Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Canadian Warplanes 5: The Post War Piston Era, Canadair CP-107 Argus

Canadair CP-107 Argus

Data current to 9 Aug 2020.

 (DND Photo via Francois Dutil)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 1, RCAF (Serial No. 20720).

The Canadair CP-107 Argus (CL-28) was a maritime reconnaissance aircraft designed and manufactured by Canadair for the RCAF.  In its early years, the Argus was reputedly the finest anti-submarine patrol bomber in the world.  The Argus served throughout the Cold War with the RCAF's Maritime Air Command and later the CF's Maritime Air Group and Air Command.

Canadair began work on the CL-28 in April 1954 and at the time it was the largest aircraft built in Canada. The hybrid design, initially referred to as the 'Britannia Maritime Reconnaissance', or 'Britannia MR', was derived from the Bristol Britannia transport, having the same wings, tail surfaces and landing gear, but using standard North American parts instead of British parts.  The fuselage was redesigned to incorporate an unpressurised one with bomb bays fore and aft of the wings.  The Argus was powered by four  Wright R-3350 compound (piston) engines, which had a low fuel consumption necessary for extended missions at low level.

The Argus replaced the Avro Lancaster in RCAF service as well as the Lockheed CF-122 Neptune which had been flown in the maritime roles.  The Argus was considered to be one of the most effective anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft of its day, and served as a mainstay for the RCAF.  A large amount of equipment was carried, including: search radar, sonobuoys, electronic counter measures (ECM), explosive echo ranging (EER) and a magnetic anomaly detector (MAD).  Up to 8,000 lb (3,632 kg) of weapons could be carried in the bomb bays, including torpedoes, bombs, mines and Mk. 54 depth charges.  The Argus was replaced by the Lockheed CP-140 Aurora aircraft.

 (Greg Goebel Photo)

Mk. 54, Mod 1 depth charge, nominal weight 350lb, on display at the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, Florida.  This depth charge was designed to be dropped from aircraft like the Argus.  The bomb had a flat nose to reduce the risk from ricochets.  The tail fuze had five different depth settings ranging from 8 to 42 metres (25 to 125 feet). 

The Argus was flown with a crew of 15 consisting of three pilots, three navigators (Observer Long range), two flight engineers and six radio officers (observer rad) until the early 1960s when the crew included both commissioned officers (tactical navigator/radio navigator) and non commissioned officers (observers), the number of which was dependent on the mission.  Four crew bunks and a galley were provided to extend the efficiency of the crew on long patrols (average 18 hrs).  The CL-28 had an endurance of approximately 26½ hours with full armament.  An Argus flown by No. 407 Maritime Patrol Squadron held the Canadian military record of slightly over 31 hours for the longest flight by an unrefuelled aircraft.

The principal difference between the Argus Mk. I and Mk. II was primarily in the different navigation, communication and tactical electronic equipment fitted internally.  The Mk. I was fitted with an American APS-20 radar in a chin-mounted radome. (13 built).  Externally, the Mk II was fitted with a British ASV-21 radar in a chin-mounted radome. (20-built).  The Mk. II nose radome was smaller, and this version was equipped with an additional ECM antenna above the fuselage.  

The Argus was flown by Nos. 404, 405, 407, 415 and 449 Sqns.  The Argus flew its last service mission on 24 July 1981, and was replaced by the Lockheed CP-140 Aurora.  (Wikipedia)

Canadair CL-28-1, CP-107 Argus Mk. 1 (13), (Serial Nos. 20710, 20711, 20712, 20713, 20714, 20715, 20715, 20717, 20718, 20719, 20720, 20721, 20722), Mk. 2 (20), (Serial Nos. 20723, 20724, 20725, 20726, 20727, 20728, 20729, 20730, 20731, 20732, 20733, 20734, 20735, 20736, 20737, 20738, 30739, 20740, 20741, 20742), for a total of 33 aircraft.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 1, RCAF (Serial No. 20710), lead aircraft in an Argus line-up at CFB Greenwood, Nova Scotia.

No. 405 "Eagle" (MP) Squadron

 (DND Photo via Chris Charland)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 1, RCAF (Serial No. 20710), No. 405 "Eagle" (MP) Squadron, pre-delivery photo taken at Canadair in Cartierville, Quebec.

 (DND Archives Photo, PCN-99)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 1, RCAF, nose view.

 (RCAF Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 1, RCAF (Serial No. 20710).

