Beyond The Sprues

Current and Finished Projects => Stories => Topic started by: apophenia on November 05, 2021, 04:36:32 AM

Title: CC-188 Polaris Strategic Transport Aircraft
Post by: apophenia on November 05, 2021, 04:36:32 AM
Origins of the RCAF CC-188 Polaris Strategic Transport

Initially, the RCAF had minimal interest in the US Lockheed Hercules tactical transport. [1] Instead, Department of National Defence planners proposed another rebuild of in-service Fairchild Flying Boxcars for the tactical role. The money saved could then be redirected to a strategic transport and tanker aircraft purchase. To support overseas missions, DND proposed the procurement of the jet-powered Lockheed C-141 strategic transport. In Canadian service, the Lockheed C-141 Starlifter was envisioned playing two major roles. The first was as strategic transports flying equipment, spares, and personnel to reinforce the Canadian military presence in West Germany. The second was as an inflight refuelling tanker. The latter role also related to Canada's NATO commitments, being focused on refuelling Canadair CF-5 fighters enroute to Europe - West Germany or Norway - in a crisis.

Image Lockheed Aircraft drawing of proposed Starlifter inflight refuelling variant and an impression of the CC-141 strategic transport in RCAF service. Note the retractable ski undercarriage arrangement - the development of which Canada was to fund.

DND found it difficult to formulate a firm requirement - with the needed numbers of C-141s varying from four to 11. The latter number was based on replacing the RCAF's then-current fleet of 13 Canadair CC-106 Yukon turboprop long-range transports. The obvious problem was expense. In 1965, 11 Lockheed C-141s would cost Canada $175M (or $1.47B in 2021 CAD). To constrain costs, at one point DND proposed a mixed fleet of C-141s and civilian DC-8 airliners. The DC-8 was intended simply as a back-up personnel carrier (although, light cargo could also be carried - or heavier freight if a cargo door was installed). However, DND planners and RCAF procurement officers continued to be divided on both required numbers and on the Douglas airliner - with many viewing the DC-8 as diverting resources away from a larger C-141 purchase.

The Way of Things - First Money, Then Politics

Promises made during the 27th Canadian general election would have a profound effect on the RCAF and its future procurement. Among those promises were improved connections with the Canadian Arctic [2] and increased RCAF NorPats (Northern Patrols to assert Canadian sovereignty in the High Arctic). To achieve these goals, the Liberal Leader, The Right Honourable Lester B. Pearson, pledged the immediate purchase of existing jet airliners from a Canadian airline. Based on performance numbers already provided by DND, the Douglas DC-8 was the natural choice.

Here, a question which often arises must be addressed. Why didn't Canada simply buy the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker in service with the US Air Force? The answer relates to a planned USAF purchase of Canadair CL-44s - akin to the RCAF CC-106 Yukons - in exchange for F-101 Voodoo interceptors to fill the RCAF's NORAD role. Faced with domestic objections, the USAF dropped its Canadair contract to buy KC-135s instead. That made a Boeing purchase untenable for Ottawa. Fortunately for the GoC, informal inquiries of Canadian airlines had revealed that Vancouver-based Canadian Pacific Airlines (CPA) would be quite happy to divest itself of its earlier-model DC-8s.

The Government of Canada intended that these repurposed civilian airliners would also provide immediate replacements for the RCAF's fleet of Canadair CC-106 Yukon turboprop transports. [3] However, this would not be a one-for-one replacement of the CC-106s. Instead, the GoC intended to match its DC-8 purchase with the procurement of additional Lockheed Hercules tactical transports for the RCAF. With negotiations already underway with Canadian Pacific, DND was informed of the Government of Canada's DC-8 decision through the Department of Defence Production (DDP). Things were moving fast and there more shocks coming down the pike for DND and the RCAF.

Changes on Changes - Canada's 1966 White Paper on Defence

DND was already feeling under the gun. The March 1964 White Paper on Defence led the way for the Canadian Forces Reorganization Act which was intended to 'unify' the Canadian military. [4] However, towards the end of the 27th Canadian general election the Liberal Party of Canada announced their intention to draught yet another White Paper. The hastily-prepared January 1966 White Paper on Defence was meant to organize the implementation of political promises made during that late 1965 Federal Election. This Paper recommended a major shift in the emphases for the branches of the Canadian military. A new emphasis on the Canadian Arctic has already been mentioned. More significant for the RCAF was a planned draw-down of its European combat elements stationed at CFB Lahr and CFB Baden-Soellingen. For Canada's NATO commitment, the air emphasis would now be on the cross-Atlantic transport of men and matériel.

In one fell swoop, the 1966 White Paper on Defence eliminated further consideration of an inflight refuelling capability for the RCAF. The air transport role was to be just that. Under the new plan, DND would focus on leased sea transport in peacetime for the forward-positioning of heavy equipment, ammunition, etc., for the defence of West Germany. This meant the reversal of plans to close the Canadian Army base at Soest while building up Lahr and Baden-Soellingen. It was also planned that the Canadian Army in Europe would integrate more of its procurement with that of the German Bundeswehr. To this end, Canada's Department of Defence Production was to expand its offices in Bonn. By contrast, the Canadian presence in south-western Germany was to be drastically cut back as bases were transferred back to West German control.

(To be continued ...)


[1] Ultimately, the Government of Canada forced the issue. DND's plan to rebuild its twin-engined Fairchilds was over-ruled and, instead, an order was placed for five Lockheed CC-130B Hercules turboprops.

[2] This had escalated from an initial promise of a $100M (2021 = $845M) road-building program in northern Canada. Added during the election debates was a further promise to reduce Arctic living costs while ensuring Canadian sovereignty in the Far North.

[3] The Yukons were not scheduled to reach the end of their operational life until 1973 but the GoC elected to eliminate this fleet while there was still value in the airframes.

[4] Ultimately, this which would lead to the conjoining of the RCAF, Royal Canadian Navy, and Canadian Army on 01 Feb 1968.
Title: Re: CC-188 Polaris Strategic Transport Aircraft
Post by: Gingie on November 05, 2021, 06:24:35 AM
Found this one in the National Defence Image Library. Not bad for pre-photoshop!
Title: Re: CC-188 Polaris Strategic Transport Aircraft
Post by: upnorth on November 05, 2021, 10:59:27 PM
I'm liking where this is going!
Title: Re: CC-188 Polaris Strategic Transport Aircraft
Post by: The Big Gimper on November 06, 2021, 04:01:11 AM
One from John Lacey.
Title: Re: CC-188 Polaris Strategic Transport Aircraft
Post by: apophenia on November 06, 2021, 04:47:17 AM
Thanks folks!

That 'almost-was' CC-141 inspires a fair bit of artwork. I used to have an image of a Lockheed-supplied model in RCAF markings too.


