Canadair CP-107 Argus

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

Canadair CP-107 Argus
Class Aircraft
Type Utility
Manufacturer Canadair
Production Period 1957 - 1960
Origin Canada
Country Name Origin Year
Canada 1957
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Canada 1957 1982 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Canadair 1957 1960 33 View

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 except for being "Americanized" – meaning that it used the same general design, but changed the British materials and standard parts for North American ones.

The fuselage was completely redesigned by Canadair, going from the pressure cabin of the Britannia to an unpressurised one with bomb bays fore and aft of the wings. The powerplant was also changed from the Bristol Proteus turboprop engines to Wright R-3350 compound (piston) engines, which had lower fuel consumption necessary for extended missions at low level. At the design stage the other possible engine was the Napier Nomad, another turbo compound engine, although the Nomad was later cancelled.


  •     Argus Mk 1 : Long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft for the RCAF. This aircraft was fitted with an American APS-20 radar in a chin-mounted radome. (13 built)
  •     Argus Mk 2 : Long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft for the RCAF. This aircraft was fitted with a British ASV-21 radar in a chin-mounted radome. (20-built)

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.

Role Maritime patrol aircraft
Manufacturer Canadair
Designer Tom Harvie
First flight 28 March 1957
Introduction 1957
Retired 1982
Primary users Royal Canadian Air Force
Canadian Forces
Produced 1957- 1960
Number built 33
Unit cost $5,513,000
Developed from Bristol Britannia

General characteristics

  • Crew: 15
  • Length: 128 ft 9.5in (39.26 m)
  • Wingspan: 142 ft 3.5in (43.37 m)
  • Height: 38 ft 8 in (11.79 m)
  • Wing area: 2,075 sq ft (192.77 m²)
  • Empty weight: 81,000 lb (36,741 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 157,000 lb (71,214 kg)
  • Powerplant: 4 × Wright R-3350 TC18EA1 Turbo-Compound engines, 3,700 shp (2,535 kW) each


  • Maximum speed: 315 mph (507 km/h)
  • Cruise speed: 207 mph (333 km/h)
  • Range: 5,900 mi (9,495 km)
  • Service ceiling: 25,000 ft (7,620 m)


  • Max 8,000 lb bombs, depth charges, torpedoes, mines and 3,800 lb air-to-surface missiles and free-fall weapons on underwing hardpoints

End notes