The Diefenbaker government was destined to fare little better than Avro had. As the CSC had feared, it was 1961 before the RCAF received sixty-six of the more up-to-date US-built CF-101B Voodoo, an interceptor which had previously been rejected by the RCAF evaluation team in 1953. The Diefenbaker government also infuriated the US administration by refusing to honour its commitment to accept nuclear warheads, thereby rendering the Bomarc-B, the Voodoo and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of other weapons systems virtually useless. In the 1962 election the hapless Diefenbaker government was reduced to a minority, and in 1963 it fell after a non-confidence vote condemning its ill-considered and badly-managed conduct of Canada's foreign policy and defence policy.
The six existing Arrow prototypes were offered to Canadian, US and British aeronautical agencies for research purposes, but they were rejected because it was simply too expensive to keep such a small number of aircraft flying. The prototypes were then unceremoniously reduced to scrap by the DDP, and the Avro CF-105 passed into history.
The Arrow was a truly Canadian product by Canadians for Canada. The Arrow and the Iroquois programmes were a pinnacle of Canadian aviation achievement, the like of which we may never see again. It was a time when the eyes of the aviation world were on Canada.
The design, construction and development of these fine products was the Canadian equivalent to putting a man on the Moon.
The tragedy is that although we demonstrated success, we were never able to reap the benefits.
"I can now say," C.D. Howe, Canada's Minister of Defence Production, remarked to the House of Commons on June 28, 1955, "that we have embarked on a programme of development that frankly gives me the shudders - a supersonic plane and a supersonic engine." Howe was referring to the Avro CF-105 Arrow and the Orenda Iroquois programmes, and his fears were warranted. What began as a modest venture in advanced supersonic interceptor design and development became, through profligacy and skyrocketing costs, the most expensive and complex defence project ever undertaken in this country. The Arrow was destined to haunt Canada's governmental, military and corporate decision-makers throughout the 1950s, only to achieve legendary status in the hearts and minds of average Canadians after its controversial cancellation.
This is the triumphant and tragic story of A.V. Roe Canada Limited and the Avro CF-105 Arrow from optimistic creation in 1953, to fatal expansion in 1955, to drastic curtailment in 1957, and to inglorious termination in 1959.