The RCAF CC-188 Polaris - Dissention in the Top Ranks

Integration of the Canadian military began with the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) - the co-ordinating meetings of the Chief of the General Staff, Chief of the Air Staff, and Chief of the Naval Staff. Oddly, the final Chairman of the COSC had been the Deputy Minister of National Defence from 1955 to 1960. In April of 1960, former DM Frank Miller had returned to uniform as an Air Chief Marshal. As a move from integration to unification, the COSC was replaced by a single Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) in August 1964. ACM Miller was appointed as Canada's first CDS by the Minister of National Defence, Paul Hellyer.

The relationship between the Minister and the first CDS would be a rocky one. It was Paul Hellyer who most strongly advocated a full unification of the Canadian military. And it was Hellyer who had championed the abandoning of the RCAF's nuclear strike role in NATO. [1] As CDS, ACM Miller strongly opposed unification and saw Hellyer's preference for conventional strike aircraft in the form of the lightweight Northrop F-5 as completely unworkable. A clash between the MND and his CDS was obviously brewing. But, as a former Deputy Minister at DND, Frank Miller knew the inner workings of that department intimately. Hellyer was in for the fight of his life. And, as history would show, neither man would have things all go his own way ...

"Ah what chilling blows we suffer — thanks to our own conflicting wills ..."

At first, Minister Hellyer seemed to prevail in this battle of wills. NATO HQ in Paris had been put on notice of Canadian role change plans. Then, on 15 July 1965, the Pearson Cabinet approved the purchase of Northrop fighters. Disagreements quickly arose over how many of the Canadair-built CF-5s could be bought for the budgeted $215M (or $1.75B in 2021 values). As Canadair crunched the numbers, the January 1966 White Paper on Defence was unveilled in Parliament. As binding contracts had yet to be signed with Canadair (or engine-maker Orenda), the entire CF-5 programme could be unceremoniously dropped. First goal to ACM Miller.

Thanks, in part, to ACM Miller, the RCAF would not get stuck with the Northrop 'TinkerToy'. As a former student of the Northrop Aeronautical Institute, this had to be a bitter pill for Hellyer.  But, unfortunately for the CDS, the abandonment of the CF-5 programme had no bearing upon planned role changes for the RCAF. Despite that nuclear role having been brought about by the current Prime Minister, the MND had convinced the rest of Cabinet of the correctness of his views on airpower. Prime Minister Pearson made no objections. Indeed, the Government of Canada had now become even more determined to wind down the RCAF's nuclear strike role in Europe. In this area, the MND and CDS had scored a draw.

Unification of the Canadian military was also proceeding on schedule. Any hopes to the contrary had been dashed with the release of the 1966 White Paper. That document made clear that the air role in NATO was to be completely rewritten. Would there be a new tactical fighter at all? With the GoC shifting the RCAF away from a combat role in Europe, perhaps a replacement NORAD interceptor was in the offing? No answers were forthcoming. But, explicit in the new White Paper was that the CC-106 Yukon fleet was to be retired ahead of schedule and replaced by a fleet of used airliners. If that was a goal at all, credit must go to the Finance Minister, Walter Gordon.

Meanwhile, the Department of Defence Production (DDP) had taken the transport bit between its teeth. The DDP was operating under a rather misleading working title - the Military Aircraft Procurement Options for Canada (MAPOC) programme. [2] Taken literally, MAPOC suggested an omnibus programme. At the time, however, MAPOC was very much a one-trick pony. Some would say that MAPOC was simply a cover operation for the DC-8 purchase - known behind closed-doors as the 'Strategic Transport Aircraft Procurement Options' (STAPO) project.

(To be continued ...)


[1] Ironically, it had been Diefenbaker's Progressive Conservative government which had declined to accept nuclear warheads for the RCAF CF-104s in Europe. Accepting nuclear weapons had been a divisive point in the Canadian political debate since 1960. But, it was the newly-elected Liberal Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson who finally accepted nuclear warheads for RCAF Boeing CIM-10 Bomarc missiles on 31 Dec 1963. That decision temporarily improved US-Canada relations but also put Pearson under increased pressure to approve nuclear bombs for RCAF CF-104s.

[2] Within the DDP, MAPOC was often referred to by its French acronym, OAAMC (for Options d'approvisionnement d'avions militaires pour le Canada). It has since been inplied that such usage was intended to cloak GoC actions from a then anglophone-dominated DND.
Title: Re: CC-188 Polaris Strategic Transport Aircraft
Post by: apophenia on November 08, 2021, 11:01:06 AM
Backrooms and Closed-Door Negotiations

The Pearson Cabinet quickly concluded that Canadian Pacific Airlines's five DC-8-43s were the most promising candidates for a new 'Strategic Transport Aircraft' for the RCAF. Designed for intercontinental operations, the DC-8-43 had a maximum range of 5,092 miles (carrying 19,485 Imperial Gallons of fuel). This aircraft was already proven on Canada-to-Europe routes. would face no major difficulties flying out of major airports in the Canadian Arctic without needing to refuel up North. Benefits were also seen in fleet commonality - all CPA DC-8-43s having been built to the same standards and delivered between Feb 1961 and May 1963. [1] All that remained was for CPA and the Department of Defence Production to reach an agreement on a reasonable resale price for these aircraft and their delivery schedule.

Through the 1966 White Paper, the Chief of Defence Staff was well aware of the GoC's intentions. However, it was not until negotiations with CPA were underway that DND was informed of any details. As anticipated, the RCAF brass objected both to proposed role changes dictated by the 1966 White Paper and to the specifics of the DC-8 procurement. The latter were myriad. How could DND be expected to adapt to this sudden imposition of unfamiliar aircraft and engines? [2] How could a fleet of five jetliners possible support Canadian troops in Europe while simultaneously be expected to help 'build infrastructure' in Canada's under-developed North ... not to mention PM Pearson's favoured UN peacekeeping missions? The Canadian press - especially the Thompson newspaper chain - smelled blood.

Opposition Within the Official Opposition

In 1966, the Official Opposition in the House of Commons was shared between the Progressive Conservatives and Social Credit. The preferred target for the PC Opposition was Finance Minister Walter Gordon. Invariably, however, Speaker Lucien Lamoureux would referred questions in the House of Commons to the Ministers of relevant departments. Having little success in Question Period on the DC-8 issue, Conservative Leader John Diefenbaker left attacks on the airliner purchase to Tory departmental critics for Finance, Transport, and Defence. By contrast, Social Credit leader Robert Thompson was uncharacteristically quiet on the DC-8 issue.

The Social Credit Party had become less supportive of the Canadian military over time. Back in 1949, the Party had advocated full support of NATO. But, by 1957, warnings against wastefulness in military spending were being issued. Under Thompson's leadership, the Socreds began urging fuller support of the UN "the cause of world peace" instead of alliance memberships. A former wartime RCAF pilot himself, Robert Thompson also had hands-on experience with international aid (in postwar Ethiopia). [3] Although they never went on record saying so, Thompson and many of his fellow Socred MPs quietly supported the shift from RCAF NATO combat missions to an emphasis on a transport role which including support of UN peacekeeping.

