Hush-Kit Top Ten: The ten greatest cancelled fighters


Many of the finest aeroplanes ever made were consigned to the scrapheap of history. Sometimes they were defeated in evaluations by superior opponents.  Sometimes bribery, intrigue or plain bad luck killed these unlucky warriors. Here is a mouth-watering selection of ten fighters which didn’t make it to squadron service.

10.  McDonnell Douglas/Northrop YF-23 Black Widow II

Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23

Despite being faster and stealthier, the YF-23 was turned down in favour of what became the F-22 Raptor. A real shame, as USAF missed out on one of the best-looking fighters ever made (as opposed to the F-22, which looks like an F-15 that hasn’t been taken out its packaging).

9. Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow


The phrase ‘Canadian superfighter’ sounds odd, but that’s what the CF-105 was. Fast, long-ranged and fitted with advanced avionics, it would have proved formidable. It is still mourned by Canadians today, leading to the bizarre recent proposal for a production line to be opened in the near future.

8. Martin-Baker MB5Image

7. Commonwealth CA-15 ‘Kangaroo’Image

6. Dassault Mirage 4000


The Mirage 4000 was a scaled-up Mirage 2000. It had twice the power and would have been enormously capable. It would have been in the same class as the F-15E.

5. IAI Lavi


        4. Northrop F-20 Tigershark

3. Lockheed YF-12

2. North American YF-107

1. Vought XF8U-3 Crusader III (Reader’s choice, suggested by Rowland White)

If you enjoyed this, you may also enjoy the Top Ten best-looking British aircraft:

..or our exclusive article on Britain’s P.1154 STOVL fighter:



  1. mcal27 (@MCal27)

    Hmm not bad, but I dont think the MB5 and CA-15 were much better than a DH Hornet or Sea Fury?? Also (as I mentioned on twitter..) No TSR2?? would have been possibly worlds best strike aircraft for 10 or more years after it’s introduction…

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  5. spyintheskyuk

    Miles M22 anyone. On paper looked sensational, potentially far better than the early jets, though one wonders if it would ever actually hold together in flight. From what I found through research of the YF107 it had as many weaknesses as strengths but is worth a show for its looks.

  6. Tom Hawk

    I really think that the Avro Arrow should be at the top of this list because of the sheer impact it would have had in the world, I remember reading what those Canadians had done in 1958 and it was staggering! The first aircraft to be fly-by-wire, the first with an internal A2A weapons bay and apparently if the Canadian government hadn’t cancelled the thing, it had an engine in the wings called the “Orenda Iroquois” that would have made it the fastest plane in the world (Mach 2.5+) and it would have been the only plane in the world that could fly high enough to intercept the U-2. The Canadians are right to mourn the Arrow because if it had made production, it would have made all other fighter aircraft seem obsolete in comparison. It was decades ahead of its time and if it had gone into production, who knows how much further ahead we’d be today. It also would have made the USSR shaking in their Red Army boots because nothing the USSR had was even close to what the Arrow was capable of. I believe that if it had been released, it would still be flying in some form today. It is and always will be my favorite foreign-made fighter.

    – Tom Hawk

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