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the CF-100 Canuck

Avro CF-100

        After the second world war, it became apparent that the RCAF's tight integration with the RAF would cease. Also, of course, the cold war was becoming a reality and North Americans had to consider the possibility of Soviet bomber attacks from the north.

     Immediately after the war Canada had equipped with stopgap aircraft such as North American Mustangs and DeHavilland Vampires but both types were essentially obsolete by that time.

    The postwar air force had agreed to take on  three major commitments......home defense, participation in the newly formed NATO, and in U. N. operations when required. To help meet these commitments, Canadair was tasked with producing the Lockheed T-33A Jet trainer (F-80 Shooting Star in the U.S.), to be known in Canada as the "Silver Star". Canadair also was to produce what was then the west's finest fighter....the F-86 Sabre.

    But for northern defense, no license-built aircraft was suitable. What was needed was a long-range, twin-jet,  all weather interceptor, with a two man crew, capable of operating under extreme climactic conditions. The task to design such a machine fell to AVRO CANADA, evolved from Victory Aircraft, AVRO's Canadian subsidiary during the war.

    AVRO was in the process of developing a modern jet engine to be called the ORENDA, and a pair of these were to power the new fighter, now known as the CF-100.

    Taxi trials and first flight were in January, 1950. Power was by a British engine, the AVON, until the ORENDA became available. The first production models, the gun armed MK 3 soon began rolling off the line.

    There were early problems typical of a major new type, involving hydraulics and skin buckling....both were eventually solved by AVRO. By late 1950, the new engine was available and the first RCAF test pilots got to fly the new design.

    Before its service even began, the MK3 was surpassed by the rocket armed Mk4, which first flew in October, 1952. Jan Zurakowski, best known today as the chief pilot for AVRO's ARROW  project, flew on supersonically in '52. Also that year, No. 3(F) OTU in North Bay, became the first unit to be equipped with the new machine.

    By 1954, the MK4 varient came out, featuring improved gun laying radar and an improved Hughes MG2 fire control system. On this version, the wing tip fuel tanks could be replaced by a pod containing 29 2.75 inch unguided, folding fin addition to the regular gun pack. By 1954 55 percent of total defense spending was allocated to this project.

    The CF-100, officially called the CANUCK, but lovingly known by pilots as the CLUNK, went on to serve both in North American defense and in Europe, for NATO squadrons.

    More improvements, including an extended wing, followed. Ultimately, 692 were built, production continuing until 1958. At one time 13 front line squadrons were equipped with this aircraft, and some were in service until 1981....making this one of Canada's greatest home grown  aviation successes.

-Lance Russwurm


Length: 54' 2", Span: 60' 10"

gross weight: 33,600 lb.

top speed: 650 mph




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