As usual, New Democrats members were more widely divided. Most sitting members of the NDP supported the changes in the 1966 White Paper on Defence - especially those emphasizing support for UN peacekeeping.Grace MacInnis, MP stood in the House to question the lack of competitive bidding in the deal with Canadian Pacific Airlines. However, like much of the NDP, MacInnis was more distracted by debates surrounding the Medical Care Act. [4] Similarly, NDP co-founder Stanley Knowles tried to revive the non-competitive contract issue to undermine the DDP. That too had little effect. As a dedicated advocate of social justice issues, Knowles was out of his depth on matters of procurement. Thereafter, New Democrat MPs tended to ignore the DC-8 purchase.

Attempts were made by Tory critics to deride the competence of the Department of Defence Procurement. But questions on the purchasing process were briskly and efficiently answered in the House of Commons by the DDP Minister, Charles Drury. And it would prove impossible to undercut 'Bud' Drury's credibility - BGen Drury was still on the rolls of the Canadian Army's Supplementary Reserve. [5] The Minister knew what he was about. Queries about potential United Nations missions were equally ineffective avenues of attack. [6]

Minister of National Defence Paul Hellyer had a way of turning responses in Question Period into a lecture on airpower - or, at least, on Hellyer's idiosyncratic take of that subject. Although Hellyer's monologues were obvious obfuscation, it proved an effective tactic. No quotable bons mots emerged from these lengthy lectures and, by the end of Hellyer's rambles, even the questioner had usually lost interest. Jack Pickersgill, Minister of Transport, had the easiest time of it. As a longtime veteran of the Prime Minister's Office, Pickersgill was not going to be caught off-guard. Later, as an MP, Pickersgill had became the leading Opposition tormentor of Diefenbaker's government. Tory critics rarely aimed there questions at him

In a process of elimination, the brunt of the Tory attacks fell on Lucien Cardin, the Minister of Public Works. Although Public Works played a relatively minor part in the DC-8 procurement, Tory strategists had identified Cardin as a potential weak link. Having recently been the Associate Minister of National Defence, Cardin was well-aware of Cabinet discussions leading to the DC-8. However, in his new role at Public Works, Lucien Cardin had been briefed to give terse answers which implied that his critic's questions were being addressed to the wrong agency. This gambit worked and often resulted in questioners being rebuked by the Speaker of the House of Commons. Tory critics found themselves going in circles. The scent of scandal was fading and the Canadian media quickly lost interest in the DC-8 story.

(To be continued ...)


[1] A sixth DC-8-43 had been delivered to CPA - CF-CPK 45761/237 in Oct 1965. Unfortunately, in March 1966 - just before purchase negotiations began, the 'Empress of Edmonton' (CF-CPK, c/n 45761/237), had came down in the sea short of Haneda (Tokyo).

[2] The DC-8 had no military record of any kind. As for the DC-8-43 powerplant, its Conway turbofans also powered the British Vickers VC10 but this transport was only just about to enter RAF service. In 1966, the only in-service aircraft powered by Conway was the Vickers Victor B.2 bomber. According to RCAF spokesmen, there was a lack of military experience with the Conway. A half decade of successful use of the Conway in British bombers made those RCAF statements difficult to parse

[3] Thompson, an evangelical Christian, had made a connection with the RCAF's senior chaplain. Padre Gerald Gregson knew the Emperor of Ethiopia and, after the war, recommended former P/O Thompson to Haile Selassie.

[4] It may also be that the DC-8 debate simply did not serve MacInnis well. In her Vancouver-Kingsway riding, many saw the purchase as a rare example of Ottawa favouring the West Coast. Beyond distracting her from the MediCare debate and other social issues, Grace MacInnes was also the daughter of JS Woodsworth - party founder and staunch advocate for pacifism.

[5] 'Bud' Drury had risen to the rank of Brigadier while serving with the Royal Canadian Artillery in Europe during WW2. He was following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Major-General Charles William Drury, CB -  'The Father of Canadian Artillery'.

[6] After WW2 ended, Drury had gone to Poland as chief of the UN Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.
Title: Re: CC-188 Polaris Strategic Transport Aircraft
Post by: apophenia on November 11, 2021, 09:53:39 AM
'RCAF Airlines' - Enter the Douglas Jetliner

One Question Period query resulted in another revelation. That query parroted RCAF statements that the force could not possibly be expected to phase in a new aircraft type quickly enough to cover the abrupt change of NATO roles. The timing question was easily answered. As the Department of Defence Production haggled with Canadian Pacific, a separate deal had been struck with Air Canada for the wet-lease of DC-8-54CF (Convertible Freighter) 'combi' passenger and cargo carriers. Under this agreement with the Government of Canada, Air Canada would provide aircraft, maintenance services, and flight/cabin crews for a contracted period of 12 months. It was assumed that year would cover time needed for conversion of CPA DC-8s as well as RCAF crew training.

The Air Canada aircraft would be given the DND designation of CC-188A and named Polaris I. [1] These leased aircraft - flown in quasi-RCAF markings - would be operated from Air Canada's maintenance base at Montréal–Dorval International (YUL). For the transition year, RCAF crews from No.437 (Transport) Squadron at CFB Trenton, ON, would continue to operate Canadair CC-106 Yukon turboprop transports. Other RCAF personnel would train alongside Air Canada staff aboard the CC-188As. Ultimately, as ex-CPA aircraft entered RCAF service, these 'full' CC-188 Polaris IIs would displace No.437 Squadron's Yukons.

Bottom Leased Douglas CC-188A Polaris I in modified Air Canada livery, at CFB Trenton, ON, 15 Jan 1967. For this inaugural CC-188A troop transporting mission, Polaris 188101 wears Canadian Centennial badges on its tailfin.

'The Westphalian Express' - By CC-188 To Europe

Meanwhile, negotiation had been completed with the governments of both West Germany and the United Kingdom. This was to arrange landing rights as opposed to establishing new bases. With the Canadian Army remaining at CFB Soest, landing rights were needed in Nordrhein-Westfalen. The logical choice for landing DC-8s was Düsseldorf (DUS), 100 km to the southwest of the base. [2] However, the Canadian Army had also wanted rights for landing tactical transport aircraft closer to Soest. Accordingly, rights were also secured for the new regional airport at Dortmund (DTM) - its shorter runways being deemed sufficient for CC-130 Hercules operations. As a transit point for Canadian troops heading for West Germany by Hercules, the GoC organized landing rights at Tees-side Airport (MME) in North Yorkshire. [3]

For tactical transport operations, the Hercules would connect with CC-188 Polaris IIs at Tees-side. In peacetime, Canadian troops were to have an overnight rest stop at nearby CFS Darlington barracks before embark upon RCAF CC-130Es at Tees-side for the hop from Yorkshire to Dortmund. In some cases, Hercules flew fully-equipped Canadian troops directly into active exercise areas in West Germany. Leased CC-188As made the first flights into both Tees-side and Düsseldorf. But only then did the next bombshell land - the future Canadian basing of CC-188 Polaris IIs.

