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Avro Canada CF-100


Avro Canada CF-100 Mk4

The Royal Canadian Air Force, needed an all-weather fighter to defend the vast dominion and after talking with the American and British air staffs decided to write its own specification, issued in October 1946. It called for a fighter having a crew of two, advanced radar, all-weather and night equipment, heavy gun armament, the ability, to operate from advanced air-bases with austere ground equipment and runways only 4,000ft long. Plus a combination of speed, rate of climb and range never before attained in any combat aircraft.

Design of the two-seat all-weather long-range fighter was initiated in October 1946, the Avro Canada team under E. H. Atkin, chief engineer, settled for a long slim fuselage, low unswept wing of quite high aspect ratio, and twin engines on the sides of the fuselage above the wing.

The Avro scheme made the engines higher off the ground, but still easy to service and not difficult to change. The steerable nose gear and main legs all had twin wheels. The first of two prototype CF-100 Mk Is (No 18101, FB-D) was flown on 19 January 1950, both of these aircraft being powered by Rolls-Royce Avon RA 3 turbojets, each of 2948kg thrust.

It was a low-wing cantilever monoplane of all metal construction, the tail unit incorporating a tailplane and elevators mounted mid-way up the fin. The retractable tricycle landing gear had twin wheels on each unit, and accommodation for two, in tandem, was in a pressurised cockpit. All control surfaces were fully powered. Large airbrakes were fitted above and below the wing ahead of the flaps. Pilot and navigator sat in tandem Martin-Baker seats.


CF-100 Mk.1


Successful testing of the prototypes led to an order for 10 unarmed pre-production CF-100 Mk 2s, these being the first examples to be powered by 2722kg / 6,000 lb thrust Orenda 2 turbojets, built by the engine division of Avro Canada. When the first of these CF-100 Mk 2s made its maiden flight, on 20 June 1951, it was the first aircraft that had been completely designed and built in Canada. Although not designed for speeds over Mach 0.85, it was taken supersonic during a dive by test pilot Janus Żurakowski in December 1952. One of this pre-production batch was equipped as a dual-control trainer, becoming designated CF-100 Mk 2T, and another example from this batch was the first to enter service with the RCAF, on 17 October 1951.




Orders followed for 124 production aircraft designated CF-100 Mk 3 in September 1950, named Canuck by the RCAF, and the first of these entered service soon after a first flight in early September 1952. They differed by having Orenda 8 turbojets of 6,000 lb thrust (of similar output to the Orenda 2s), carried eight 12.7mm Colt-Browning machine-guns in a ventral pack, which could be winched in or out of the fighter as a unit, and were equipped with nose-mounted AN/APC -33 radar. The Mk 3 entered service with No 445 Squadron at North Bay, Ontario, in 1953. A total of 70 of this version was built before production switched to the definitive CF-100 Mk 4, and once the Mk 4 became available in 1954, most of the remaining Mk 3's were either used at the Operational Training Units or converted to dual control trainers. 50 were converted to CF-100 Mks 3CT and 3DT trainers.



CF-100 Mk.3A

In 1951, in partnership with Hughes Aircraft, Avro Canada completely replanned the CF-100 with the new armament. The tenth CF-100 Mk 2 was chosen as the aircraft to develop the new system, making its maiden flight as the prototype Mk 4 on October 11, 1952, the same day as the first pro-duction Mk 3. The nose was longer and fatter, and instead of the APG-33 gunsight radar of the Mk 3 there was a radome for the MG-2 (E4) fire-control radar. The standard Mk 4 retained the gun pack but added wing-tip pods each housing either 29 or 30 Mighty Mouse rockets, the same FFAR (folding-fin aircraft rocket) of 2.75in calibre as standard on the, USAF inter-ceptors. The Mk 4 had collision-course fire control, the new interception method in which the radar and autopilot interlinked to steer the aircraft automatically to launch the rockets in a salvo to pass through a "box" of sky at the same time as the hostile aircraft. It freed interceptors from the need to attack from behind, and in a side on inter-ception gave a much better reflective target for the radar.

The last 54 aircraft were cut from the Mk 3 order, holding production of this model to 70, while orders for the Mk 4 were repeated until they reached the total of 510. It was the RCAFs stan-dard all-weather fighter in 1953-59 and continued to serve, into the 1960s after modification to Mk 5 standard. Early Mk 4s were styled Mk.4A and fitted with the Orenda 9 rated at 6,500 lb, and visually distinguished by the free spinning two-blade windmill on the inlet bullet from which alcohol anti-icing fluid could be sprayed. The Mk 4B was fitted with the Orenda II of 7,275 lb thrust, and most 4Bs were also fitted with all-rocket armament, the gunpack being replaced by a retractable box containing a further 48 FFARs launched in salvo by hydraulically extending the box briefly into the airstream. A further modification in most 4As and all 4Bs was that the large canopy was blown from a single sheet of Plexiglas.


CF-100 Mk.4B No.445 Sqn RCAF, Marville, France 1957


The first production Mk 4 flew on October 24, 1953. The Mk.4 version was redesignated CF-100 Mk 4A after the introduction of a generally similar CF-100 Mk 4B that differed primarily by having more powerful Orenda 11 turbojets, each of 3300kg thrust.

