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Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck

Jet-Powered High-Altitude Interceptor Aircraft

Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck

Jet-Powered High-Altitude Interceptor Aircraft


The oft-overlooked Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck played an important role in the Cold War defense of North America.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: Canada
YEAR: 1952
STATUS: Retired, Out-of-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Avro Canada - Canada
OPERATORS: Belgium; Canada
National flag of Belgium
National flag of Canada
Technical Specifications

Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck Mk 5 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
POWER: 2 x Avro Orenda 14 turbojet engines developing 7,275lb of thrust each.








nautical miles


Variable Depending on Mark:

Mk 3:
8 x 0.50 caliber heavy machine guns in ventral gunpack

Mk 4:
8 x 0.50 caliber heavy machine guns in ventral gunpack
2 x Wingtip Ricket Pods mounting 29 x 70mm "Mighty Mouse" unguided air-to-air rockets each.

Mk 5:
2 x Wingtip Ricket Pods mounting 29 x 70mm "Mighty Mouse" unguided air-to-air rockets each.

Mk 6 (Proposed):
2 x AIM-7 Sparrow air-to-air missiles
Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft heavy machine gun
Graphical image of an air-to-air missile weapon
Graphical image of a short-range air-to-air missile
Graphical image of a medium-range air-to-air missile
Graphical image of aircraft aerial rockets
Variants / Models

• Mk 1 - Prototype Model Designation; 2 examples produced.
• Mk 1P - Photo-Reconnaissance Variant; proposed but never placed into production.
• Mk 2 - Pre-Production Model Designation; 10 such examples produced.
• Mk 2T - Two-Seat Trainer Variant; 2 such examples produced.
• Mk 3 - Initial production models; armament of 8 x machine guns held in an under-fuselage belly pack; 124 examples produced.
• Mk 3A - Fitted with 2 x Orenda 2 type engines.
• Mk 3B - Fitted with 2 x Orenda 8 type engines.
• Mk 3CT - Two-Seat Trainer Variant
• Mk 4 - Improved engine performance; armament changed to wingtip rocket pods for Might Mouse air-to-air rockets.
• Mk 4A - Fitted with 2 x Orenda 9 type engines.
• Mk 4B - Fitted with 2 x Orenda 11 type engines.
• Mk 5 - "Definitive" CF-100; improved engine performance; increased wingspan; 53 examples for Belgium use; fitted with either Orenda 11 or 14 type engines.
• Mk 5D - Converted Mk 5 models for ECM/EW roles.
• Mk 5M - Converted Mk 5 models for AIM-7 Sparrow II air-to-air missile platform.
• Mk 6 - Proposed Sparrow II missile platform; never produced.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck Jet-Powered High-Altitude Interceptor Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 4/5/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
The Avro Canada CF-100 "Canuck" marked the first indigenously designed, developed, and serially produced military fighter to emerge from Canada. It arrived at a time when the jet age was dawning on the world of military aviation and added a potent interception capability to the West. The new jet enhanced Canadian interception responses to incursions by Soviet bombers and bolstered NORAD (NORth American Air Defense Command) with the United States and NATO forces in Europe. One of the chief success stories of the Canadian aero industry during the Cold War, the CF-100 went on to be produced in no fewer than 692 total examples and, for a time, stocked Belgian forces overseas into the 1960s.

CF-100 Development

The Canuck emerged from a post-World War 2 Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) requirement of 1946 calling for an all-weather interceptor to help patrol the vastness of the cold, unforgiving north. As part of the massive military drawdown seen after the war, the Canadians would revert to local capabilities apart from the insurance offered through partnership with the great Royal Air Force (RAF) of Britain during wartime. Local Canadian aviation industry held few indigenous successes to date with designs typically entertained but none pushed into adoption nor production - all that would change with the XC-100 proposal.

A two-seat fuselage was adopted which partnered a pilot and navigator with a two-engine jet layout was to provide the necessary power - the latter a design trait common to all early generation turbojet aircraft. The engine of choice became the British Rolls-Royce Avon RA.3 turbojet developing 6,500lbf of thrust to which the XC-100 was finalized by John "Jack" Frost into the CF-100 we recognize today. Other participants in the program held backgrounds from such storied British aviation concerns as de Havilland, Hawker Siddeley, and Gloster which helped ensure the program stayed on its legs. The end-product became CF-100 Mk 1 and two of this model were used to fulfill the prototype testing role. First flight was on January 19th, 1950.