'Go West, young man ...' and then turn North

Although the ex-CPA aircraft would enter service with No.437 (Transport) Squadron, the CC-188 Polaris IIs would not remain with that Trenton-based unit. [4] Instead, when ready, the DC-8s were to be transferred to the newly-reformed No.420 'Snowy Owl' Squadron which would be located at CFB Namao outside of Edmonton, AB. [5] This would allowed the squadron's aircraft to fly Great Circle routes from Edmonton to North Yorkshire (or directly to Düsseldorf). CFB Namao also gave quickly access by air to the Arctic airports selected as hubs. Troops from CFB Suffield and CFB Wainwright could also be transported to Namao quite quickly for NATO deployments to West Germany. By that plan, No.420 was reformed at CFB Trenton in Nov 1967, relocating to CFB Namao with its first CC-188 in January of 1968.

From Civvie Street to Militarized DC-8s

Of course, before any of this could happen, the CPA DC-8s had to be converted to meet RCAF requirements. To that end, the CPA fleet rotated one-at-a-time through through the airline's Britannia Hangar (Building T-131) for the removal of select equipment and final check-overs. [6] From YVR, each DC-8-43 would be flown by CPA crews to the Canadair plant at Cartierville, Quebec (YCV). Although the DC-8 conversion was, technically, a project of Douglas Aircraft of Canada, Canadair was the active sub-contractor. [7] Cargo doors and other conversion components were received at Cartierville as kits shipped north from Douglas Long Beach.

At Canadair's Cartierville plant, remaining CPA interior fittings were stripped. Cabin floors were reinforced and the Douglas-supplied cargo doors were installed in the forward portside fuselage. Former CPA seats were then fitted to removable pallets as were new galleys. The result was, effectively, a Conway-powered equivalent to the 'combi' CC-188As leased from Air Canada. [8] In a typical 'combi' layout on 'Westphalian Express' flights, the CC-188 Polaris II would carry - from the aft forward - 65-to-85 fully-equipped troops, ancillary equipment and supplies, as well as urgently-needed spares and other priority cargo. Extra, containerized cargo was loaded below decks. For Arctic supply missions, seating pallets were mounted for 54 passengers with palletized and/or containerized cargo freight forward. The below decks hold was used to carry extra fuel - both plumbed in for the aircraft itself or for pumping off at Northern fields.

The conversion arrangement with Canadair was derided as being a 'make work' contract. And this criticism was't unfounded. Canadair had found its Northrop fighter deal cut at the last moment. To some degree, the DC-8 work was compensation - although the Government of Canada would still find it necessary to resume control of Canadair later when US owners General Dynamics threatened to shut down their former cash-cow. But, with this still in the future, Canadair needed the work. As was Canadair's custom, a distinct designation was applied to their conversion work. An out-of-sequence designation - Canadair CL-288 - was chosen for its '8' associations. Douglas Aircraft referred to the conversion by the convoluted designation of DC-8-43(CF)M (for 'Military'). However, the aircraft were just as likely to be referred to unofficially as a 'Douglas-Canadair DC-8M'.

From Cartierville, the converted DC-8s went to Dorval (YUL) for refinishing by Atlantic Aviation. Initially, a complete repainting was planned. However, the retouching of Air Canada markings on the leased aircraft made obvious the savings which were to be made. As a result, a revised CPA scheme was devised which incorporated Canadian national insignia and RCAF markings. Once applied, the 'new' CC-188 Polaris IIs were ferried to CFB Trenton.

(To be continued ...)


[1] The Polaris name was, of course, derived from that of an earlier Douglas transport derivative in RCAF service - the DC-4 derived Canadair CL-2 North Star of the late 1940s.

[2] At Flughafen Düsseldorf, the West German charter carrier LTU would provide hangars and maintenance support for the CC-188s. By 1969 the main runway at DUS would be lengthened to 3,000 m.

[3] This airport had an earlier Canadian connection back when it was RAF Middleton St George. During WW2 bomber squadrons of No. 6 (RCAF) Group were stationed at RAF Middleton St George - including Numbers 419, 420, and 428 squadrons.

[4]No.437 (T) Squadron would then relinquish its strategic transport role for a tactical one as the first RCAF unit equipped with the new CC-130H Hercules.

[5] CFB Namao had a 4,200 m runway, capable of supporting USAF SAC bombers. Under 'unification', the base would combine strategic transport aircraft operations alongside Land Forces marshalled in the Steele Barracks.

[6] It would be more accurate to say 'at' the Britannia Hangar  as opposed to 'through' since Building T-131 was one-side and this 1957 hangar's door needed cut-outs to accommodate the tail surfaces of the DC-8.

CPA - soon to be rebranded as CP Air - was aiming at a 'stretch' DC-8-63 dominated fleet. However, some routes - such as the South American runs - still favoured 'short' bodies. To that end, each DC-8-43 was 'released' as its JT3D-powered DC-8-51 or DC-8-53 replacement arrived. Only the final CPA transfer - c/n 45620 ex-CF-CPF - was directly replaced by a DC-8-63.

[7] Douglas Aircraft of Canada had been formed in 1965 but it wasn't until 1968 that sub-contracting work (on DC-9 components) was begun at the company recently-purchased facilities in Toronto.

[8] When constructed, Air Canada's DC-8-54CF freighters were fitted with moveable partitions and had their
rear pressure bulkheads moved aft by 2.10 m. The CC-138 conversions received the same partitions but their rear bulkheads remained in their original positions.
Title: Re: CC-188 Polaris Strategic Transport Aircraft
Post by: apophenia on November 19, 2021, 04:07:37 AM
Living in Interesting Times - Canadair's Temporary Travails

The original Canadair proposal for a militarized DC-8 incorporated a 'swing-tail' derived from the firm's  work on the CL-44 series. This CL-288(iv) concept was not Canadair's most radical concept. As an add-on to the Arctic supply requirement, Canadair put forward the CL-288(viii) - aka CL-288MG (Military Guppy - devised with the assistance of Santa Barbara-based Conroy Aircraft. The CL-288MG was another 'swing-tail' but, this time, with the addition of a grotesquely oversized upper fuselage lobe in the style of the Conway 'Guppy' conversions. The Government of Canada rejected such concepts in favour of the Canadair CL-288(ii) - a straightforward conversion which could be realized much more quickly. As the CC-188, the CL-288(ii) would also be substantially less expensive than its 'swing-tail' equivalents.

