts; decided to make maximum use
of U.S. developed weapons, integrated into NORAD; worked
with the U.S. toward a fully integrated continental air
“The U.S. in turn established a Production/Development
Sharing Program with Canada with the first quarterly meeting
in October 1958. Since then, policy obstacles impeding
a free flow of business have been modified in a number
of areas such as: Buy American Act; duty free entry of
defense goods; security requirement; etc.. Also, working
groups have been set up on programs of mutual interest
(for example, BOMARC); cost sharing agreements have been
worked out; and possible joint development programs are
being explored.
“The last quarterly meeting of the
Production Sharing Policy Group was held on 25 May, Despite
all efforts, over the period 1 January 59 through 31 March
60, Canadian defence business in the United States almost
doubled that placed in Canada. Canada is not satisfied
with these results, nor do they appear acceptable from
our view.
“We must: re-emphasize the program
of development sharing activities; encourage American industry
to subcontract in Canada; and seek out other legitimate
techniques to stimulate the program. Canada should be encouraged
to energize her industry which has not displayed the necessary
aggressiveness.” [underline and bold text added]
2) The Canadians told the Americans that
they still needed a manned interceptor since the missile
could not do the whole job, and bombers would remain a
threat for a while, and that they couldn't buy the
F-106 or F-101 because the defence establishment in Canada,
and the politicians, had always maintained that these aircraft
would be inadequate. So the Americans offered Canada a comparable interceptor,
the F-106C, which could be manufactured in Canada by Canadair,
which was then 100% Convair/General Dynamics owned. They
were also told it would cost about half as much as the
Arrow, and would be ready for service several months sooner
than the Arrow. This is ludicrous because the Arrow was
already into development flying, and because the F-106C
didn't exist! I was a paper airplane. The Chiefs
of Staff Committee were asked to consider the F-106C. They
rejected it as not being comparable to the Arrow and reiterated
that the RCAF needed something equal or superior to the
Arrow. The Canadian government nevertheless made a defence
production sharing offer to the United States involving
trading Convair aircraft for Convair aircraft: The Argus
or Yukon for F-106Cs. A few days later they were told the
F-106C had been cancelled.
3) During the meetings the Canadians also
were told that if Canada cancelled the Arrow and equipped
with BOMARCS, that the USA would be pleased to defend Canada
with US interceptors, either as a forward deployment during
times of crisis, or on PERMANENT BASING in Canada. A 1967
interview with former MND George Pearkes, by Dr. Reginald
Roy in British Columbia, which has only recently been released,
shows that Pearkes secretly agreed to this plan. The USAF
was invited up to Canadian air bases to defend us, but
the RCAF and Canadian people were told it was only for
joint defence exercises. Pearkes admitted in the interview
that this was kept secret because the RCAF and Canadian
people would not have accepted being an obvious protectorate
of the United States. The USA was trying at the time and
ever since, to get as many bases of the US military on
foreign soil as possible. The book Blowback by Chalmers
Johnson describes some of the tactics, history and fallout
resulting from these policies. My standing here today is,
in fact, blowback from old US policies we are discussing
now. Pearkes was also told by the US Undersecretary of
Defence regarding the Arrow that the US had “lots
of interceptors that could be used in the defence of Canada”,
preferably with permanent basing, but failing that in a
forward deployment mode, and that he “wouldn’t
spend all that money on that airplane if I were you.” Pearkes
stated “and that convinced me more than anything
else.” Some way to decide defence policy!
I wonder how many people in this room know
that Bagotville and Cold Lake are, or at least were until
the collapse of the Soviet Union, SAC refuelling and USAF
AWACS bases with the Canadians being required to abandon
their fields and deploy farther North in times of hostilities.
Of course it would have been the Canadians bearing the
brunt of the Soviet attack, with the USAF taking up the
4) During those meetings John Foster Dulles,
when again told Canada felt it needed interceptors, said
that he could make available some intelligence which might
prove Canada actually didn’t need interceptors. His
brother, Allen Dulles, ran the CIA at the time. So, while
NORAD and other defence experts were convinced that the
Soviets had between 1,000 and 2,000 intercontinental bombers,
he told Pearkes that the Soviets only actually had 160,
based on U-2 overflights. While the figure of 2,000 bombers
was absurdly high, 160 seems absurdly low. In fact in Congressional
hearings on air defence in the United States, held coincidentally
shortly after the Arrow cancellation, (8 months later)
NORAD CINC Earl Partridge and USAF General White said that
the only way the Soviets had, and for years hence would
have, of attacking North America with their fleet of between
1,000 and 2,000 intercontinental bombers. One is left wondering
why the CIA wouldn’t share such intelligence with
the CINC NORAD if they believed it to be true. Unless,
of course, they wanted to fuel the arms race.
OF COURSE, it didn’t dawn on the Conservatives
that if they didn’t need the Arrow, then they certainly
didn’t need the BOMARC, and also didn’t need
5) Between August 1958 and Black Friday,
a staggering variety of cost sharing and defence sharing
offers were made back and forth. USAF Colonel Daniel C.
Murray, who was attached to Avro for the saucer program,
stated to Les Wilkinson, one of the Arrowhead authors,
that after the F-106C was cancelled, that Canada was offered
a defence production sharing deal on the F-108. Murray
stated that Canada accepted the offer and then cancelled
the Arrow. I cannot find corroboration of that in the Cabinet
minutes, but that doesn’t mean much, believe me.
