The first Canadian designed and built fighter jet

January 19, 1950, was a historic day in Canadian aviation. This date marked the inaugural flight of the first prototype of Avro Canada’s CF-100, the first fighter jet to be entirely designed and built in Canada. The project began in 1946, becoming the only Canadian designed fighter to be mass-produced. Designated as the CF-100 Canuck, 692 of these jets entered into service with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) as front-line air defence. A further 53 were sold to Belgium.

While the Canuck wasn’t quite as fast as other fighters of the day, this bomber interceptor boasted an excellent climb rate, exceptional radar systems, twin-engine reliability, and all-weather capability. With these features, the CF-100 was well suited to the extreme conditions of Canada's northern regions. The Canuck entered into service with the RCAF in 1953, flying in NORAD and NATO operations until the early 1960s. Even though it wasn’t designed to fly at supersonic speeds, test pilot Janusz Zurakowski broke the sound barrier (Mach 1) in a dive while flying a CF-100 in 1952.

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After being replaced by the McDonnell CF-101 Voodoo, the Canuck was modified with electronic countermeasures (ECM) and chaff-dispensing equipment to serve as an ECM training aircraft. The last CF-100 was retired in 1981. 

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