The Avro Arrow is a powerful twin engined two seat fighter developed in Canada for the RCAF. It would eventually
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CF105A Arrow of the RCAF

equip the RAF and the RAAF as well and would spawn a host powerful fighters thanks to upgrades to keep it ahead of the game. It was also the basis for the Japanese Mitsubushi F1 Kyūdō.


Development of the CF105 was met with extreme hostility from the United States who wished for nothing more than the aircraft to be cancelled and replaced with an American design. This would allow the United States to hold a certain level of influence over Canadian air defence but Canada, which had recently signed on to the New Commonwealth, opted to work more closely with its Commonwealth allies thanks largely to the export potential the new alliance offered. It was almost cancelled on Febuary, 20, 1959, causing the Avro Arrow crisis which caused then-Governor General of Canada, Vincent Massey, to fire Prime Minister John Diefenbaker. Deputy Prime Minister Leon Balcer was then asked to become Prime Minister of Canada, after which he recinded the cancellation order, allowing the Avro Arrow to complete testing and enter service. Australia, Britain and South Africa were highly keen on the aircraft and bought-in on certain development aspects in an effort to gain influence on the final design in order to meet their respective needs. In the end however the aircraft would prove too expensive for South Africa to justify a purchase.

First Generation AircraftEdit

CF-105A/Arrow F.1Edit

Canadian version armed with eight US AIM-4 Falcon air-to-air missiles. Alternatively however the aircraft could be armed with the nuclear air-to-air missiles for destroying bomber formations. The aircraft could reach Mach 2.1 in level flight. The RAF version differed in weapon choice. Six Firestreak missiles were initially


carried in the central weapons bay. This would later be replaced by
Red Top although the primary weapon in wartime would have been Orange Piano I nuclear air-to-air missiles. The Royal Australian Air Force took delivery of the F.51 variant which was effectively an RAF Arrow F.1

CF105B/Arrow F.2Edit

One example of this variant was built as a penetration fighter with the weapons bay replaced by additional fuel and armed with six US-built Sparrow air-to-air missiles mounted on four fuselage and two underwing pylons. The aircraft did not enter production thanks largely to the reliance on US weapons (the US still doing its best to curtail the project) and the lack of a suitable Commonwealth weapon to replace it. Also the carriage of external weapons decreased speed due to increased drag. Although with development these drawbacks could have been negated it was decided not to push ahead with it at the time.

CF-105C/Arrow F.3Edit

This was a moderate redesign to address early problems and build on experience already gained with the aircraft. The radar was replaced with the new Highlight-A pulse doppler system which offered for the first time
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RAF Arrow F3

look down/shoot down capability. Weapons carriage was increased with the addition of two underwing pylons and two additional pylons protruding from the centre fuselage. The underwing pylons were plumbed to carry additional fuel tanks if necessary but this significantly reduced performance.

The radar was wired to utilize the new Radar Red Top AAM as its primary weapon. Reconfiguration of the weapons bay allowed the carriage of six rounds although another four could be carried externally if required. The aircraft could also carry Red Top infra-red AAMs but these had to be mounted externally to aid with targetting.

Power for the CF-105C/Arrow F.3 came from two Bristol-Siddley Olympus 534 turbojets which replaced the original American built J75 engines which were becoming increasingly difficult to maintain thanks to US supply problems. The Olympus engines were rated at 13,631lbs of dry thrust with an additional 6,217lbs when full afterburner was selected.

The CF-105C entered RCAF service in 1967 while the RAF took delivery of their first Arrow F.3s in 1968.

Second Generation AircraftEdit

CF105D/Arrow F.4Edit

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RAF Arrow F.4 at RAF Leeming in 1976

The next major production variant was the CF105D/Arrow F.4. This variant is considered to be the first of the second generation aircraft. The aircraft saw the addition of an extendable (as opposed to fixed) in-flight refueling probe. The Highlight-A radar was replaced with the more capable Highlight-D which offered far greater performance against low level targets highlighting the increasing threat from cruise missiles.

Olympus 608 engines allowed it to push through Mach 2.41 making it the fastset variant yet. Aerodynamic improvements included a marginally thinner wing to handle the higher speeds and these were fitted with 'dogtooth' vortex generators.

The RAF was the first to receive this new aircraft with squadron deliveries beginning in 1976. The RCAF received their first examples later that year.

Arrow F.4A - AWACS killerEdit

In the late 1970s it was becoming increasingly clear that airborne early warning and control aircraft (AWACS)
Air Dart

Air Dart AAM (Bottom) compared to Sea Dart SAM (tOP)

offered an air force a huge tactical advantage. Therefore destroying an enemy AWACS would go a long way to reducing an enemy's ability to organize an effective defence. To that end the RAF decided to modify a handful of its Arrow F.4s in to AWACS killers using the Air Dart missile, an air-to-air development of the Sea Dart SAM. This rather large air-to-air missile had a theortetical maximum range of 154 miles, in excess of the Arrow's own radar. In order to maximise the use of this weapon in destroying an enemy AWAC the Arrow F.4A was equipped with a datalink for working with Vickers-Supermarine Seeker aircraft to designate targets for the weapon. Because of their size the Arrow F.4A carried the Air Dart missile externally on its two underwing pylons. Each RAF squadron had around 3-4 aircraft converted to Arrow F.4A standard.