The McDonnell CF-101 Voodoo was the aircraft chosen to protect Canadian skies in the early 1960s. It would see duty with 416 All Weather (Fighter) Squadron in Chatham, NB from 1962 until 1984.
With the cancellation of the advanced supersonic Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow interceptor in 1959, the Canadian Government maintained that the existing fleet of Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck interceptors that equipped the nine squadrons in Air Defence Command, along with the controversial Boeing CIM-10B Bomarc Missile Program that had been adopted in 1958, would be adequate to defend Canada against a Soviet long range bomber threat.
Unofficially, negotiations had been underway before the formal cancellation of the Arrow Program to acquire a fleet of existing interceptor aircraft from the United States. With the reduction of the original orders for the F-101B Voodoo interceptors, the United States Air Force (USAF) was prepared to release 66 aircraft to Canada. The negotiations over acquisition costs and offsets, (which included the takeover and staffing by the RCAF of 11 Pinetree Line Radar Stations) as well as the debate over the acceptance of nuclear weapons systems for both the Bomarc and the Voodoo aircraft, delayed the deal for over a year. An agreement for the aircraft was finally signed in June, 1961.
The first two Voodoos were transferred to Canada in a ceremony held on 24 July, 1961 at RCAF Station Uplands near Ottawa, Ontario, in a program designated Operation Queen’s Row.
The issue of nuclear weapons in Canada had not been resolved by June 1961. Consequently, the CF-101 fleet was armed only with their secondary AIM 4-D Falcon missiles. In April 1963, the issue led to the collapse of the Conservative government. The succeeding Liberal government signed an agreement with the United States concerning provision of nuclear arms for Canada on 16 August 1963. The agreement did not actually state that Canada was acquiring nuclear weapons . The agreement specifically stated that the AIR-2A Genie rockets were the property of the United States and would only be released to Canada for actual use with the joint agreement of Canada and the United States through NORAD. The stringent training requirements meant that it took until June 1965 for the Genies to become operational in Canada. The Genies were kept in the custody of the USAF, with detachments of the 425th Munitions Support Squadron located at each of the Canadian bases.
The first fleet of 56 F-101B and 10 F-101F dual control trainers was drawn from the final production block, and included 25 F-101B-115-MC, 31 F-101B-120-MC, four F-101F-116-MC, and six F-101F-121-MC aircraft. The aircraft, delivered between July, 1961 and May, 1962 were ex-USAF machines rather than new builds. These aircraft were equipped with a retractable refueling probe ahead of the cockpit on the starboard side of the nose and an external scoop intake for the air conditioning system on the forward port fuselage side. This air to air refueling capability was never utilized by the RCAF since no tanker aircraft were then in service. The aircraft were re-serialled with the prefix 17 and the last three numbers of the original USAF serial number, for example 59-391 became 17391.
Beginning In 1970, the surviving CF-101Bs and CF-101Fs from the first fleet were traded to the USAF for 56 refurbished and modernized F-101B interceptors and ten F-101F operational trainers under “Operation Peace Wings”. These ex-USAF Voodoos were from earlier production batches, but had been upgraded with infrared sensors and improved fire control systems as part of Project *Bold Journey*. These included 11 F-101B-85-MC, 12 F-101B-90-MC, 22 F-101B-95-MC, 14 F-101B-100-MC, (and the single F-101B-105-MC as EF-101B), as well as one F-101F-61-MC , two F-101F-66-MC, one F-101F-71-MC, three F-101F-81-MC, two F-101F-90-MC, and one F-101F-100-MC. In Canadian service, this new batch of 66 Voodoos were assigned consecutive serial numbers in the 101001 to 101066 range, with the ten CF-101Fs being given the numbers 101001 to 101007, 101022, 101024 and 101052. These modernized aircraft remained in service with Nos. 409, 410, 416, and 425 Squadrons until replaced by McDonnell Douglas CF-18A/Bs in the early 1980s. These aircraft were distinguished by the presence of a flush NACA inlet on the port forward side fuselage and the fitting of an infrared (IR) head in front of the windscreen.
