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What the Avro Arrow should have taught Ottawa about the F-35
Global & Mail ^ | April 5, 2012 | Harry Swain

Posted on 04/05/2012 6:07:49 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki

What the Avro Arrow should have taught Ottawa about the F-35

Harry Swain is a former federal deputy minister of Industry Canada and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

A Tory prime minister, secure in his majority but highly suspicious of his political enemies, finds himself blind-sided by obscure processes in the departments of Defence and Industry that had gravitated to the most advanced fighter plane in the world -- but one that cost more than the country could afford. It was fifty years ago, the prime minister was John Diefenbaker, and the plane was the Avro Arrow.

Bowing to fiscal reality affected the next election, and started a national myth of loss and betrayal as persistent as the National Energy Policy or the humiliation of Quebec.

The parallels to the F-35 are eerie, but there are important differences. The basic story of vested interests in both the public and private sectors reinforcing each others’ dreams of the biggest, baddest fighter in the whole world and devil take the taxpayer’s dollars is the same, as is prevarication and mendacity when the truth about cost starts to leak out. Both governments, half a century apart, initially defended their establishments while privately getting more and more alarmed about the financial cost of continuing versus the political costs of cancellation.

But there are some important differences, too. The F-35 does not have a big maple leaf on it, nor is it a vehicle for nationalist pride. Despite the fiction that we and the other non-U.S. buyers had an important role in design and development, we were in fact merely decorative afterthoughts in a U.S.-dominated process. And a large Canadian industrial base will not have to be stood down if the F-35 is cancel

(Excerpt) Read more at theglobeandmail.com ...


TOPICS: Canada; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aerospace; avroarrow; f35; rcaf

Avro Arrow

1 posted on 04/05/2012 6:07:59 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
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To: Clive

Canada Ping.


2 posted on 04/05/2012 6:10:37 AM PDT by Army Air Corps (Four Fried Chickens and a Coke)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

I have a Canadian friend who’s a very good engineer. A baby-boomer.

He seethes about the Avro Arrow to this very day.

I’m not saying he’s wrong to feel as he does, by the way.


3 posted on 04/05/2012 6:15:18 AM PDT by Steely Tom (If the Constitution can be a living document, I guess a corporation can be a person.)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

What is the name of the film that Dan Ackroyd (of all people) did about the Arrow?


4 posted on 04/05/2012 6:36:20 AM PDT by fella ("As it was before Noah, so shall it be again.")
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To: fella
The Arrow
5 posted on 04/05/2012 6:45:42 AM PDT by Cincinatus (Omnia relinquit servare Rempublicam)
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To: Army Air Corps

Affordability, and long term viability ping.


6 posted on 04/05/2012 6:47:12 AM PDT by wita
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To: Steely Tom

A lot of the Canadian engineers who worked on the Arrow and were left unemployed by its demise came to the USA and worked on the Apollo program, making many critical contributions to its success.


7 posted on 04/05/2012 6:47:43 AM PDT by Cincinatus (Omnia relinquit servare Rempublicam)
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To: Cincinatus
You are correct on that, Cinci.

I beg to differ with the article on several key points.

The Arrow was designed to meet a particular Canadian need to challenge Soviet bombers coming over the pole. It had a long range and two engines which made it ideal for Arctic patrol. It was not a dogfighter, Canada has not needed a dogfighter aircraft since 1945. It was an interceptor and could probably have been modified to be a fighter-bomber, thereby fulfilling Canada's Nato obligations.

The author states: "Both aircraft (the Arrow and the F-35) were obsolete the day they first flew."

This is absolute nonsense.

"The Arrow was a large, fast, high-altitude plane able to intercept subsonic Soviet bombers coming over the Pole. It would not have been much use in a dogfight, or in ground-support roles. And the threat it was designed to counter was ... made obsolete by intercontinental ballistic missiles ..."

Misinformation. Without NORAD and constant USAF and RCAF patrols Soviet bombers would be roaming the polar regions of Canada at will TO THIS VERY DAY.

Cancelling the Arrow was an act of national and industrial suicide. It killed national pride for generations. It also killed a company and an industry that was capable of building world class jet aircraft and engines. A capability that even China does not have today.

The Arrow did not have to be literally axed the way it was. The project could have been scaled down or extended and yearly budgets could have been pared down a bit.

8 posted on 04/05/2012 7:28:29 AM PDT by Former Proud Canadian (Obamanomics-We don't need your stinking tar sands oil, we'll just grow algae.)
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To: Former Proud Canadian

Agree on all counts. It was a darned shame.


9 posted on 04/05/2012 7:41:50 AM PDT by TalonDJ
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To: sukhoi-30mki
Dig deeper freepers.
The Arrow was superior to some American designs at the time. Some sources say that the program was canceled partly because the entire program was so infiltrated by soviet agents, it was decided to cancel the program. Perhaps the stolen data helped the MiG-25 design years later.
10 posted on 04/05/2012 8:00:39 AM PDT by mr. mojo risin (I trained my puppy on the LA Times.)
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To: Former Proud Canadian
"The Arrow was a large, fast, high-altitude plane able to intercept subsonic Soviet bombers coming over the Pole. It would not have been much use in a dogfight, or in ground-support roles. And the threat it was designed to counter was ... made obsolete by intercontinental ballistic missiles ..."

Misinformation. Without NORAD and constant USAF and RCAF patrols Soviet bombers would be roaming the polar regions of Canada at will TO THIS VERY DAY.

The argument for cancelling was that ground based interceptor missiles could take over the role of air defence and manned interceptos wouldn't needed at all.

That was of course a crock, and the RCAF had to buy less capable F-101 Voodoos from the Shermans to do the interceptor job into the 80s.

But not everyone agreed that a big twin enginned Mach 2.5 interceptor wasn't the bird to patrol the near arctic region

Soviet Russia had the Mig-31 Arrowski

Which will outlast the Soviet Union by at least 30 years
11 posted on 04/05/2012 8:05:20 AM PDT by Oztrich Boy (This world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel - Horace Walpole)
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To: Army Air Corps; exg; Alberta's Child; albertabound; AntiKev; backhoe; Byron_the_Aussie; ...

Thanks for the ping Army Air Corps.


12 posted on 04/05/2012 12:13:51 PM PDT by Clive
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