August 3, 2017

Raise the Arrow Underway


An unmanned submarine has been probing the depths of Lake Ontario this week looking for artifacts from what many consider Canada’s proudest aerospace achievment.

As part of the development of the Avro Arrow, nine rocket-powered scale models of the advanced fighter/interceptor were launched for aerodynamic testing. The models themselves were a technological leap in that they transmitted real-time data back to researchers while the models were in flight.

The models are the last known relics of the program, which was famously abandoned in 1959 when then-Prime Minister John Diefenbaker ordered the program halted and all evidence of it destroyed. An intact cockpit and nose section was saved and is in the Canada Air and Space Museum in Ottawa.

The search for the models, dubbed Raise the Arrow, is being funded as part of Canada 150 projects and the submarine is being deployed by Kraken Sonar, of St. John’s NL. The submarine is equipped with a high resolution sonar and was used to find the Franklin Expedition flagship Erebus in Nunavut in 2014.

The overall search is being coordinated by OEX Recovery Group and will cover 64 square kilometres off Point Petre in Prince Edward County. The searchers expect the models will be among many pieces of debris from shipwrecks and even a couple of plane crashes. It’s also unlikely they will be in one piece.

If recoverable artifacts are found, they will be displayed at museums.