CF-100 Walk-Around

Engineers devised a standard aircraft configuration with their CF-100 initiative. The cockpit, seating two in tandem, fell behind a short nose cone assembly to house a radar suite. The fuselage was long and tubular for the necessary fuel stores, avionics, and internal structure. The wings were straight appendages mounted at midships and each held its own tubular engine nacelle running ahead of the leading edge past the wing trailing edges. This provided good clearance from nearly all angles and directed wash well away from the fuselage and tail unit. The tail unit incorporated a single vertical tail fin with mid-mounted horizontal planes. The tricycle undercarriage was wholly retractable and provided high ground clearance during ground running, take-off, and landing.

Continued Work

Work on the program continued until ten preproduction CF-100 Mk 2 machines arrived including two dual-control versions, designated Mk 2T, to serve as trainers. For the Mk 2, the Avro Orenda turbojet replaced the original British Avons series. This engine was first run in 1949 and would go on to power the Canadair CL-13 "Sabre" fighters (Canadian variants of the famous American F-86 line) with total production of these powerplants reaching 4,000 units by the end - providing much skilled experience in the design, development, and manufacture of turbojet technology for Canadian industry.

Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck (Cont'd)

Jet-Powered High-Altitude Interceptor Aircraft

Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck (Cont'd)

Jet-Powered High-Altitude Interceptor Aircraft

Definitive Service Variants

The initial production-quality, all-weather interceptor form became the CF-100 Mk 3 and the design now incorporated a battery of 8 x 0.50 caliber heavy machine guns in a ventral belly pack with the APG-33 series interception radar in the nose cone. Seventy examples of this mark were built with service entry officially beginning in 1953. The Mk 3A was powered by Orenda 2 series turbojet engines and 21 aircraft were produced as such. The Mk 3B was outfitted with Orenda 8 series turbojet engines and 45 aircraft followed this mold. A sole Mk 3 airframe was converted as a dual-control trainer and served under the Mk 3CT designation until redesignated as the Mk 3D later on.

Back in 1952, a pre-production prototype pulled from the Mk 3 stock served as the Mk 4 variant and went airborne for the first time. The Mk 4 brought along an inherent rocket-firing capability through wingtip pods and the more powerful APG-40 radar system would serve on this type. The wingtip pods fired up to 29 "Mighty Mouse" air-to-air rockets (58 rockets combined) while the original machine gun armament was retained in these forms as backup. The broadened capabilities of the Mk 4 were such that the outstanding order of original Mk 3 interceptors was revised to incorporate at least 54 of the Mk 4 standard models. The Mk 4A was outfitted with Orenda 9 turbojet engines and 137 examples followed. The Mk 4B incorporated Orenda 11 engines and 141 aircraft were manufactured.

Attempting to push the endurance of the CF-100 line as a high-altitude, long-range interceptor, the Mk 5 was born in a further 332 examples. These were powered by either Orenda 11 or Orenda 14 turbojet engines, included enlarged wing surfaces, and lost their machine gun belly armament as a weight-saving measure. The CF-100 Mk 1P, to be forged from the earlier Mk 1 design, was to be a photo-reconnaissance variant of the Mk 1 but was not furthered.

Abandoned Canucks

A final proposed CF-100 form became the ultimately abandoned Mk 6 variant which was to support air-to-air missiles. The Mk 6 was to bridge the gap between the existing stocks of CF-100 interceptors and the soon-to-be Avro CF-105 "Arrow" high-speed interceptor in development. The impressive indigenous Arrow program was eventually cancelled by the incoming government which severely damaged Canadian aero industry in the decades that followed. Today, Canadian air power is once-again purchased from foreign designs and stocks - primarily from the neighboring United States. Many well-preserved examples of CF-100 aircraft are seen throughout Canada, Belgium, and the United States.

Operational Service

The CF-100 acted across thirteen total RCAF squadrons throughout its service tenure. For its time, the line provided an excellent rate-of-climb for interception duties and held a short take-off capability, allowing it to use very little field and operate in more remote, small airstrip areas. CF-100s served alongside American F-86s, F-89s, and F-94s as the early group of airmen and aircraft charged with protection of North American airspace. At one point, the CF-100 was briefly considered by the United States Air Force (USAF) to fulfill a growing all-weather reconnaissance need in the Korean War (1950-1953), the call eventually falling to the English Electric "Canberra" which emerged in the American inventory as the Martin B-57 "Canberra". At least fifty-three Mk 5 interceptors were sold to the Belgian Air Force and served from 1957 to 1964 across all-weather interception wings 11, 349, and 350. Canadian CF-100s were succeeded in service by the American McDonnell CF-101 "Voodoo" high performance interceptor where it was adopted as the "CF-101".


Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 750mph
Lo: 375mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (553mph).

Graph average of 562.5 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck Mk 5's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production (692)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.

Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

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