All the F model aircraft had a B model scope fitted to the pilot’s cockpit in place of the attack scope and no reflector sight, a different rear instrument panel and flight and engine controls in the rear cockpit.
Bristol Aerospace Ltd. in Winnipeg, Manitoba had won the repair and overhaul contract for the Voodoo fleet. The RCAF had experienced difficulties with the afterburners on the J-57 engines that powered the CF101 aircraft, seriously reducing the reliability. A technical study was done and a proposal for repair and modification was submitted. The intent was to accomplish two results, to save the cost of replacement and to increase reliability. The proposal was accepted and the program was a complete success, since the service life of the afterburners was more than doubled.
CF-101 Voodoo of 425 (Alouette) Squadron firing a Genie missile. Photo credit: J. Guimond
Photo credit: J. Lumley.
CF-101 Voodoo All Weather two place interceptor
Manufacturer: McDonnell Aircraft Company, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
Crew: Pilot and Navigator
Powerplant: two Pratt & Whitney J-57-P-55 turbojet engines
11,990 lbf / 53.3 kN. static thrust (dry)
16,900 lbf / 75.2 kN thrust (with afterburner).
Avionics: Hughes MG-13 fire control system The Voodoo was guided to its target by a SAGE (Semi Automatic Ground Environment) data link. Steering commands and the target’s speed, heading and altitude were transmitted to the Navigator without the requirement for voice communication.
Wingspan: 39 ft. 8 in. / 12.09 m.
Length: 67 ft. 5 in. / 20.55 m.
Height: 18 ft. / 5.49 m.
Empty: 28,495 lb. / 12,925 kg.
Loaded: 45.665 lb. / 20,715 kg.
Maximum Takeoff Weight 42,400 lb. / 23,770 kg.
Maximum Speed: Mach 1.72 1,134 mph. / 1,825 kph. at 35,000 ft. / 10.500 m.
Cruising Speed: 595 mph. / 958 kph.
Initial Rate of Climb: 14,000 ft/min. / 2500 m/sec.
Range: 1,520 miles / 2,450 km.
Service Ceiling: 58,400 ft. / 17,800 m.
Wing Loading: 124 lb./ft2. / 607 kg/m2.
Thrust / Weight: 0.74
Armament (mounted on rotary armament door):
2 AIR-2A Genie unguided nuclear rockets
2 AIM 4-D Falcon heat seeking missiles
The introduction of the CF-101 Voodoo began with the reformation of 425 All Weather (Fighter) [AW (F)] “Alouette” Squadron at RCAF Station Namao, Alberta on 15 October 1961. The squadron, previously equipped with the Avro CF-100 Mk.5 became the RCAF Conversion Training Unit for the Voodoo before becoming an operational squadron and transferring to its base at RCAF Station Bagotville, Quebec. In all, four more squadrons were formed, in addition to the Operational Training Unit (OTU), replacing nine squadrons in Air Defence Command previously flying the Avro CF-100 Mk.5.
Early in October of 1961, twelve crews from 410 “Cougar” AW (F) Squadron, based at RCAF Station Uplands, Ottawa, Ontario began the ground school course and time in the simulator for the Voodoo aircraft. On 13 November 1961, the crews were flown to RCAF Station Namao, Alberta for five weeks of training before becoming the first operational Voodoo squadron on 20 December. On 22 December, the crews were back at RCAF Station Uplands, where, at 0001 hours on 25 December, they resumed their operational alert commitment. Beginning in 1963, the squadron also maintained a detachment at RCAF Station Val d’Or, Quebec. On 31 March 1964, 410 Squadron was disbanded in cutbacks to the RCAF.
