Cold War Fighters

Canadian Aircraft Procurement, 1945-54

Randall Wakelem

  • $35.95s paperback (9780774821490) Add to Cart
  • hardcover not available
  • Published: July 2012
  • Subject Listing: Canadian History, Military History
  • Bibliographic information: 208 pp., 16 illus., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: U.S. rights only
  • Distributed for: UBC Press
  • Contents

The mysterious cancellation in 1959 of the CF-105 Arrow, Canada’s state-of-the-art interceptor aircraft, holds such a strong grip on the imagination of Canadians that earlier developments in defence procurement remain in the shadows.

Randall Wakelam corrects this oversight - and demystifies aspects of the AVRO saga - by weaving together a compelling account of high-level decision making and the daily activities of the military between 1945 and 1954, a decade when Canada’s air force was expanding rapidly to meet the Soviet threat. During these years, the cabinet, chiefs of staff, and air marshals were forced to negotiate competing pressures to arm the air force, please allies, and save money. Their decisions resulted in the CF-100 Canuck and the F-86 Sabre, Canada’s front-line defensive aircraft in the coldest years of the Cold War. Although historians assume that the Arrow came on the heels of these successes, Wakelam reveals that neither the air force nor the government believed that AVRO was up to manufacturing even the CF-100 Canuck on budget.

By shining new light on an unexplored aspect of Canadian history, Wakelam also offers fresh insight into current procurement issues, including the government’s decision to purchase the F-35 fighter.

Colonel (ret’d) Randall Wakelam, PhD, teaches military history and leadership at the Royal Military College of Canada and is author of The Science of Bombing: Operational Research in RAF Bomber Command. A pilot in his service career, he also worked in aircraft procurement.