No. 404 'Buffalo' (MP) Squadron. 

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 1 (Serial No. 20711), No. 404 'Buffalo' (MP) Squadron. 

 (RCAF Photo via Chris Charland)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 1, RCAF (Serial No. 10711).

 (RCAF Photo via Chris Charland)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 1, RCAF (Serial No. 10711)..

 (RCAF Photo via Chris Charland)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 1, RCAF (Serial No. 10711)..

 (RCAF Photo via Chris Charland)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 1, RCAF (Serial No. 20714), ca. 1958.

 (RCAF Photo)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 1, RCAF (Serial No. 20714), ca. 1958.

 (RCAF Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 1, RCAF (Serial No. 20715), ca. 1958.

No. 415 "Swordfish" (MP) Squadron.

 (RCAF Photo via Chris Charland)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 1, RCAF (Serial No. 20719), No. 415 "Swordfish" (MP) Squadron, CFB Summerside, Prince Edward Island, on a NORPAT (Northern Patrol) off the coast of Greenland, 1970.

 (RCAF Photo via James Craik)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 1, RCAF (Serial No. 20719), No. 415 "Swordfish" (MP) Squadron, CFB Summerside, Prince Edward Island, on a NORPAT (Northern Patrol).

No. 407 Squadron.

 (RuthAS Photo)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 1, RCAF (Serial No. 20721), No. 407 Squadron, visiting Australia in 1971.

(DND Photo via Gord Jenkins)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 1, RCAF (Serial No. 20721)

 (RCAF Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 1, RCAF (Serial No. 20721), 407 Sqn, flying over CFB Comox, British Columbia.

 (SDASM Archives)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 1, RCAF (Serial No. 20722), No. 407 Squadron, visiting NAS Lemoore, California, 12 Oct 1975.

 (RCAF Photo)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 2, RCAF (Serial No. 20723), over an RCN submarine, 1962.

 (DND Archives Photo, PCN-733)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 2, RCAF (Serial No. 20723), over an RCN submarine, 1962.

 (DND Photo via Gord Jenkins)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 2, RCAF (Serial No. 20723).

 (RCAF Photo via Chris Charland)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 2, RCAF (Serial No. 20723).

 (DND Photo vai James Craik)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 2, RCAF (Serial No. 20725), Argus dropping Depth Charges over the Atlantic Ocean.  DND Canada Photo PCN-736.  The digital image is held by the National Defence Imagery Library (NDIL) at the CF Joint Imagery Centre (CFJIC), and the hard copy original film negative is held by Library and Archives Canada (LAC) in Ottawa.

 (RCAF Photo via Chris Charland)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 2,  RCAF (Serial No. 20726).

 (RCAF Photo via Chris Charland)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 2,  RCAF (Serial No. 10726), CFB Summerside, Prince Edward Island.

 (DND Archives Photo, PCN74-847)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 2, RCAF (Serial No. 20728), (Serial No. 10728), CFB Summerside, Prince Edward Island.

 (DND Photo via Gord Jenkins)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 2, RCAF (Serial No. 10729).

 (CAF Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 2, RCAF (Serial No. 20734), (Serial No. 10734), CFB Greenwood, ca 1974.

 (Steve Fitzgerald Photo)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 2, RCAF (Serial No. 20735), (Serial No. 10735), No. 415 "Swordfish" (MP) Squadron, 23 June 1979.

 (Mike Freer - Touchdown-Aviation Photo)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 2, RCAF (Serial No. 20736), (Serial No. 10736)

 (DND Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 2, RCAF (Serial No. 20736), loading torpedoes, Greenwood, Nova Scotia.

 (Royal Netherlands Navy Photo)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 2, RCAF (Serial No. 20736), May 1971.

 (DND Photo via Gord Jenkins)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 2, RCAF (Serial No. 20737).

(DND Photo via Gord Jenkins)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 2, RCAF (Serial No. 20739).

Maritime Proving and Evaluation Unit (MP&EU).

The MP&EU was established on 1 June 1959 and equipped with one Argus and two Neptunes  It left Greenwood for Summerside on 1 Aug 1959 and remained there until 1978, when it returned to Greenwood.  It was the successor to the RCAF's Maritime Command Evaluation and Development (E & D) unit, with No. 404 Squadron at Greenwood.

 (DND Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Canadair CP-107 Argus, VP 404 Squadron showing crew members manning the various sensor stations in the tactical compartment of an Argus.  Note how the component on the left side, in front of the seated crew member, is covered with a black cloth.  At the time of this photo this piece of gear known as Jezebel, was classified. 