416 “Lynx” AW (F) Squadron, which had disbanded on 30 September 1961, having previously flown Avro CF-100 Canuck aircraft, was reformed on 1 January 1962 at RCAF Station Bagotville, Quebec. The squadron members spent the month of January at RCAF Station Namao, Alberta undergoing the conversion training course on the Voodoo aircraft. The crews returned to Bagotville on 1 February then spent the next five months at RCAF Station Uplands in Ottawa while the runways were rebuilt at Bagotville. Operations resumed at Bagotville on 5 July. In November 1962, the squadron was relocated to RCAF Station Chatham, New Brunswick, where it was to be based for the next 22 years. As well, deployments to Gander, Newfoundland and Goose Bay, Labrador were made to counter the appearance of Russian bomber aircraft off the East Coast of Canada. The squadron disbanded on 31 December 1984, the last Air Defence Command operational user of the CF-101 Voodoo, reforming at a later date on the CF-188 Hornet.
409 “Nighthawk” AW (F) Squadron, based at RCAF Station Comox, British Columbia, was the next unit to convert to the CF-101 Voodoo. In February 1962, the squadron completed conversion training and returned to operations from its base at Comox. The squadron converted to the CF-188 Hornet at CFB Cold Lake in 1984 and was deployed to CFB Baden-Soellingen in Germany as part of Canada’s NATO commitment.
414 “Black Knight” AW (F) Squadron, based at RCAF Station North Bay, Ontario, was the last unit to convert to the CF-101 Voodoo. Operations were flown with the Voodoo until 30 June 1964 when the squadron was disbanded in cutbacks to the RCAF. The squadron was later reformed as 414 Electronic Warfare Squadron at North Bay, Ontario from the Electronic Warfare Unit (EWU).
Once all five squadrons had completed their conversion to the CF-101 Voodoo aircraft, 3 AW (F) OTU, also based at RCAF Station Bagotville, Quebec, took over the training requirements for the fleet. Four years later in 1968, this unit was re-designated as 410 AW (F) OTU. The unit was to carry on in this capacity until disbanding in December 1982. After transferring to CFB Cold Lake, it reformed and took on the role of operational training for the CF-188 Hornet aircraft.
Image: "Loaded for Bear" by aviation artist Marc Magee. The painting depicts a CF-101 Voodoo of 416 Squadron exiting the Quick Reaction Alert hangar in Chatham.
Occasionally, Soviet Tu-95 Bear bomber aircraft were intercepted by Voodoos from both 416 and 425 Squadrons. The first aircraft of the intercepting pair would do an identifying pass while the second held back in readiness to launch an AIM-4 missile if required. The Voodoos were equipped with a searchlight, located on the port side of the aircraft adjacent to the Navigator’s position, which was used to illuminate the target aircraft during night time intercepts. On occasion, the crew of the Bear would train a searchlight on the cockpit of the intercepting Voodoo in retaliation.
After the stand down of the CF-101 Voodoo in Air Defence Command, two CF-101 Voodoos remained in service. The unique EF-101B electronic jamming aircraft (also known as the "Electric Voodoo") and a single CF-101F trainer, 101006 in service with 414 Electronic Warfare Squadron at Canadian Forces Base North Bay, Ontario. The EF-101B was a conversion of a regular F-101B, incorporating the electronic jamming suite from an EB-57B Canberra. Only one aircraft was converted before the program was cancelled and this sole example was leased to Canada. The last two Voodoos continued to fly until April 1987, when they were finally retired. The EF-101B was returned to the United States on 7 April 1987, while CF-101F 101006 made the world's last Voodoo flight on 19 April 1987, as it made a delivery flight to CFB Chatham for eventual display at CFB Cornwallis, Nova Scotia.
The “Electric Voodoo” 101067 in service with 414 EW Squadron. Photo credit: DND
The first fleet of Voodoos were unpainted polished natural metal, except for the panels identified in the following illustration. These included the magnesium fuselage skins, chemically milled wing torque box and flap skins, magnesium alloy stabilator skins, the rotary armament door, and the fiberglass wing, stabilator tips which were painted aluminum. The fin tip was finished in gloss light gull grey. The stabilator had a 2 inch wide black corogard anti-erosion strip over the leading edge. The anti-glare panel on the nose of the aircraft was finished in matte black as specified on the marking drawing from 15 May 1961 (although some aircraft retained the USAF Olive Drab finished panel), and the radome cover in dull black erosion finish. These non-metallic components are identified in the second illustration. The titanium afterburner cans and underside of the rear fuselage were a natural darkened colour.
