Avro Arrow: Failure of Canada

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Avro Arrow
In today’s society, the Canadian Army is viewed as a thing of with pity, seen as an organization in need of U.S. defense to survive; this image was pushed to the extremes by the lack of Canadian support and general apathy. Not many people think of Canada as a country that can hold its own when in a conflict with those of similar economic conditions such as Russia, America or even France. However, historically and statistically, Canada has been an extremely strong military power, but only when the need arose. From the “stormtroopers” of Canadian raiding parties at Vimy Ridge to the sophisticated liberation of Belgium and the Netherlands in World War Two, Canada proved its extraordinary war efforts. The same can be said about Canada’s influence on aerial warfare, with the fourth largest air-force of any nation in the second world war. Then comes the Avro Arrow, arguably one of the most controversial projects ever financed by the Canadian government. This delta-wing interceptor known officially as the CF-105 Arrow, was a prototype machine which was technically several decades more advanced than its Russian and American counterparts. The Arrow was designed and produced by Canadians and its initial prototypes were capable of Mach 2 speeds with new technological armaments and automation features. All this research was placed at a cost of four hundred million Canadian dollars, and it directly produced 14,000 jobsbefore it was cancelled by the Diefenbaker government in 1959. The cancellation of the Avro Arrow was a terrible idea and its consequences are reflected upon in the dismal state of our military and technological reputation in global standing. The Avro Arrow was not a failure of technology, labor, effort or enthusiasm, but rather a failure of judgment and Conservative political views. The Arrow induced a sense of pride in Canadians, and would have represented our independence from the United States. The Arrow would not only save our culture from America, but also our economy; as thousands of the machines would have been sold to other countries. Finally, the cancellation of the Avro Arrow started a tide of events that would end the influence of the Canadian army and slow down technological innovation for several decades. Fast and powerful, the Avro Arrow could have cemented Canada’s position as a superpower in the post-war era.

There are many different theories about why the Arrow was cancelled. Some have pointed at the lack of chemistry between Avro’s president Crawford Gordon and John Diefenbaker. Other Canadians point their fingers at the Minister of National Defence, George R. Pearkes and Chairman Chief of Staff, Charles Foulkes who thought that the Bomarc missile would be an excellent yet cheaper alternative to the Arrow. However, an overwhelming majority of Canadians blame the United States government who had told Pearkes that the Arrow was unnecessary for Canada’s defence. Yet, like the Canadian military, the US military actually gave a high recommendation to the Arrow project. Overall, the American influence on the Avro Arrow was positive. Even though World War II ended in 1945, the Cold War between the US and USSR made countries such as Canada who were caught in the middle very nervous about its own defense. The Korean War in 1950 gave enough reason for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) to start building superior aircraft. The threat of Soviet Bombers was over-exaggerated to the point that all children held weekly hold & brace drills. Canada needed an interceptor against them. It started with the Tupolev TU-4m, which gave the Russians the capability for the first time to reach many industrial centers of North America. Later on, Russia owned a great number of bombers that could reach the USA by traveling through Canada. In order to fully understand the magnitude of lost potential in the Avro Arrow, one needs to understand that the development of the Avro Arrow included not...
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