The Low Frequency Analyzer and Recorder (LOFAR) system, referred to as Jezebel (to cloak its true function), was a passive acoustic recorder used to analyze the sound signature of submerged submarines in order to detect them.  Like the Second World War very long range (VLR) Liberator and Lancaster bombers, the Argus dropped patterns of multiple sonobuoys in a submarine search area and passively listened for the low frequency sounds produced by a submarine's propeller, diesel engines or turbines.  The detected sounds were transmitted from the sonobuoy to the Argus via one of 31 VHF radio channels assigned to each  sonobuoy.  Jezebel computed the relative strengths of the submarine sounds detected by the sonobuoys, and then displayed the frequencies of the sounds that uniquely identified or "fingerprinted" each class of submarine.  Once the target had been identified, it could be attacked with up to four homing torpedoes. 

 (Greenwood Aviation Museum Photo)

Soviet Golf II class diesel electric powered ballistic missile submarine, 1 Oct 1985.  The Golf II was equipped with the R-13 (SS-N-4 Sark) submarine launched ballistic missile, armed with a single nuclear warhead 1.2 to 2.0 Mt, with a range of approximately 600 km (370 mi).  The missile had a circular area probable (CAP) accuracy rate of 1.8 to 4 km (1.1 to 2.5 miles).  The missiles had to be launched with the submarine was surfaced.

 (DND Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 2, RCAF (Serial No. 20740), Greenwood, Nova Scotia.

(DND Photo via Gord Jenkins)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 2, RCAF (Serial No. 20741), on the airfield at Gibraltar.

(DND Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 2, RCAF (Serial No. 20742), delivery, Greenwood, NS.

 (DND Photo)

Canadair CP-107 Argus fleet being scrapped at CFB Summerside, 1981.  (DND Photo)

 (RCAF Photo via Mike Kaehler)

 (DND Photos via Francois Dutil)

Canadair CP-107 Argus and Lockheed CP-140 Aurora.

Canadair CP-107 Argus maritime reconnaissance aircraft preserved:

Canada had 33 CP-107 Argus aircraft.  Of these two crashed (Serial No. 10727), and (Serial No. 10737), five are on display (Serial Nos. 10712, 10717, 10732, 10739, and 10742), one was struck off strength in Saskatoon (Serial No. 10733), one was tested to destruction at IMP in 1975 (Serial No. 10730), one went to the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada but was scrapped (Serial No. 715 [parts still exist]) and the remaining aircraft were scrapped at CFB Summerside, Prince Edward Island during the winter of  1981-1982. 

 (stemcat5 Photo)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 1, RCAF (Serial No. 20712), (Serial No. 10712), c/n 3, No. 407 Squadron, Comox Air Force Museum, CFB Comox, British Columbia.  10712 wears the No. 407 Squadron “Demon” insignia (a winged trident) on its tail fin.  No.  407 (Long Range Patrol) Squadron in Comox flew the Argus from 1968 until 1981 when it was retired from flying. Of note, the Canadian military record for the longest unrefueled flight was set by a 407 Squadron crew, who flew an Argus for over 31 hours.

 (Author Photo)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 1, RCAF (Serial No. 20717, (Serial No. 10717), Greenwood Military Aviation Museum, CFB Greenwood, Nova Scotia.

 (Author Photo)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 2, RCAF (Serial No. 20432), (Serial No. 10732), National Air Force Museum of Canada, CFB Trenton, Ontario.

 (Author Photo)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 2, RCAF (Serial No. 20432), (Serial No. 10432), 783C.  National Museum of the RCAF, CFB Trenton, Ontario.  The museum’s Argus was one of twenty purchased by the RCAF in 1958.  It flew with No. 415 Maritime Patrol ‘Swordfish’ Squadron at CFB Summerside, Prince Edward Island, until 1981, (thus the swordfish markings on the tail of the aircraft).  The Argus was replaced by the Lockheed CP-140 Aurora patrol aircraft when No. 415 Squadron was moved to CFB Greenwood, Nova Scotia.  This Argus was stored at Mountainview, Ontario, and painted at CFB Trenton before it was brought to the museum.  (NAFMC)

 (Author Photo)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 2, RCAF (Serial No. 20739), (Serial No. 10739).  No. 415 Squadron.  Summerside, Heritage Aircraft Society (HAS), Summerside Airport173 Victoria Road.  Formerly Slemon Park, CFB Summerside, Prince Edward Island.

