The Avro Canada CF-305 "Crossbow" was a high speed interceptor and air superiority fighter aircraft designed by Avro Canada and saw service with the Royal Canadian Air Corps. The aircraft was intended to engage Soviet and Chinese bombers flying over the Arctic Circle to attack targets in Canada or the US in the event of nuclear war. Ironically, the first combat seen by the Crossbow was during the American Annexation of Canada, in which the Crossbow proved on par with the F-108 "Rapier" and superior to older aircraft such as the F-80. However, at the time, only about 150 Crossbows had been manufactured, and proved insufficient to stop the tide of thousands of US aircraft.
Design and DevelopmentEdit
The CF-305 Crossbow was first proposed in early 2050s, as a long-range interceptor aircraft. The airframe was constructed from advanced materials to significantly decrease the weight of the air frame, as well as the heat resistance of the housing of the engine. The aircraft utilized two license-built copies of the same General Atomics YJ93-GE-3AR afterburning turbojets as the American Vigilante and Rapier fighters, as well as the Valkyrie bomber, giving it a top speed of over Mach 3.5.
The fighter was equipped with a 12-shot rotary launcher similar to that used by the Rapier and Vigilante, capable of being loaded out with 12 AIM 47 (GAR-9) long-range air-to-air missiles, or smaller six-shot launcher for anti-ship cruise missiles. The aircraft also had four underwing hardpoints, which could each carry a single 1000 or 2000 lb bomb, air-to ground missiles, or two AIM-15 "Copperhead" or Canadair "Aurora" short-range heat-seeking air-to-air missiles. In total, the hardpoints could carry 8 AGMs or short range AAMs, or 8000 pounds of bombs. In addition to its formidable array of ordnance, the Crossbow carried a 150 kilowatt nose-mounted "Gatling" laser weapon, which utilized four beam emitters mounted on a rotary drum similarly to a Gatling gun to reduce heat strain on any individual emitter. The Crossbow could also be equipped with electronic countermeasure package.
Upon the start of the US Invasion of Canada on May 5th, 2072, the Royal Canadian Air Force, including the roughly 150 Crossbows, were scrambled in a desperate attempt to stem the tide of US ground troops and air forces pouring over the border from Washington to Maine. In aerial engagements, the Crossbow proved the be a formidable adversary even the most advanced fighters of the US Air Force and Navy. Against bombers and less advanced fighters such as the antiquated F-80, the Crossbow proved capable of destroying them en masse with long-range missiles. While US and Canadian records conflict, it is generally accepted to that Crossbows shot down at least 300 US aircraft, including 40 Rapiers and Vigilantes. Unfortunately, while the Crossbows proved successful in individual aerial engagements, they were no woefully outnumbered by the US Air Forces allocated to the invasion, which included over 1500 fighters and 500 bomber aircraft. One by one, most of the Crossbows were overrun and shot down. A few aircraft which were on the ground when the Canadian government surrendered, and survived the war.
On October 23rd, 2077, a massive Chinese air fleet of thousands of bombers and escorting fighters attacked the US and occupied Canada with nuclear weapons. At the same time, numerous ICBMs and submarine-launched missiles impacted across the continent. In desperation, a few operational Crossbows were used by US Forces in addition to their own aircraft, in a desperate attempt to stem the massive aerial onslaught. While numerous Chinese bombers were shot down, it was not enough to prevent the nuclear holocaust, which, along with US retaliation on China, practically brought an end to pre-war civilization.
Most of the Crossbows were destroyed in either the US Annexation of Canada and the Great War, however, about fifteen aircraft are known to have survived the war. In the years following the Great War, they fell into the hands of Canadian successor states New Canada and the Principality of Quebec, where a few were restored to working order and saw use in conflicts against the Enclave and Brotherhood of Steel, as well as in the New Canada Civil War. By this point, pre-war ordnance was rare, and were often instead armed with improvised "barrel bombs", racks of rockets originally designed for infantry-held launchers, and the Gatling laser, which ran on standard fusion cores, which were still relatively easily acquired.