By 1968, the Canadair equation had changed. Canadair had always been a money-maker for its American owners, General Dynamics. But with the loss of the Northrop F-5 production contract and world militaries showing no real interest in the developmentally expensive CL-84 VTOL aircraft, Canadair had slipped into the red. In the Autumn of 1968, the new Trudeau Liberal government announced that the Government of Canada would resume control of Canadair on 01 June 1969. In a joint statement by Deputy Prime Minister Allan MacEachen and Minister of Industry Charles Drury, it was revealed that Canada would pay General Dynamics $24M ($172.34M in 2021 values) to take back control of Canadair. With the prospect of increased political interference and the loss of direct connections with the US aerospace sector, the mood on the Cartierville shop floor was sour.

In fact, schemes already underway in the Department of Defence Production (DDP) were intended to further compensate Canadair for work lost when CF-5 production plans were cancelled. The first was the matter at hand - the replacement of RCAF CC-106 Yukon strategic transports with refurbished DC-8s. The second was the planned replacement of another Canadair-built RCAF aircraft - the CP-107 Argus maritime patrol plane. The latter was to be replaced by the latest model Lockheed P-3C Orion. [1] Some 22 of these Lockheed aircraft would enter CAF service as CP-143C Orions in 1970-71. [2]

The CP-143C was smaller and, in some ways, less capable than the Canadair Argus. However, the piston-engined Argus fleet was becoming obsolete - both electronically and as aircraft. Advised by the DDP, the new Trudeau Liberal Cabinet chose to buy new, standardized airframes rather than perform another update on the aging Argus fleet. This announcement came as something of blow to morale on the factory floor at Cartierville. In one fell swoop, Canadair's largest and most prestigious products - the CC-106 Yukon strategic transport and CP-107 Argus patrol plane - were to be retired early. Other than some component sub-contracting arranged with Lockheed, Canadair was to play no part in the production of the CP-143Cs (or any other Orions. Within Canadair, the firm's take-off by the Government of Canada was beginning to look grim.

Big Changes at the Top - Canadair ReBorn

Wearing two ministerial hats - Industry and Defence Production - 'Bud' Drury announced that, as Yukon and Argus fleet were retired, the airframes would be returned to Canadair for refurbishment and disposal. Well, that was something and buoyed the mood at Cartierville. When pressed for details in the House of Commons, Drury let the other shoe drop. Now Government-owned, Canadair was to favour potential Canadian buyers with the best terms of sale reserved for carriers bidding on GoC contracts to provide aerial freight services in the Canadian Arctic. With nationalism still riding high from Canadian Centennial celebrations, the Official Opposition found in difficult to denounce this plan. Instead, the scheme was supported - in principal - but with dire warnings of a project likely to be tied up in red-tape and otherwise sabotaged by Government interference. The latter had already begun.

As soon as the GoC took control of Canadair, the General Dynamics-appointed Board of Directors was dismissed along with President Frederick R. Kearns - who had held that position since 1965. Replacing Kearns would be a tough job but Drury believed that he had already encountered just the man. Moose Jaw-born Albert William Baker had a rare combination of experience - early in this career he had flown in the Canadian Arctic, later he had worked in aircraft marketing and manufacture. [3] In 1968, Bill Baker was Vice President and Deputy General Manager of Douglas Aircraft of Canada. He was on his way up but 'Bud' Drury's offer to head Canadair was a challenge that Baker couldn't refuse. Bill Baker accepted Drury's offer and became President and General Manager of Canadair Ltd. in March 1969.

Through the DC-8 refurbishment programme, some at Canadair had already been introduced to Bill Baker. To others in Cartierville, Baker was simply an outsider and a government appointee at that. But, sometimes, a government appointee can be most welcome. Such was the case for Canadair's new Chairman of the Board - J. Geoffrey Notman, OBE. Under General Dynamics ancien régime, Geoffrey Notman had been President of Canadair from 1952 to 1965. Although the role of Chairman better-suited a now-elderly Notman, this cultivated gentleman proved surprisingly adept at morale-raising on the factory floor. Notman's regular strolls through the hangars and offices imparted a sense of continuity where none actually existed. Bill Baker was quick to see the effect that Geoffrey Notman was having on the work force and, when time permitted, would join l'éminence grise on his rounds.

Thinking Big - The Guppy and Canadair's Cargo Carriers

As the last CC-188 Polaris II for the air force was completed, work had already begun on refurbishing ex-RCAF CC-106 Yukon transports for resale. The Government of Canada saw this arrangement as a win-win - GoC assets went back to their Original Equipment Manufacturer. Work was provided for the now state-owned OEM and top price could be anticipated on the sale of second-hand aircraft under warrantee by their original maker. And there was no question that Cartierville needed the work. Completed Yukon refurbishments were placed on the market as Canadair CL-44-6C 'Combi Carrier' mixed passenger freighters. Interspersed amongst the CL-44-6C work were more extensive CP-107 Argus rebuilds.

The Argus rebuild work was more about what was removed than what needed adding. The ex-RCAF airframes were stripped of all maritime patrol sensors, equipment, and crew work stations. The floor were reinforced and provide with cargo tie-down points. A large, Yukon-style cargo door was added - but in the portside rear fuselage for the CL-28-1CC and '2CC Cargo Carriers. An oddity in Western civilian planes was the retention of the former observer's glazed position in the nose. This - like the Argus' extra-large cockpit windows was thought useful when landing in poor visibility on less-equipped Arctic airfields. As in contemporary Soviet transport aircraft, the civil CL-28's navigator rode up front in that plexiglass nose during approaches and landing.

While the CC-107's piston engines were becoming a liability in many sectors, that was less true in the air freight industry. Indeed, up in the Arctic, the greater availability of AvGas made pistons a positive advantage. That said, the mighty Argus also had an imposing endurance. As with the military's new CC-188 jet transports, the CL-28-1CC and '2CC Cargo Carriers would rarely need refuelling in the North. That self-sufficiency alone gave the 'civilianized' CL-28s a major advantage for operators bidding on Arctic supply contracts from the Federal government. Several Canadian air cargo specialist operators were formed specifically to bid on those lucrative Arctic supply jobs - the best-remembered being Argus Air Cargo.

Argus Air Cargo operated one CL-28-1CC Cargo Carrier conversion as well as the pair of out-sized cargo carriers that the firm is remembered for. These two CL-28C (Cargo) [4] conversions were a joint project between Canadair and its partner on the unbuilt DC-8 conversion - the CL-288MG (Military Guppy, Conroy Aircraft. Under this agreement Canadair supplied stripped and refurbished Argus airframes to Conroy at Goleta Airport in California. There, Conroy removed the CL-28's upper fuselage - a fairly simple process as the Argus was unpressurized - and a much-enlarged upper fuselage lobe was added. The most complex part of the conversion was the creation of a CL-44D-like 'swing tail' for out-sized cargo loading.

