The Argus replaced the RCAF Lancaster and Lockheed P-2 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, sonobuoys, 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 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 407 Maritime Patrol Squadron held the Canadian military record of slightly over 31 hours for the longest flight by an unrefuelled aircraft. This record stood for almost 20 years until broken by the Rutan Voyager experimental aircraft which circled the globe unrefuelled.
The principal difference between the Mark I and Mark 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 antenna above the fuselage.
The Argus flew its last service mission on 24 July 1981, and was replaced by the Lockheed CP-140 Aurora.