A recently published research paper highlights the role of intelligence in the decision to cancel Canada’s Avro Arrow in 1959. The study, titled “Arrows, Bears, and Secrets: The Role of Intelligence in Decisions on the CF-105 Program,” sheds new light on the controversy surrounding the cancellation of the state-of-the-art interceptor.
The research reveals that Canadian intelligence played a significant role in the decision-making process. Intelligence reports pointed to a diminishing need for the costly aircraft as the Soviet Union shifted away from manned bombers towards long-range ballistic missiles. These reports suggested that interceptors like the Avro Arrow would have a smaller role in the defense of North America.
The paper argues that these strategic intelligence assessments, which were previously overlooked, provide a more complete understanding of the decision to cancel the Avro Arrow. It challenges several myths surrounding the cancellation, including claims that Canada was misled by poor U.S. intelligence or that Washington deliberately manipulated the information to influence Canada’s decision.
Author Alan Barnes, a former federal intelligence official, used classified records obtained through the Access to Information Act to support his research. Barnes emphasizes the importance of these newly revealed documents in addressing the longstanding myths surrounding the Avro Arrow.
The paper also highlights Canada’s growing capability to prepare strategic intelligence assessments independently after the Second World War. This analytic capability allowed Canada to participate fully in joint planning with the United States on continental defense and better assess the Soviet threat.
Ultimately, the decision to cancel the Avro Arrow was influenced by changing intelligence assessments that revealed the diminishing threat of Soviet bombers and the growing prominence of ballistic missiles. This shift in strategic thinking deemed the Avro Arrow less necessary for the defense of North America.
– “Arrows, Bears, and Secrets: The Role of Intelligence in Decisions on the CF-105 Program” by Alan Barnes in Canadian Military History (peer-reviewed academic journal)
– The Canadian Press
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