No. 449 (MT) Squadron.

 (aeroprints.com Photo)

Canadair CP-107 Argus Mk. 2, RCAF (Serial No. 20742), (Serial No. 10742), No. 415 Squadron, Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Ottawa, Ontario.  Argus (Serial No. 10742) also flew with No. 449 (MT) Squadron based at CFB Greenwood.  This aircraft was flown on the last flight of an Argus, to the CA&SM, Feb 1982.

 (Mike Kaehler Photo)

Canadair CP-107 Argus (Serial No.), parts, Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Canadair CL-28-1, CP-107 Argus data bank:

            The Argus is a four-engine, long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft, developed and built by Canadair based on the Bristol “Britannia“ commercial transport.  It flew with a 15-man crew, had a range of more than 4,000 miles and a rate of endurance of 24 hours under operational conditions.  The Mk. 1 variant had an American AN/APS-20 radar in a large fairing under the nose.  The RCAF took the first Argus on strength in 1957.  Flown by Nos. 404, 405, 407 and 415 Squadrons.  The Mk. 2 had a British AN/ASV-21 radar set in a smaller chin dome.  Both the Mk. 1 and 2 were powered by four Wright R-3350-EA1 engines.[1]

            The Argus replaced the RCAF Lancaster and Neptune aircraft types previously flown in the maritime roles.  One of the most effective anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft of its day, the Argus was a mainstay for the RCAF.  A large amount of equipment was carried, including: search radar, sonar buoys, electronic counter measures ECM), explosive echo ranging (EER) and magnetic anomaly detector (MAD).  Up to 8,000 lb (3,632 kg) of weapons could be carried in the bomb bays, including torpedoes, bombs, mines and depth charges.

            A flight crew of five consisting of two pilots, a navigator, a flight engineer and a radio operator plus relief crew of four was normally carried.  In addition, there were six or more ASW equipment operators, the number of which was dependent on the mission.  Two crew bunks and a galley were provided to extend the efficiency of the crew on long patrols.  The CL-28 had an endurance of approximately 26½ hours.  An Argus flown by 407 Maritime Patrol Squadron held the record of slightly over 31 hours for the longest flight by an unrefueled aircraft.  This record stood for almost 20 years until broken by the Rutan Voyageur experimental aircraft which circled the globe unrefueled.

            Argus Mk. I (13), (Serial Nos. 20710-20722), and Argus Mk. 2 (20), (Serial Nos. 20723-20742), comprised a total of 33 aircraft.  The principal difference between the Mk. I and Mk. II was primarily in the different navigation, communication and tactical electronic equipment fitted internally.  Externally, the Mk. II exhibited a redesigned smaller nose radome and additional ECM antennae above the fuselage.  The Argus flew its last service mission on 24 July 1981 and was replaced by the CP-140 Aurora.[2]

Canadair CP-107 Argus survivors:

GMAM, CFB Greenwood, Nova Scotia, Mk. 1 (Serial No. 10717).[3] 

Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Mk. 2 (Serial No. 10739).[4] 

CA&SM, Ottawa, Ontario, Mk. 2 (Serial No. 10742).[5] 

NAFMC, Trenton, Ontario, Mk. 2 (Serial No. 10732).[6] 

WCAM, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Mk. 1 (Serial No. 10715), cockpit section.[7] 

CAFM, CFB Comox, British Columbia, Mk. 1 (Serial No. 10718).[8]

[1] Internet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadair_CL-28.

[2] Internet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadair_CL-28.

[3] Argus (Serial No. 10717) flew with 405 (MP) Squadron based at CFB Greenwood.

[4] Argus (Serial No. 10739) flew with 415 (MP) Squadron based at CFB Summerside.

[5] Argus (Serial No. 10742) flew with 449 (MT) Squadron based at CFB Greenwood.  This aircraft was flown on the last flight of an Argus, to the CA&SM Feb 1982.

[6] Argus (Serial No. 10732) flew with 415 (MP) Squadron based at CFB Summerside.

[7] Argus (Serial No. 10715) flew with 405 (MP) Squadron based at CFB Greenwood, parts stored at Gimli.

[8] Argus (Serial No. 10718) flew with 407 (MP) Squadron based at CFB Comox.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 2266817)

Canadair CP-107 Argus stamp.