The flap well, upper surface of the flap exposed when the flap is in the down position, the speed brake well, inner surface of speed brake, and the inner surface of the undercarriage doors are all finished red. The undercarriage wells were finished in green zinc chromate primer. The inside of the armament bay was finished in gloss white.
Aircraft finished in the original marking scheme featured a 47 inch Red Ensign flag, applied on both sides of the vertical stabilizer, with the aircraft serial number under the flag. The RCAF Silver Maple Leaf Roundel was carried on each side of the nose of the aircraft with the letters RCAF forward of the roundel on both sides of the nose, and the last three numbers of the serial number were carried aft of the roundel on both sides. A roundel was applied on top of each wing outboard of the wing fence, the letters RCAF applied under the starboard wing facing forward, and the last three numbers of the serial number under the port wing, facing forward.
Image: CF101B Voodoo 17102 (17440) in the original marking scheme on the cross country demonstration tour. Photo credit: DND
With the introduction of the definitive RCAF marking scheme, the distinctive RCAF “Flash” marking was applied, while the rest of the scheme was retained, unchanged.
Image: Aircraft 17445 in the definitive colour scheme and markings, port side. Photo credit: DND
The definitive RCAF marking scheme was modified , with the letters RCAF removed from each side of the nose, the roundel increased in size, the last three numbers of the aircraft serial retained aft of the roundel, and “ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FORCE”applied on each side of the middle fuselage above the flash. As of 11 April 1962, full chord rudder markings were authorized, consisting of seven equal width horizontal stripes, beginning and ending with the darker colour. These colours identified which RCAF Station that the aircraft were operating from.
Image: Aircraft 17395 and 17404 with the modified scheme, featuring the full chord rudder stripes from RCAF Station Chatham (416 Sqn) and Uplands (410 Sqn). Photo credit: DND
The colour schemes were as follows:
Blue / Yellow: RCAF Station Comox, B.C. [409 AW (F) Squadron]
Red / White: RCAF Station Uplands (Ottawa) Ontario [410 AW (F) Squadron]
Black / Red: RCAF Station North Bay, Ontario [414 AW (F) Squadron]
Black / Yellow: RCAF Station Chatham, New Brunswick [416 AW (F) Squadron]
Black / Aluminum: RCAF Station Bagotville, Quebec [425 AW (F) Squadron]
As of 3 July 1963, the full chord rudder stripes were modified to include only the top three bands. All other markings remained unchanged.
As of 6 November 1963, the rudder stripes were changed to eleven equal width horizontal stripes reduced in length to approximately half the chord of the rudder. From 15 February 1965, the new Canadian Flag was introduced, replacing the Red Ensign flag on the vertical stabilizer. All other markings remained unchanged.
Image: Aircraft 17409 and 17445 featuring the new Canadian Flag the reduced width rudder stripes with 409 AW (F) Sqn. Photo credit: DND
As part of the transition to the unified Canadian Armed Forces, the aircraft markings were modified to reflect the new identity. The letters CAF were applied forward of the roundel on the port side of the aircraft and the last three numbers of the serial behind the roundel. On the starboard side, they were applied in the reverse order. “ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FORCE” above the flash was replaced by “CANADIAN ARMED FORCES” on the port side of the aircraft and “FORCES ARMEES CANADIENNES” on the starboard side. On the underside of the starboard wing, the letters RCAF were replaced by CAF.
Image: Port side view of aircraft 17467 in the new CAF marking scheme while in service with 416 AW (F) Sqn at Canadian Forces Base Chatham, NB. Photo credit: DND (modified close up)
The Silver Maple Roundels were replaced both on the fuselage and upper surface of the wing by the new stylized Maple Leaf Roundel. Initially, the stylized leaf replaced the original leaf in the original roundel, but was later replaced by a completely new stylized roundel. Some units displayed a squadron emblem in a circle ahead of the flag on the vertical stabilizer with a diagonal stripe oriented up from the top forward edge of the flag, as in the case of 416 Sqn. The remaining markings were unchanged.
