Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Avro arrow

 I was interested to see that people mentioned the A.V. Roe arrow , when I wrote about HM PM Diefenbaker yesterday. I saw this interesting piece at the Western Standard.
 It quoted a piece about the arrow by Chris Taylor. Some myths really are just myths.

We have all heard the Avro Arrow mythology promulgated for the public.
That the Canadian division of UK-owned A.V. Roe and Company was contracted to provide a supersonic delta-winged interceptor; that an interceptor of unprecedented capabilities was built, and flight tests begun; but then the American military-industrial complex and unconscionable perfidy from the Prime Minister of the day (John Diefenbaker) conspired to kill the wonder jet so that money would be made, political ambitions furthered, et cetera. The power of the mythos is such that a 1997 made-for-television movie featuring Dan Akroyd was crafted with this storyline.

Problem is, the tragic fable is almost entirely false....


Anonymous said...

The myth is another good reason to shrink government.

Someone needed to explain the strategic role of the Avro and how that would fit or not fit with a realistic Foreign Policy. But no politician did that in the 60’s nor with the geopolitical issues of today. Why?
Foreign policy should be one of a small handful of roles left to Ottawa; the rest should devolve to the Provinces. The reason myths like this persist is because we are sending 308 MPs (soon to be 338) 90% of whom have no idea what our FP is or should be. They are no different than Obama, no experience for the job that they should be doing.

We need much smaller government in Ottawa and MPs with some global exposure who have first hand experiences in the other side of the world. Dr Roy comes to mind.


Springer said...

I've read several books on the Arrow, certainly there are some myths regarding its cancellation.

That it was the most sophisticated jet built to date, however, is not mythical at all. Most notably, it was the first ever aircraft of any kind built with "fly-by-wire" technology, which has become a standard feature of fighter craft since.

The cancellation of the Arrow was, IMHO, the singularly most shameful tragedy in Canadian history, forcing over 14,000 out of work, the literal trashing of our aerospace industry, and sending some of the best minds in the world south of the border to work for NASA, Boeing, McDonald Douglas...all of whom profited immensely from Canada's usual lack of guts and backbone required to be a leader in anything.

The very same kind of Liberal Left mentality that wrought this deliberate and mindless destruction of Canadian leadership, pride and independence also was behind such disasters as the cancellation of the Sea King replacements, purchasing 4 screwed up subs, gutting out military to the point of collapse, and now the utterly ignorant whining over the planned acquisition of F-35 JSFs to replace the CF-18 Hornet.

God forbid this country should ever have the gonads to stand on its own two feet and take care of our own national defense.

Joe said...

I have to agree that the Arrow was canceled with just cause. Even the British canceled their order when the A V Rowe couldn't deliver a flyable aircraft before its replacements were due. Yes the British knew that the Arrow had a limited capability and they had plans of replacing the Arrow about 4 years after taking delivery of it. When there was one year before a better airplane was to be delivered to Britain and the Arrow still hadn't been built, Britain canceled its order for the Arrow.
The rest is just nationalistic poppycock. The fact is that the West felt that it was being bled dry so Ontario could build an airplane that would never fly.

Chris Taylor said...

Springer, you have been led down the garden path by Arrow enthusiasts who know neither their history nor their aircraft. The CF-105 was not the world's first electric analog fly-by-wire fighter; that honour belongs to a modified US Navy F-9F Panther which flew four years before the Arrow, in 1954 (see citation).

The really impressive part of Arrow development was the Orenda Iroquois engine, which could have competed favorably with contemporaries and was one of the reasons the Brits were anxious for Arrow development to continue.

But let's not continue to perpetuate a history and achievements that it never actually earned.

Chris Taylor said...

The hyperlink for the F-9F referece got lost somehow but I'll repost it here:

Roy Eappen said...

Thank you Chris for your comments. I enjoyed reading your article.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but I disagree with you on this one too. I know the left has seized on this issue for anti-american propaganda reasons but that doesn't make the story false. The arrow was indeed an advanced plane and nobody had one like it, especially the Americans at that time. In Europe there was similar efforts but the arrow was still more advanced. The plane was an interceptor and thus unlike modern aircraft which are multi-role. Also the plane while flight tested was not manufactured so bugs would have had to be worked out. Dief cancelled it due to the high per unit cost and the belief at the time that missiles was the war to go. The Americans like this as they sold us the missiles and were working on their own plane. As the cold war progressed it became apparent that planes were the better option to defend Canada against prowling Russian bombers and not surface to air missiles located thousands of miles away. Sorry but the myths are true and we need to learn from this in the current issue the planes we are planning to buy now, we need them as much as ever but unfortunately we don't make our own. (real conservative)

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