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CF-103 Avro

The C-103 / CF-103 was a projected twin-engine swept-wing fighter, proposed as a replacement for the CF-100, though no orders were placed. The RCAF began looking for a supersonic replacement for the Canuck even before it had entered service. The swept-wing CF-103 was proposed in December 1950 as a transonic follow-up to the CF-100. The CF-103 was considered a good interim aircraft between the CF-100 and the C-104 project.

German research during the Second World War identified a number of solutions to this problem. It was known that the onset of the drag was greatly reduced by using thinner airfoils with much longer chord, but these were impractical because they left little internal room in the wing for weapons or fuel. Instead, aerodynamicists employed a swept-wing design, to "trick" the airflow into behaving as though it was flowing over a long, thin wing. Almost every fighter project in the post-war era immediately copied the concept, which started appearing on production fighters in the late 1940s.

The swept-wing C-100S was proposed by aircraft designer John Frost in December 1950. Avro engineers had explored the CF-100S swept wing (and tail) modification to the CF-100, and preliminary data indicated supersonic dive capability. Considerable work was done on this project during early 1951 including wind-tunnel tests and the making of a full size mock-up. The only actual CF-103 that was ever 'produced' was a wooden mock-up of a MK. III Canuck with swept-back wings and a new tail. The powerplant for the CF-103, had it gone into production, would most likely have been two Orenda 11 or 17 engines, as was in the Canuck IV's and V's, but since the 103 concept was based on the MK. III Canuck, it probably had Orenda 2 or 8 engines in it.

Estimated first flight was July 1952, though increased shopwork on CF-100 Mark 3 and Mark 4 rescheduled the first CF-103 flight to June 1953. But wind tunnel test, completed in November 1951 indicated no supersonic dive capability and with a first flight by 1953, the aircraft was considered to be obsolete before it could be produced in quantity. The CF-103 was cancelled in December 1951 as performance and delivery date were not compatible with the threat of Soviet attack over the arctic. The CF-103 was found to be obsolete before it left the drawing board. Although the design theoretically provided transonic speeds, the small performance gain, given that the CF-103 would use the same engines, was not worth the extra development costs.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 15:32:46 ZULU