Image: Extreme close up view of aircraft 17467 with the new roundel. Photo credit: DND (modified)
Initially, the second series of aircraft were finished overall with aluminum lacquer. The titanium afterburner cans and underside of the rear fuselage were a natural darkened colour. The flap well, upper surface of the flap exposed when the flap is in the down position, the speed brake well, inner surface of speed brake, and the inner surface of the undercarriage doors were all finished red. The last three numbers of the aircraft serial number were displayed on the exposed inside surface of the flaps when deployed. The undercarriage wells were finished in green zinc chromate primer. The inside of the armament bay was finished in gloss white.
Image: Aircraft 101042 in the aluminum finish scheme with the markings of 416 AW (F) Sqn applied to the vertical stabilizer. Photo credit: DND
The finish scheme was the same as was displayed on the first fleet of Voodoos except the serial numbers were replaced by the series 101001 to 101066. These were applied in the same position under the flag on the vertical stabilizer. The letters CAF were applied forward of the roundel on the port side of the aircraft and the last three numbers of the serial behind the roundel. On the starboard side, they were applied in the reverse order. A unit emblem was applied forward of the flag on each side of the vertical stabilizer.
Image: CF-101 Voodoo aircraft in the aluminum finish scheme with the markings of 410 AW (F) OTU Sqn applied to the vertical stabilizer. Photo credit: DND
In 1973, the markings were revised by displaying “CANADA” on both sides of the aircraft above the flash in place of “CANADIAN ARMED FORCES” on the port side of the aircraft and “FORCES ARMEES CANADIENNES” on the starboard side. The “Roundel Ident” replaced the roundel, letters CAF and the last three of the serial number on both sides of the nose of the aircraft in the same position. The last three numbers of the aircraft serial number were applied to the nose of the aircraft on each side immediately aft of the radome.
Image: A CF-101 Voodoo of 416 AW (F) Sqn with the Roundel Ident. Photo credit: DND (modified close up)
Large red or blue panels were applied to the wings of the aircraft that participated in the Air Combat Manoeuvering (ACM) exercises.
Image: Aircraft 101014 of 425 AW (F) Sqn featuring the blue ACM markings on the upper wing surfaces. Photo credit: DND
The final colour scheme applied to the Voodoo fleet was an overall Alumigrip AA 92-A-312 gloss light grey. All markings were identical to those applied in the previous all aluminum lacquer finish. On some aircraft, 409 AW (F) Sqn displayed rudder stripes in black and blue, while 425 AW (F) Sqn chose red and white stripes.
Image: Aircraft 101014 in service with 416 AW (F) Sqn featuring the all grey scheme. 014 was on takeoff on 21 November 1975 – F/L Euan Black (RAF exchange pilot) and Capt Harry Redden. Photo credit: W. "Turbo" Tarling (taken from another 416 CF-101 Voodoo)
Several CF-101 Voodoos are still on display at various locations across Canada. Some, including 101053 in Miramichi, NB (former Chatham base) are in need of repair. The Museum is planning to restore 053 in the near future.
Image: CF-101 Voodoo 101053 was mounted at CFB Chatham when the Voodoo was retired from operational service in 1984. Photo credit: K. Anderson
Near the end of the retirement of the CF-101 Voodoo fleet, the three operational squadrons applied a colour scheme unique to their identity. The ECM Voodoo 101067 from 414 EW Sqn had served in its all black scheme featuring the Knight’s Head on the vertical stabilizer. Aircraft 101014 from 425 AW (F) Sqn was marked up as “Alouette Un” (Lark), 101057 from 409 AW (F) Sqn was finished as “Hawk One”, and 101043 from 416 AW (F) Sqn became “Lynx One”. Lynx One now sits outside the Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Image: A formation of the EW Voodoo and the three squadron aircraft finished in the unique retirement schemes. Photo credit: DND