Avro CF-105 Arrow

What could have happened had it been built- 

Concepts by Alvis 3.1 and Neil Medcalf

 Article by Neil Medcalf

Photos by Alvis 3.1 and Neil Medcalf


The Canadian designed Avro Arrow was to be the worlds greatest interceptor at the time it was to enter service with the Canadian Air Force. However the government of the day had other ideas about what to do with her.

 After a couple of brain storming sessions these are just a few of the ideas that we came up with as to what could have happened instead. We only had three weeks to put most of these models together for our first display of Arrows at the local mall in February of 2000.

We ran out of models and money before our ideas!  Some are just too funny and too politically sensitive to do! 

All 23 models on this page were built by Alvis 3.1

RL 201& RL202: 1958-            

March 25 1958- With the first flights of the Arrow, Canada was given a huge leap ahead in aviation. The Arrow was not given the chance to prove what she could become….

Click on images below  to see larger images


CF-105N: 1966-          

NASA High Speed Flight Division. During a photo opportunity, the NASA Arrow collided with the XB-70 destroying both aircraft.  

MiG E-3888: 1967-   

The one that got away!! Somehow, it wound up in Cuba, then sent to USSR, where MiG used it as a test aircraft in the MiG 25 development. Scrapped in 1969, the nose section survives in a dusty corner of the Vladivostok Aviation Museum.  

Avro/ North American Vigilante II: 1969-     

After the problems encountered on the A-5 Vigilante, North American entered into a partnership with Avro to redesign the aircraft. Bearing a striking resemblance to the original Vigilante, the Vigilante II was 65% Canadian built, and went on to serve in the US Navy well into the 1980s.  

SST Research: 1969-         

Combining the resources of Avro, Canadair, and Convair, Canada and the US began research into a SST. An Arrow was utilized to test the various layouts of engines, here seen in the B-58 style pattern.  Eventually, the Can-US SST-1 entered service in 1979 on the highly profitable Asian routes.


Indian Air Force, Indo-Pakistan War: ’71-    

Used as a high-speed bomber, the Indian Arrows were able to bomb Pakistani airfields with impunity, due to their very high speeds. It is rumored that their Arrows are equipped for dropping nuclear weapons.


Republic F-109B: ‘71-   

Built under license in the good old USA for long range interception duties. Two were shot down over Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.  


UN Arrow: 1972-      

Used as a high speed reconnaissance platform hunting down war criminals and atrocities, as well as monitoring cease fires in the various trouble spots around the world. This particular Arrow was “accidentally” shot down over Syria after straying too far north!  


Avro/Dassault/BAC/ Dornier (Panavvia) MRCA: 

1975-    In an attempt to build a NATO common aircraft, Canada, France, the UK and Germany attempted to build a strike aircraft. The result was the “Switchblade”. Although France eventually left the alliance, the Switchblade went on to serve in the inventory of 7 Air Forces around the world.


CF-105 Mark 2B, CFB Comox: 1976-    

Standard in-service scheme. Operated as Air Defense aircraft from 1963 until replaced by the Avro/Northrop CF-177 Cobras in the early 1980’s.  


South African AF: ‘77-         

Initially sold to South Africa in the early 1960’s, the Arrows became locally modified after international embargoes took effect in the late 1960’s. Joining with Israel to update their Arrows, The SAAF sold several to Argentina in the 1970’s. Several were destroyed by RAF Switchblades during the Falklands/ Malvinas war in 1981.  


CRF-105, Recce Arrow: 1977-    

Developed for use in NATO as a high-speed reconnaissance platform.


Avro Arrow Mk 4B: ‘77-     

High speed, High altitude modification of the Mark 3 Arrow. Used to harass the US’s SR-71 Blackbirds


Avro ArrowWacs: ‘ 79-         

Airborne radar platform. First developed in the early 1970’s for defending the Arctic approaches of North America. Three of these planes cover almost all of Canada.  


RCMP Arrow: 1981-          

Very high-speed pursuit and drug interdiction unit. Despite a very high success rate, and seven confirmed kills, the RCMP was forced to exchange their Arrows for Cessna Caravans in the late 1980’s due to budget cutbacks.  


Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force: 1981-  

Heavily used in the Iran- Iraq war in the early 1980’s. Originally bought by the Shah of Iran to intercept highflying MiG 25s (they got two!) Several defected to the USSR after the Iranian revolution, and their fate remains unknown.  


Royal Hellenic Air Force: 1982- 

First sold to Greece in 1969, delivery was held up until resumption of Democratic elections in 1973.  


Israeli Defense Force: 1982-   

Sold to Israel in the early 1960s the Arrows became highly modified in Israel after the1967 War, and the ensuing blockade. Forced to re-engine the planes with J-79s, the Israelis also added canards for extra maneuverability.  


Shuttle Arrow: 1983-           

Utilized along with the Canadian developed booster stages, the Aero-Space Arrow became Canada’s primary com-sat launcher, as well as lofting payloads for the USAF and RAF. A long-term loan B-52 from the USAF is used to haul the orbiters back from CFB Cold Lake to the launching site in the Bahamas.  


Hawk One Arrow, 409 squadron: 1984-     

Commemorative paint scheme to observe the 75th anniversary of the RCAF.  


Turkish Air Force: ‘86- 

Bought in the early 1970s, the Arrows were replaced by CF-177 Cobras in the late 1980s. The Arrows, by this date were dilapidated and decrepit, and saw out the last of their days as decoys along Turkish runways.  


Dark Arrow: 1988- 

SPAR (Special Projects Avro Research)- Top secret reconnaissance aircraft. One of three built under contract to DARPA in the mid 1980s. Two were lost in flight over Arizona. The third vanished over Baffin Island in 1989.  


Photos and text © by Alvis 3.1 and Neil Medcalf