Alas, it turned out that there was a limited market for out-sized cargo carrying in Canada's North. After flying in large equipment for two NWT mining operations and some prefab housing components for the GoC, the two CL-28Cs sat idle at Winnipeg. Despite on-going cargo contracts for their sole CL-28-1CC, Argus Air Cargo's principals soon found themselves in trouble. After just after a year of operations, the company entered voluntary receivership. The receivers sold the out-sized cargo carriers to Airlift International in the US and the two CL-28Cs would operate out of Miami International Airport for the next decade. [5]

(To be continued ...)


[1] The Orion was dubbed 'P-3CC' by the press but, in reality, there was almost no ' Canadianization'. Indeed, that was rather the point - to have ASW aircraft in service which could be routinely updated with standard US Navy upgrade packages.

[2] In late 1968, two P-3B models were leased from the US Navy for familiarization flying. In 1972, these aircraft were purchased outright and employed as CP-143T crew trainers.

[3] In 1960, Bill Baker took over a moribund Fleet Manufacturing Company. Baker pulled Fleet back from the verge of bankruptcy and had it profitable within a year. In five years, Fleet had over 700 employees and a backlog of component orders. In December of 1965, Baker went to the Douglas Aircraft of Canada as a Director and VP of Operations.

[4] Although widely referred to as the CL-28C, the Canadair designation was CL-28-1C (Cargo). However, invariably the CL-28-1C was dubbed the 'Argus Guppy'.

[5] Airlift International also bought a stripped but otherwise unconverted CP-107 from Canadair. Used as a parts plane, this Argus was visible for years, parked at Dade-Collier Airport west of Miami. When Argus Air Cargo tanked, its sole CL-28-1CC was sold to Transmeridian Air Cargo in the UK.

Title: Re: CC-188 Polaris Strategic Transport Aircraft
Post by: apophenia on November 21, 2021, 05:46:30 AM
Northern Patrol - Canadair's NorPat/Maritime Patrol DC-8

The first 'civilianized' Argus conversions undertaken at Cartierville were two CL-28-2 variants. These were duly converted to CL-28-2CC Cargo Carrier standard after all military sensors and other operational kit were put aside. Here the CC-106 and CP-107 conversions dovetail with the 'militarized' DC-8 programme. While the CP-106 Argus fleet was to be replaced in their maritime patrol role by the CP-143C Onion, the dedicated NorPat role was now to be performed by modified DC-8s. Fortunately, the Air Canada DC-8-43s had come on the blocks and the Government of Canada had first refusal.

It was decided to convert several DC-8s to form a dedicated Northern Patrol force. At first, the plan was to use 'combi' aircraft with observation windows but minimal sensors. This scheme was ultimately rejected because it was seen to have minimal deterrence value. Instead, in the revised plan, the NorPat DC-8s would be fitted with maritime patrol sensors taken from the retiring CP-107 Argus airframes. This would allow converted DC-8s to fly lengthy NorPats as well as conventional over-ocean maritime patrols when needed.

Equipment gathered for this DC-8 conversion had all been taken from late-model CL-28-2 Argus Mk.2 variants fitted with EMI ASV-21 search radar. Although of 1950s vintage, the British ASV 21 radar set was considered more than adequate for the planned roles - indeed, this same set still equipped RAF Nimrod MR1 patrol planes. [1] For the DC-8 conversion, the biggest equipment changes were with radomes. The upper comms radome combined with a navigation bubble. This worked fine on the unpressurized Argus but was unsuited to the DC-8. The different fuselage shapes also dictated a new radome for the underbelly search radar radome. That, in part, dictated a major antenna placement redesign for the DC-8. [2]

With the decision to position the ASV 21 antenna in the extreme nose of the DC-8, a new mount and radome designs were needed. That design work was undertaken by Douglas Aircraft in Oklahoma. Douglas' Tulsa facility had previously been responsible for the outsized 'Snoopy Nose' radome design for USAF EC-135N A/RIA aircraft. While the ASV 21 antenna was much smaller, the large radome still necessitated an entirely new 'nose cap' for the DC-8. While this mainly consisted of an aerodynamic fairing, a major reworking of the lower nose intakes for the DC-8's heat exchangers and turbocompressors. This changes were incorporated into ship-sets built at Douglas' Tulsa facility and, appropriately enough, flown to Cartierville aboard Canadair's swing-tail CL-44D demonstrator.

CP-188B Arcturus - NorPats Enter the Jet-Age

Canadair re-delivered the first NorPat conversion CP-188B Arcturus airframe in early October 1970. [3]
The aircraft was assigned to No.408 Goose Squadron - which had been re-activated at CFB Namao on 01 January 1971. At first, No.408 acted as a 'lodger unit' of No.420 'Snowy Owl' Squadron. Commonality between No.420's CC-188 Polaris and No.408's CP-188B Arcturus made this match a natural one. At Namao, No.420 personnel were responsible for most airframe and powerplant maintenance while No.408 handled their aircraft's specialized sensors and electronics fit. Over time, home base for No.408 Goose Squadron came to be considered CFB Goose Bay - over 3,400 km to the east on the coast of Labrador.

The shift of home base had no practical implications. Instead, it was based upon the track of Northern Patrol flights. Weather dependent, NorPats were flown out of Namao to track north along the Yukon/NWT border. Upon reaching the Beaufort Sea, the CP-188B would turn eastward to follow the Arctic coast of the Canadian mainland or northeast to fly along the Northwest Passage. After skirting Baffin Island, the Arcturus would follow Hudson or Davis Strait to the Labrador Sea before turning south for recovery at Goose Bay. After a layover at 'home base', the crew and its CP-188B would reverse their route for a NorPat back to Namao. If weather thwarted an immediate return East-West NorPat, it was not unusual for Arcturus crews to be assigned an alternative maritime patrol out over the North Atlantic.

CP-109T Cosmos - NorPat, Maritime Patrol, and Nav Trainers

Another, related Canadair conversion was for the CP-109T Cosmos. All surviving CC-109 Cosmopolitan VIP transports were withdrawn from service for conversion into trainers. The Cosmopolitan name was retained for the four CT-109N navigation trainers. Rather dully, the CP-109T patrol trainers were renamed Cosmos (rather than Aurora, as was proposed). The sensor fit for the CP-109T Cosmos came directly from retiring CP-107 Argus airframes. The prototype CP-109T conversion - CAF 109154 - was fitted with the American General Electric AN/APS-20 radar set from the CL-28-1 Argus Mk.1. It was then decided that there were sufficient ASV 21 sets from the CL-28-2 Argus Mk.2 to equip both the CP-188B Arcturus and Cosmos fleets. Prototype '154 was later brought up to standard Cosmos configuration. [4] The resulting CP-109T Cosmos provided the CAF with an odd combination of sensors akin to those of the CP-188B and engine commonality with the new CP-143C Orion maritime patrol aircraft.

(To be continued ...)