There is a passage however, from three days after they
cancelled the Arrow, that might be the item in question.
In Cabinet minutes dated February 23rd, 1959, a single
day before the government planned to announce “a
large defence production sharing order for Canadiar radar
picket aircraft, (CL-44s)” the Canadian government
was told by the United States that this order would not
happen “because American manufacturers would not
stand for it.” I also checked to see if the United
States bought any radar picket aircraft at the time (the
role was being filled by a Lockheed Constellation variant
at that time) or shortly after and they did not. During
the run-up to cancellation the United States also offered
to relocate some of their Western BOMARC sites North in
to Canada. After the Arrow was cancelled, the US reneged
on this offer by stating that the BOMARC was obsolete and
that the US was not equipping with any more of them, and
that Canada needed to buy interceptors. Let me just say
that from my research, it appears that virtually everything
Canada was promised at that time was reneged on once the
Arrow was gone.
6) Once the Arrows and production lines were
scrapped, the F-108 was also cancelled. I believe that
had it been produced it would have been realized that the
F-108 was really no better than the Arrow Mk.2a, and Canada
had been had. This cancellation made Dief and Pearkes sleep
easier since it appeared to vindicate their decision to
cancel the Arrow. However, by this time the A-12, which
became the SR-71, was in design, and it got the go ahead
at the same time as the F-108 was cancelled. In 1960 they
secretly began work on an interceptor version of the Blackbird,
called the YF-12A.
7) Once all this secret nonsense went down,
it becomes abundantly clear why Diefenbaker soured towards
the United States. In 1960 acting US Secretary of the Air
Force Charyk wrote to US Undersecretary of Defence while
discussing a new production sharing offer:
“As I have previously mentioned, a
sensitive political situation has arisen in Canada due
to a series of events involving the CF-105 cancellation
in favour of BOMARC and SAGE joint procurement with the
U.S., followed by [unilateral U.S.] reductions in BOMARC
and SAGE super combat centres.”
The US Secretary of Defence Gates then came
to Canada and pressured Canada to accept a CL-44 for F-101
Voodoo defence production sharing bid. The prices? 1.4
million a piece for Cl-44s, and 4.4 million for the last
66 Voodoos off the line at McDonnell. Talk about the final
insult! The Voodoo used the ancient J-57 turbojet, had
about half the thrust to weight ratio of the Arrow, had
three times the wing loading, had a pitch up problem, had
structural problems, and more. It, like the F-106, never
saw combat in Vietnam, perhaps because its Falcon missiles
were junk. Obviously the government couldn’t publicly
pay more for Voodoos than for Arrows and they declined.
Even though Gates told them that it was too good a deal
to pass up and that the Canadians had best jump at the
offer before the US manufacturers got wind of it. In the
end the Conservatives accepted 66 second hand Voodoos retired
from ANG service, in a complicated deal that hid the price
of the Voodoos. Former AVM John Plant, who became Avro’s
President, later mentioned that for 60 million dollars,
plus the Arrow termination penalties, they could have had
an equal number of Arrows. The actual price paid for these
Voodoos, minus weapons and spares and ground support equipment,
is thought to be over two million dollars each. SAGE costs,
which the Arrow didn’t require but the Voodoo did,
were over and above these costs.
“The current program dates back to at least 1941
and the Hyde Park Agreement. This agreement provided generally
that each would produce in areas of greatest capability.
In 1950 a Statement of Principles of Economic Cooperation
was issued by the Truman Administration. It advocated,
among other things, a coordinated program of requirements,
production and procurement; the exchange of technical knowledge
and productive skill; the removal of barriers impeding
the flow of essential defense goods. In 1950 a DOD Directive
on Defense Economic Cooperation with Canada was issued.
A Presidentially approved NSC paper, 5822/1, dated 30 December
58, reaffirmed the Statement of Economic Principles and
provided for equal consideration to be accorded the business
communities of both countries.
“Prior to the NSC paper, and following a visit of
the President to Canada in July 1958, Canada took the following
actions with the understanding that her defense industry
depended largely upon the U.S. channeling defense business
into Canada: cancelled the CF 105 and related systems contracts;
decided to make maximum use of U.S. developed weapons,
integrated into NORAD; worked with the U.S. toward a fully
integrated continental air defense.
“The U.S. in turn established a Production/Development
Sharing Program with Canada with the first quarterly meeting
in October 1958. Since then, policy obstacles impeding
a free flow of business have been modified in a number
of areas such as: Buy American Act; duty free entry of
defense goods; security requirement; etc.. Also, working
groups have been set up on programs of mutual interest
(for example, BOMARC); cost sharing agreements have been
worked out; and possible joint development programs are
being explored."
Prior to the NSC paper means PRIOR to December 1958 the
Arrow was, as the USA was clearly aware, CANCELLED.
Since the first Defence Production Sharing joint meetings
were in October, the Arrow was cancelled prior to October.
So it wasn't done in November when they deleted the Arrow
from 1959/60 fiscal year budget projections.
It is now AIR TIGHT that they canned the Arrow due to
the machinations of John Foster Dulles, Ike and others
in JULY 1958!!
So we now know when the Arrow was killed, and WHY.
copyright RL Whitcomb 2004
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