Unofficially known as the Canuck, the CF-100 Mk 4A was the first CF-l00 to be fitted with AN/APC-40 radar and was powered by the 2948-kg (6,500-lb) thrust Orenda 9 turbojet engine, which was replaced by the slightly more powerful Orenda 11 on the CF-100 Mk 4B model. Armament in both cases took the form of eight 12.7-mm (0.5-in) machine-guns backed-up by 104 70-mm (2.75-in) rockets carried in the dis-tinctive wing-tip pods.

Production of CF-100 Mks 4A and 4B totalled 134 and 144 respectively, being followed by the CF-100 Mk 5 production version.

The CF-100 Mk 5, which featured an extended wing span and updated equipment, was lighter for it lacked the machine-guns of earlier variants, relying solely on rockets for interception. Aimed entirely at increasing high altitude manoeuvrability, the Mk 5, the first of which flew on October 12, 1955, had just over 3.5ft added on the end of each wing, the new sections having constant chord. Tailplane area was also slightly increased, and among less-basic changes was the introduction of a larger wingtip pod housing 52 FFARs, making (with the centre-line pack) a maximum of 152. No Mk 5s were built new, the 100 aircraft for inventory being converted while the final 4Bs were still on the assembly line, 53 of which were supplied to Belgium, based at Beauvechain, these being the only CF-100s to be exported.

The first production example flew on 12 October 1955.


CF-100 Mk.5


In addition, a substantial number of CF-100 Mk 4s were up-dated to the later configuration for service with squadrons of the then Royal Canadian Air Force in both Canada and Europe. The CF-100’s operational career as an interceptor came to an end in the early 1960s, but a few aircraft were further modified to act as electronic aggressors in evaluating the performance of Canada’s defences. Known as CF-100 Mk 5C and CF-100 Mk 5D aircraft, these were finally retired by No. 414 Squadron in late 1981.

On November 4, 1956, No 445 Squadron brought its Mk 4Bs to Europe to add all-weather defence to AAME (Allied Air Forces Central Europe), and until 1962 four RCAF squadrons of 4Bs and 5s operated from the Gros Tenquin/ Marville, / Zweibrücken / Baden Söllingen complex as the all-weather component of the 1st Air Division. So reliable were the Canadian fighters that the Belgian Air Force purchased 53 ex-RCAF Mk 5s and took delivery from December 1957. By this time all CF-100s in front-line service had green/grey camouflage, the Belgians merely changing the national markings. Though the added wing sections caused structural problems at high indicated airspeeds the Mk 5 remained an adequate all-weather platform well into the 1960s.

The Avro CF-100 "Canuck" was the RCAF's second operational jet fighter replacing the de Havilland Vampire. They patrolled the skies over North America and Western Europe from 1953-1981. The aircraft last served with No. 414 "Black Knight" squadron (electronic warfare unit) at North Bay, as a Mark 5D ECM (electronic counter measures aircraft).

A total of 692 aircraft were produced in the different variants, and the CF-100 was world's first straight-wing combat aircraft to exceed Mach 1 (in a dive, 18 December 1952). Many innovations in radar and quick-change weapons were developed on the CF-100, and some of its design features were incorporated in the Avro Arrow.




A. V. Roe Canada CF-100 Mk.1
All-weather fighter
Engines: 2 x 6,500 lb. thrust Avro Orenda 9 turbojets.
Wingspan: 58 ft 5 in
Length: 54 ft. 4 in
Loaded weight: 34,000 lb.
Max. speed: over 650 m.p.h.
Max. range: 2,000 miles.
Armament: 132x.2.75 in. rockets. In retractable pack under fuselage and wing-tip containers.
Crew: 2

CF-100 Mk 3D dual trainer
Engines: Two Orenda 8, 6000 lb thrust axial flow gas turbine
Maximum speed: Mach .85
Empty weight: 23,000 lb (10 432 kg)
Maximum weight: 34,000 lb (15,436 kg)
Span: 57 ft 6 in (17.5 m) over tip tanks
Length: 52 ft 3 in (15.9 m)
Height: 14 ft 6 in (4.4 m)

CF-100 Mk 4
Engines: 2 x 2948kg thrust Orenda 9

CF-100 Mk 5
Engines: 2 x turbo-jet Orenda 11 or 14, 32.3kN, 3300-kg (7, 275-lb)
Max take-off weight: 16330 kg (36,000 lb)
Empty weight: 10478 kg / 23100 lb
Wingspan: 18.54 m (60 ft 10 in)
Length: 16.48 m / 54 ft 1 in
Height: 4.74 m / 16 ft 7 in
Wing area: 54.9 sq.m / 590.94 sq ft
Wheel track: 10 ft 2 in
Wheelbase: 18 ft 1 in
Maximum speed 1046 km/h (650 mph) at 3050 m (10,000 ft)
Initial climb rate 2591 m (8,500 ft) per minute
Service ceiling: 16460 m / 54000 ft
Range w/max.fuel: 3220 km / 2001 miles
Range w/max.payload: 2072 km / 1288 miles
Combat radius 1046 km (650 miles)
Armament: 29 x 70mm missiles in each of wing containers
Crew: 2




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