In 1955, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) realized that it needed a new high-altitude interceptor for its North American air defence squadrons. The CF-100 was too slow to counter a new generation of Soviet bombers. The A.V. Roe Company began development of a new high-altitude interceptor, the CF-105 Arrow. The company was planning to offset the costs of developing a new fighter through sales to the United States and other NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) members. A.V. Roe had sold CF-100 interceptors to Holland and Belgium, and Canadair's Cl-13 Sabre had also been a commercial success.
However, as development of the CF-105 progressed, A.V. Roe made several design changes. The cost of developing the Arrow soared. Once production of the Arrow had begun, the cost of a single CF-105 would be $8 million, far higher than that of existing fighters. At the same time, both the United States and Soviet Union had developed Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) capable of delivering nuclear warheads over vast distances. Many military experts felt that high-altitude interceptors would soon be obsolete. As a result, Canada's Conservative prime minister, John Diefenbaker, cancelled the Arrow project on 20 February 1959.
The CF-105 Arrow was certainly the most sophisticated fighter of its time, and no contemporary aircraft could begin to match its speed and high-altitude performance. Ironically, the Canadian government purchased American designed CF-101 Voodoo fighters to replace the aging CF-100 interceptor in 1961. The CF-101 could not match the speed and performance of the CF-105 Arrow.