"...Avro Arrow Jet Was Threat To U.S...", author declares
FROM CANADIAN PRESS
Monday, October 5, 1992. The Toronto Star
The U.S. may have pressured Canada into cancelling the Avro Arrow project in 1959 because the high-tech jet was capable of intercepting and exposing the secret U.S. spy planes, a new book says. The Avro Arrow fighter jet was so technologically advanced that it threatened both U.S. aerospace industry and the Central Intelligence Agency's (C.I.A) covert U-2 spy missions, author Paul Campagna said during a weekend speech to the Aerospace Heritage Foundation.
His book, Gathering Storms -The Secret files of the Avro Arrow Revealed, uncovers details of the controversial decision to kill the supersonic jet interceptor. The cancellation of the jet, whose technology and performance was considered to be a decade ahead of its time, is regarded by some as a tragic example of Canada's inferiority complex and government short-sightedness. "I'm not sure that (Ottawa) really realized what they had in the Avro Arrow," Campagna, a defence department technical advisor and Arrow enthusiast, said in an interview after his speech.
Campagna's book was released on the 35th anniversary of Avro's unveiling. Then-prime minister John Diefenbaker canceled the Avro Arrow project in February, 1959. The aircraft planes and 10 prototypes were ordered destroyed for security reasons. About 14,000 people lost their jobs and a world-leading Canadian team of designers and engineers disbanded. Some project scientists committed suicide; most left Canada and ended up making major contributions to the U.S Space Program.
Campagna, 37, based the book on recently declassified documents and years of studying government files, including the personal library fo former U.S. president Dwight Eisenhower. "The Avro Arrow would have been the only aircraft of the day with the altitude capability, the intercept capability to basically attack and destroy a U-2 . . . or to find out what the U-2 was really doing up there," he said. At the time, Washington was using U-2 aircraft to spy on countries around the globe but publicly insisted they were only weather reconnaissance flights.
The U.S. urged Canada to buy into its Bomarc missile system, knowing the country couldn't afford both missiles and the Avro Arrow program, Campagna said.