[1] Through regular contact with EMI Electronics, Canada's air force was well aware that an ASV 21 replacement was in the works (emerging in the late '70s as the EMI Searchwater radar). This new radar type was also seen as a potential replacement set for the NorPat DC-8s.

[2] A second motivator was concerns about FOD to a belly radome. Whereas the Argus nose was placed behind the radar antenna's position, the DC-8's nose gear would have been in front of the radome.

[3] Understandibly, the CP-188B roll-out was overshadowed by the October Crisis and resulting declaration of the War Measures Act. The CP-188B was not officially unveilled until the aircraft arrived at CFB Namao.

[4] Along with the ASV 21 search radar being fitted, '154 also had its nose weather radar installation restored. Thus equipped, the CP-109T Cosmos first flew training missions from CFB Greenwood before adding operational patrols when the CP-121 Trackers were retired.
Title: Re: CC-188 Polaris Strategic Transport Aircraft
Post by: GTX_Admin on November 22, 2021, 12:45:49 AM
Title: Re: CC-188 Polaris Strategic Transport Aircraft
Post by: apophenia on November 23, 2021, 07:08:55 AM
Upheaval at Canadair and the Future of the Military DC-8s

On the factory floor, things were hopping at Canadair in the early 1970s. But 'stagflation' was beginning to bite in the Canadian economy. Gone were the predictable days of production lines. After the '73 Energy Crisis, everything at Cartierville was suddenly mend, make-do, and modify. In the previous 3 years, there had been 4,000 lay-offs at Canadair which threatened the firm's long-standing Productivity Improvement Plan agreements with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (Lodge 712). It was not that strike action was likely but there had been union unrest after Canadair management had fired politically-active workers accused of being disruptive. [1]

A moderating factor was efforts by Canadair to place laid-off former employees at other Canadair facilities. This was all part of President Bill Baker's expansion and diversification programme. Ville de Montréal had being pushing for years to close down Cartierville airport (YCV). Success in this would make Canadair's current facilities untenable. Within Baker's expansion plan, work sites would be determined mainly by airframe size. The Cartierville plant (Canadair CV) was temporarily designated the Large Aircraft Centre (LAC) - which naturally included DC-8 conversion work and 'heavy maintenance'. In the longer term, plans were afoot to relocate the LAC to a suitable facility at Dorval (YUL). [2]

In the short-term, CC-188 and CP-188B conversions were undertaken at Cartierville interspersed with Argus and Yukon 'civilianization'. Added to that mix were later CP-109T Cosmo conversions and refurbishment. Canadair desperately needed to expand and the firm leased facilities in Moncton, NB (Canadair MO). [3] There, Canadair's new Business Jet Group was re-established with a new mission. This was the engineering of an update for early-model Dassault Falcon Jet biz-jets for re-engining with Rolls-Royce/Turbomeca Adour Mk 151 turbofan engines - for Canadian Forces CC-117s, this included conversion to CP-117A Dene patrol aircraft standards). Moncton would also play a part in the next phase of the Canadian Forces DC-8 story.

Updates - Re-Engining Candidates for the Conway DC-8s

DND had sought out engine commonality for its DC-8 fleet by purchasing Conway-powered variants for conversion. However, this Rolls-Royce low-bypass turbofan dated back to the 1950s, was a notorious 'fuel hog'. The Conway had become unacceptably noisy. Canadair began studying potential replacement engines as early as 1970. The leading candidate was a member of Rolls-Royce's new Advanced Technology Engine family of large-bypass turbofans - the RB.205. This specific engine type was of interest primarily because its core was based upon that of the RB.168 Spey - the RB.168-25R Mk 201 variant powering Canada's McDonnell-Douglas CF-204 Phantom interceptors. [4] Unfortunately, timing was not on Canada's side. The RB.205 was dropped just before the larger RB.211 dragged Rolls-Royce Limited into bankruptcy.

Cammacorp Comes Calling - The Re-Engined CC-188M and CP-188M

With hopes for the RB.205 dashed, there seemed to be no suitable Conway replacement engine. Almost a decade later, Cammacorp was formed to fit DC-8s with CFMI high-bypass turbofans. Canadair was able to modify the Cammacorp pylon kit for DC-8-71 conversion to suit the DC-8-43 airframe. The result was the Canadair-Cammacorp DC-8-43/70 conversion kit which were assembled at Canadair MO in Moncton. These kits were first applied to the Arcturus fleet, creating the CP-188M (M for 'Modified'). The first CP-188M Arcturus conversion was redelivered to 408 Goose Squadron in late 1980.

The CP-188M Arcturus conversion involved more than just an engine-change. The Arcturus Incremental Modernization Scheme (AIMS) had four phases. AIMS-1 saw the installation of a bulged weapons bay in the former forward cargo hold. AIMS-2 covered general airframe refurbishment and repainting. AIMS-2 went hand-in-hand with AIMS-3 - the replacement of 1950s-vintage avionics and sensors (all based on CP-143 Orion upgrade components). AIMS-4 saw the pylon replacement and installation of CFM56 engines. Each Arcturus was cycled through Canadair MO three times - for AIMS-1, AIMS-2 with AIM-3, and finally AIMS-4.

The CP-188M Arcturus were somewhat overpowered with their four new 22,000 lb CFM56-2C1 engines. As a result, much of pilot conversion training for the 'M' model involved throttle-handling. Lessons were learned and applied to the follow-on Polaris Incremental Modernization Scheme (PIMS). Compared with the AIMS programme, PIMS was rather simpler. PIMS-1 involved a general avionics upgrade. PIMS-2 covered interior refurbishment and improvements. PIMS-3 saw the installation of new engine pylons and CFM56 turbofans.

At a glance, the 'big-fanned' CC-188s looked very much like the CP-188M conversion. However, there was a big difference. The transport conversions involved a slightly more compact CFMI engine - the 18,500 lbf CFM56-3C2. These engines had slightly smaller fans and their cowlings (taken from the Boeing 737-300) had flattened bottom. Both features served to give the CC-188C Polaris II more ground clearance than was available to the CP-188Ms. The first CC-188C [5] was re-delivered to 420 Snowy Owl Squadron in early 1983.

While the CFM56 engines gave the CC-188C/CP-188M fleets a new lease on life, there was no denying the dwindling airframe time of the base DC-8s. As long-range aircraft, both types had low numbers of 'cycles' but airframe fatigue was setting in. Both active squadrons' personnel were becoming very familiar with aluminum skin crack repair and non-destructive testing. Replacements were needed but no obvious candidates presented themselves. In any case, Canada's economy was just emerging from the deep recession of the early '80s and there was little appetite for a major aircraft procurement programme.

