Wednesday, March 17, 2010

ORENDA IROQUOIS: Diefenbaker DIDN'T get it.

It was NEVER JUST ABOUT the Arrow… it was also about the Orenda Iroquois…


Funded by Canada, and produced by Canadians.

And when SOMEONE tells you that Canada couldn't have sold Arrows worldwide, there was no market, just think about all those "Made in France" Dassault Mirages THAT WERE sold to various countries worldwide.

Then ask yourself why Avro Canada couldn't have stolen that market?

Well… WE would' have—

But Canadian agriculture was all Diefenbaker understood.

TECHNOLOGY was beyond his simple boyhood experiences in Saskatchewan.

Combine and hay bales, for miles.

No jet fighters.


Conclusion: jet fighters are unimportant.

And like the caveman that he was, Diefenbaker killed the Arrow, and the Iroquois.

But Canada, in the 50s, was big enough to be the breadbasket of the world, AND to market her aeronautical offerings of intercepter and jet engines.

But not with a dummy at the helm.

In the fifties, CANADA needed a visionary for a prime minister.

F***, we elected a farmer.

(from Wikipedia)


FOR THE CF-105 Arrow project, Avro Canada had originally intended to use one of three different engines, all UK designs: Rolls-Royce RB.106, the Bristol B.0L.4 Olympus, or a license-built version of the Olympus, the Curtiss-Wright J67.

The RB.106 and J67 were selected as the primary and backup engines for the new design. However, both the RB.106 and J67 were cancelled during the Arrow's design phase, too far into the program to select the Olympus.

Orenda Engines quickly responded with the PS.13 Iroquois design.
The Iroquois design was based on simplicity and lightness.

With this in mind, Orenda pioneered work in the use of titanium in engines, with 20% by weight of the Iroquois (mainly the compressor rotor blades) consisting of this metal. Titanium has light weight, high strength and good temperature and corrosion resistance. It was estimated that the engine would be 850 pounds (386 kg) lighter than if steel had been used. During the early 1950s, this material was in short supply, and the lack of knowledge of its physical properties and fabrication techniques created problems which had to be overcome. It was also very expensive relative to the more common materials such as steel and aluminum.

It was recognized that if the engine parts could be designed with titanium, then the supporting structure could also be lightened due to reduced forces within the engine, with an overall saving in weight. Other parts, such as gearbox casings were made with a magnesium alloy. Inconel was used to make the blades in the low pressure turbine assembly and the metal insulation blanket found at the rear of the engine. This heat resistant nickel-chrome alloy retains its strength at high temperatures and resists oxidation and corrosion. The primary reason for using these advanced metals was to save weight and improve performance, creating an engine with a 5:1 thrust to weight ratio that could produce a sea level dry thrust of 19,250 lb (26,000 lb with afterburner).

The design, development and manufacture of such an advanced jet engine was accomplished in an incredibly short time by the Orenda team.

The detailed design was completed in May 1954, and the first run was achieved in December 1954.

The earlier Orenda 9 had more parts but produced less power. For example, the Orenda 9 weighed 2,560 lb (1,160 kg) and produced 6,355 lb (2,883 kg) static thrust, while the Iroquois weighed 5,900 lb. (2,675 kg) but was reported to have produced 30,000 lb (13,608 kg) static thrust with afterburner for take off. (the Orenda did not have an afterburner.)

The Iroquois was one of the most powerful jet engines in the world at its time of introduction, rated at 19,250 lbf (85.6 kN) dry, 25,000 lbf (111 kN) afterburning. It was aerodynamically matched for peak performance at 50,000 feet (15,200 m) altitude and Mach 2 speed.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


COURSE, the AVRO ARROW wasn't the only casualty on BLACK FRIDAY so long ago now… on that distant 20th of February in 1959.

There was also the mighty Orenda Iroquois PS-13 supersonic jet engine programme.

It too would fall to the cutter's torch.

A stained, faded, torn, age-old ad, barely, barely… recalls the glory.

Touted as being the successor to the Orenda Jet Engine TR.5, the ORENDA IROQUOIS would never fulfil that advertised destiny.

4,000 of the original Orenda Jet Engine TR.5s were produced and when they were unleashed upon the world… those Orendas were the most powerful engines in the world.

Orenda would hold that proud title from 1949 until 1952.

The AVRO ARROW was actually, originally, set to be powered by jet engines from the UK.

But there were delays. Big delays. And because of those delays, the first Arrows ended up using American Pratt & Whitney J75s, as Avro Canada became desperate to get their Arrows into the air.

But Avro also committed themselves to their Orenda Division for a new, better, engine as Avro Aircraft of Canada Ltd. looked to their future…

And that future was wide open!

And that immediate future was to be… the Arrow Mk. II.

An improved Arrow.

And that Arrow had to have better engines than the J-75.

Loads better.

So, the challenge was on.

And, ORENDA, folks… did not disappoint.

They came up with the PS-13 design. What you're lookin' at above.

And during its' testing period, this Iroquois prototype became the most powerful jet engine in the world! Rated by pounds of thrust.

And the new Orenda also produced the loudest, man-made sound, bar none. That's THE reason it was tested hundreds of miles away, in Nobel, Ontario… far, far, from civilized man.

And suburban Toronto.

The Armée de l'Air, or the French Air Force, were mighty interested in this new, and triumphant Canadian jet engine. Dassault hoped to put it into their own evolved French interceptor, the Mirage III. The French wanted to be first in line when the Iroquois engine became available, outside of the Arrow programme.

And Dassault was actually ready, stylo in hand, to ink a 300 engine purchase deal with Avro, while the Iroquois was still only in the testing stage!

But THAT grand overture was not to be, either.

So, on February 20th, 1959, as luck finally ran out for the Arrow… luck simultaneously ran out for the Orenda Iroquois. Even though it was, and would be a record-breaking jet engine.

And Canadian Prime Minister, John G. Diefenbaker, who swung the hatchet became the all-time ninny of Canadian politics.

But, as it turned out, there was to be a third victim in this wide-sweeping fiasco.

'Course, we'll save that story… for another day—

PS - The third victim WAS NOT the B-47 that was used extensively to test the mighty Iroquois. The Iroquois DID RUIN that borrowed USAF bomber (inset ad pic) that was on loan to Avro Canada, and the RCAF, for the Orenda Iroquois' testing phase.

Significant frame damage caused by the all-powerful Iroquois being mounted on only one side of the aircraft, the starboard side, rendered the large bomber unsafe for continued use.

Yes, that B-47 was soon scraped after its quiet return to the USAF. And no, that isn't the victim I am calling to mind.