In 1946, the Avro Canada company was awarded the contract to develop a new twinjet, radar-equipped, all-weather interceptor for the RCAF.
This aircraft eventually became the CF-100 and had its initial flight on 19 January 1950. The success of the test flight program led to an initial order for 124 CF-100 Mark 3’s.
The first Mark 3, nicknamed the "Canuck", performed its test flight in September 1952. The aircraft entered squadron service with the RCAF in 1953.
This aircraft was the only jet fighter conceived, designed, tested and manufactured for operational RCAF service entirely in Canada.
The need to locate and engage enemy aircraft at night and in cloud was one of the highest priorities of the early jet age. The CF-100 was one of the first aircraft to have this capability.
It was originally designed to defend Canada and the United States by intercepting Soviet long-range strategic bombers attacking over the Arctic.
The CF-100 combined massive firepower in the form of guns and rockets with an effective radar fire control system that linked the radar and ballistics to improve accuracy. It could also climb rapidly and had a very long range.
RCAF Service during the Cold War
All NORAD fighters in Canada were controlled by the Pinetree and Mid-Canada radar lines. Four squadrons of CF-100s were deployed to Europe to supplement the RCAF’s all day-fighter F-86 fleet. At each of the four RCAF Wings in France and Germany, one of the three F-86 squadrons was replaced with a CF-100 squadron.
After the CF-100 was phased out as an interceptor by the CF-101, it was used as an Electronic Warfare (EW) aircraft to provide electronic countermeasures training to NORAD units in Canada and the U.S. The CF-100 was retired from service in 1981, having served Canada and the RCAF for 31 years.
Over 100,000 Canadians were involved with the CF-100 over the period of its service with the RCAF. This aircraft pioneered an all-weather day and night air defence capability at the beginning of the jet age.
In total, 652 CF-100 aircraft were built before production ceased in 1958. The CF-100 remained in service until 1981.