End of the Line for the Polaris and Arcturus

For the CC-188C Polaris II, replacement came from an unexpected source. The successor to CP Air - Canadian Airlines - had inherited Airbus A310-300 airliners from its merger partner, Wardair. When Canadian Airlines found itself a victim of the 1991 airline industry slump, a cash injection was needed. Rather than a simple bail-out, the Government of Canada bought the airline's five Airbus A310s. All five were given cargo doors and 'combi' floors before entering Canadian military service in 1992-93 as the Airbus CC-231 Algonquin. The CP-188M Arcturus fleet soldiered on until 1995 when their role was largely taken over by CP-143M Orion II maritime patrol aircraft.



[1] Outside the firm, this largely went unnoticed until Canadair's actions were lumped in with a contentious lock-out at La Presse. Even the formerly-moderate President of the Quebec Federation of Labour - former Canadair machinist, Louis Laberge - was now radicalized by events.

[2] Already established was the Flying Boat Centre (FBC) at North Bay, ON (Canadair NB) and the Military Aircraft Centre (MAC) at Moose Jaw, SK (Canadair MJ). Other expansion plan schemes included the establishment of regional maintenance and modification centres - Eastern (EMM) at Truro, NS (Canadair TR) and Western (WMM) at Gimli, MB (Canadair GL). Negotiations towards acquiring Fleet Aircraft of St. Catherine's -  Bill Baker's first CEO position - were initially unsuccessful.

[3] Moncton was intended to provide a temporary bridge between Cartierville and new Canadair main facility at Dorval. The outcome of Référendum '79 and the establishment of the independent République du Québec put paid to that plan.

[4] The Government of Canada saw the RB.205 as having a much wider application re-engining early jetliners - DC-8s and Boeing 707s as well as Douglas DC-9s and Boeing 737s.

[5] The 'C' in CC-188C apparently stood for 'CFM'. Understandably, Polaris IIs were often mis-labelled as 'CC-188M's
Title: Re: CC-188 Polaris Strategic Transport Aircraft
Post by: GTX_Admin on November 24, 2021, 01:13:21 AM

Any chance of an AWACS variant?
Title: Re: CC-188 Polaris Strategic Transport Aircraft
Post by: apophenia on November 25, 2021, 06:23:45 AM
Any chance of an AWACS variant?

Bien sûr!

For those less familiar with that period, it is good to remember that the DC-8 AWACS wasn't strictly-speaking a Government of Canada project. It originated with a Canadair proposal to the British government. [1]

Partnered with Short Brothers, Canadair's pitch followed the RAF's preferred Fore & Aft Scanner System (FASS) with GEC Marconi MSA and Thorn EMI Skymaster antennae in bulbous fairings. It was proposed that an ex-KLM DC-8-53 owned by Canadair would be converted to prove the radome installations. That aircraft - the DC-8M-AEW - would then be transferred to Shorts in Belfast for full missions systems installation. This joint Shorts-Canadair proposal was rejected in favour of the smaller BAE Nimrod AEW.3. [2]

Canadair second foray into early warning was rather more successful. This answered a NATO call for aircraft equivalent to the USAF's AWACS (Airborne Warning And Control System). Most pundits assumed that Boeing - with an export version of the E-3 Sentry - was the assured winner of this NATO contest. First draughts at Canadair were based upon the Douglas D-990 submission for AWACS (including its multi-leg rotodome supports). [3] At NATO's insistence, the E-3's twin-legged supports for the Westinghouse radar were substituted.

In the NATO AWACS contest, overconfidence may have been Boeing's undoing. The Shorts-Canadair NATO AWACS submission proved the lower-cost of the compliant bids. It also involved more NATO members. The radar and many other onboard systems originated in the US (as did the original aircraft); airframe modifications were performed in Canada; the DC-8 AWACS was then flown to France for conversion to CFM56 turbofans; and then to the UK for final fit-out by Shorts.


[1] Although a Crown Corporation, it was part of the mandate of Canadair Ltd. to seek out export potential. The DC-8M-AEW project was an abject failure from a sales point of view but it did establish the relationship between Canadair and Short Brothers. That would later pay dividends with the latter's incorporation into the Canadair organization as the Shorts Aircraft plc subsidiary.

[2] Part of the Shorts-Canadair submission was statistical analysis by Canadair engineer Jim McManus demonstrating that the smaller Nimrod airframe would be inadequate for cooling onboard AEW systems. (By contrast, the entire forward cargo bay of the DC-8M-AEW could be dedicated to cooling and cabin conditioning.) That statistical analysis would prove prophetic but, at the time of submission, had no impact on Ministry or RAF thinking.

[3] The D-990 was the McDonnell Douglas Aircraft submission for AWACS under 1973's TAC/ADC SOR 206.
Title: Re: CC-188 Polaris Strategic Transport Aircraft
Post by: robunos on November 25, 2021, 07:11:27 AM
Just caught up with this one, XLNT as usual . . .
Just one *tiny* nit-pick; Tesside Airport is in County Durham, not North Yorkshire . . .   ;)

Title: Re: CC-188 Polaris Strategic Transport Aircraft
Post by: apophenia on November 25, 2021, 09:40:06 AM
... Tesside Airport is in County Durham, not North Yorkshire ...

Thanks Robin.

So, no wonder there are no more CC-188s around! These aircraft had very long ranges. However, with their endless circling over the moors whilest the Nav scouring and re-scouring his map of North Yorkshire, there was only ever going to be one outcome  :o
Title: Re: CC-188 Polaris Strategic Transport Aircraft
Post by: GTX_Admin on November 26, 2021, 12:52:43 AM
Title: Re: CC-188 Polaris Strategic Transport Aircraft
Post by: robunos on November 26, 2021, 01:26:11 AM
... Tesside Airport is in County Durham, not North Yorkshire ...

Thanks Robin.

So, no wonder there are no more CC-188s around! These aircraft had very long ranges. However, with their endless circling over the moors whilest the Nav scouring and re-scouring his map of North Yorkshire, there was only ever going to be one outcome  :o

Yeah, Nah . . . just head for the clouds of pollution from all of the heavy industry that was still in the area then !   ;D
Seriously, now most of that's gone, there's some very beautiful countryside in the area. Also, interestingly, the Yorkshire and North East (Durham, Tees, Wear, and Tyneside / 'Geordie') accents, and dialects are quite different, but there's been almost no mixing across the 'border'. You can tell where you are, just by listening to the locals talk . . .

Title: Re: CC-188 Polaris Strategic Transport Aircraft
Post by: apophenia on November 26, 2021, 10:44:00 AM
... just head for the clouds of pollution from all of the heavy industry that was still in the area then !   ;D  ...

Okay, so the CC-188 crews could stooge around above the North York Moors until they spotted those industrial plumes, fly straight into the smog, and then just divert to EDI and call it a day  :smiley:
Title: Re: CC-188 Polaris Strategic Transport Aircraft
Post by: upnorth on November 28, 2021, 10:47:26 PM
That DC-8 AWACS had me doing a serious double take. Very subtle and cool. :smiley: