The photo set below is arranged from forward to aft.

From his "up front" position, Captain Fred Forbes could operate cameras and control the release of ASW markers and sonobuoys. (Canadian Forces photo from Sentinel Magazine Nov-Dec 1969)
When the observer's seat was in the "Nose" position, the observer is out in the open. (Photo by Jerry Proc)

Pilots like Captain P.E. Rowlands rotate during long flights working fours hours on then two off for eating resting or sleeping. (From Sentinel Magazine, May 1968)
MWO H.A. Strandlund handles the throttles while MWO C.W. Ackland monitors the dials. (From Sentinel Magazine, May 1968)

As the Argus becomes airborne,  the crew settles into the routine of their varied duties. The photographer is standing in the aisle adjacent to the radar rack and looking aft. On the right (port) side is the TACNAV, the empty logger's/quarterback seat, Jezebel, empty forward Julie seat and someone in the after Julie seat.   (From Sentinel Magazine, May 1968)

1968: The routine navigator is on the same schedule as the pilots while the on-duty time for other crew members varies with the intensity of their work. Here the navigator is using the Loran 'A' capability of the AN/APN-70 receiver. He is freezing the Lat/Long counters while he inserts an update. (Photo from Sentinel Magazine, May 1968)

The instrument cluster : 1) TACAN, 2)  Radio Altimeter, 3) Barometric Altimeter, 4) Air Speed Indicator, 5) Clock, 6) Outside Air Temperature Gauge, 7)  Lat/Long Counters and L/L update buttons, 8) Master Director Corrector (main ANTAC compass)  and 9) ADF/OTPI Indicator. 

There used to be an old joke in the navigation business. "By definition, a navigator is always lost.  By the time he figures out where he is, he has already been there".

1980: In this photo, an Omega receiver has been added to the centre-low position of the console. Much of the other instrumentation appears to have changed.  (Photo by Randy Schroeder)

Early Argus radio position, circa 1967. The major piece of equipment in view is the ARC-502 radio above the control panel. (Photo#  PCN 667 © Department of National Defence. Reproduced with the permission of the Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada (2009). Source:  Library and Archives Canada/Department of National Defence)
1980: This the radio operator's station in the Argus aircraft held in the National Aeronautical Collection in Ottawa. There are several pieces missing in this photo such as the BID 580 and  KW-7 crypto machines and other odds and ends. (Photo by Randy Schroeder)

The KW-7 was fitted into the rack currently marked by a roll of teletype paper with  the BID-580 directly above it. There was a security curtain which could be pulled around the operating position when keying the crypto boxes.  No one except an authorized radio operator was allowed to observe the keying process. With this high grade crypto aboard, it meant the radio operator had to put seals on it when away from home base.  The seals had to be checked every 12 hours to verify they were intact.

The LF teleprinter was just forward (and out of view) of the communications panel at the left side of the seat.  The ARC-505 and the ARC-37 were stacked, facing the centre isle, in front of the RO's knees.   The ring cap with chain in the cabin wall above the comm console is where the Very Piston was fitted (when used). Fittings may vary slightly over time. 

argus_radops_1970_s.jpg This is a more detailed view of the radio operator's position as depicted in Aircraft Operating Instructions - ARGUS dated 20 Nov 1970. Click to enlarge. There may be minor variances in actual layout depending on the time period. The original VHF tube transceivers sat in the location where the BID-580 is positioned.  (Provided by Bill Griffith, VE3WGX) 

The aircraft on display at the National Aeronautical Collection (now called the Canada Aviation and Space Museum) was the MP&EU aircraft, s/n 742. It was used to evaluate new devices therefore the electronic fits in this a/c  may have minor differences when compared to the rest of the fleet. As an example, an AN/UGC-503 modem was fitted into position 11 but the line drawing shows a storage box there. 

During a tactical situation, the crew eats box lunches but at other times, they prepare simple meals for themselves in the small galley. (From Sentinel Magazine, May 1968)
To operate an Argus and its complex equipment, a crew of 16 was carried. The pilots and navigators worked on a rotational duty system consisting of four hours on followed by two hours off. The remainder of the crew were required at different times and for different jobs with the intensity of the work either increasing or decreasing depending on whether the aircraft was in transit or engaged in a tactical exercise. In the latter case, all stations were manned and intense concentration was demanded for hours on end as the aircrew demonstrated the ability of the Argus as an anti-submarine system.

During those periods when the crew members were off-watch they rested, slept or ate in the galley area where four bunks and four airline-type seats were available. There was also a galley containing a small stove and refrigerator but eating arrangements were sometimes downgraded because of operational requirements. During a tactical situation, for instance, box lunches were handed out and they had to be eaten at the individual crew stations. But, whenever conditions permitted, Argus aircrews would prepare simple meals, such as bacon and eggs, and eat them in relative comfort.

Overhead is the lamphouse that projected a symbol representing the aircraft on the plot table.  The symbol would rotate with aircraft track and advance at aircraft ground speed.  (Photo by Randy Schroeder)

This is the ASV-21 radar which was carried by the Argus MK II. Its controls were far more simplified than those of the APS-20. Usually the radar was in standby mode so its emissions would not be detected by the target's sensors. When needed, it was turned on for a sweep or two to confirm target bearing and distance, then switched back to standby mode. (Photo by Randy Schroeder)
Ian Snow expands on the use of the Argus radar. "The technique was to scan on a random time basis (per tables in publication ATP-1) such that the sub couldn't predict when the radar would be turned on for a sweep. Operators would switch on the set only long enough to be comfortable that there were no contacts.  The time needed was dependent on factors such as aircraft height and sea state. (Doctrinally speaking, the aircraft would be in and out of the cloud base).  Looking up-wind for example, would produce a lot of "sea return" compared to looking downwind. If the sea-state was high enough, the returned energy was sufficient enough to blank out a small target such as a periscope or "snort" (snorkel).  Also, out of a typical 40/45 minute snort, the first 20 to 25 minutes only replaced the energy consumed getting the diesels started.  Force the boat down once or twice and you can significantly impede its speed of advance and maybe even negate it's mission because it couldn't get into position to attack it's target.

Keep in mind that a diesel boat has to snort fairly frequently, especially when it's in transit mode.  This was the huge advantage of the Argus, the ability to stay on-station long enough that eventually the boat would have to take the risk and conduct a snort.  Then you had him.  The trick for the radar operator was to conduct a homing process without changing the  radar operating parameters (ie changing ranges, scan speed, pulse width or pulse repetition frequency, etc). The TACNAV would be provided with a fix, then the  radar turned off, the power level reduced and then a minute or so later another all-round sweep would be done. To the boat, the weakening RF energy made it look as if the aircraft was flying in the opposite direction.  The aim was to get the nose observer and pilot into visual contact before the sub realized the the aircraft was closing in."

Featuring the AN/AQA-10 sonobuoy recorder. (Photo by Randy Schroeder)

The roll of thermal paper is stored behind the front panel and the paper is drawn flat across the bed  to a drive roller at the back.  There were four electric stylus (i.e. 4 sonobuoy recordings) that repeatedly swept the paper as it was drawn backwards. 

Sometimes, there were lots of situations where the Jez operator, interpreting the gram and predicting sub movement and recommending the placement of subsequent buoy drops, arguably took over a component of the TACNAV's job.  When you had two individuals who jointly combined talent, wisdom and cooperation you could have a powerful crew.  Despite the technology gap with our USN counterparts, Canadian crews frequently produced superior tactical results.

It is believed that these are two AN/AJH-501 chart recorders that were used to display the Julie echoes or the MAD trace.   (Photo by Randy Schroeder)

There were changes to this position since the late 1960's. There is only one ARR sono receiver control box (centre bottom, left) with two receiver channel controls and eyebrow meters indicating RF signal strength.  Above that is a release button for the Retro, with a green light to indicate the gun had reloaded.  Above the yellow light are two knobs with meter above. That  is the control for the MAD system. 

Overhead, at one time, were controls for two 1/4 inch reel to reel tape recorders.  Around 1967  the PI-214 tape recorder was added (1 inch multi-channel (16?) recorder installed at the ESM station).  Also located overhead was the control for the MAD compensation system.  It was replaced with an automated piece of kit around 1969. 

The Pan Adapter Display in the centre, had a  camera installed on the front of it.   (Photo by Randy Schroeder)

Each ESM system had four tuning units located in a space under the floor (along with all the antenna switching relays and the rotating DF antenna) in a compartment that also contained a vertical camera, air compressor and other bits and pieces.  The operator could control the speed of rotation and even stop the antenna on a target bearing for improved signal reception.  He could also tune the chosen receiver to a specific frequency. This gear provided a decent analysis of a relatively steady signal and it was possible to get a very detailed presentation of the pulse shape and to fingerprint some radars.

MCpl Chipman is looking at the ESM scope.  The equipment to his right was introduced sometime later. At the top right that is believed to be  a  time code generator and to the lower right, the audio level controls for the PI-214 magnetic tape recorder.  This was added to make the ESM analysis more accurate. (Canadian Forces photo HC 81-65. Sentinel Magazine 1981/03) 

Sonobuoys being loaded into the launchers. (From Sentinel Magazine, May 1968)
The weapons bay could carry a variety of weapons. Here a torpedo is being carefully loaded into the bay. (From Sentinel Magazine, May 1968)

In addition, a weapons carrier was available for the Argus. It would release a bomblet that was shaped to have the same flight profile as a MK 54 depth charge.  In the center of the bomblet, there was a hollow tube into which was inserted a blank shotgun shell which would fire off on impact with the water and releasing a puff of smoke.  A normal stick of MK-54's [1] was eight and the canister was programmed to release a bomblet representing the first and last depth charges.  The run was photographed with the vertical camera so the Intelligence folks could measure the attack error taking into account target course  and speed, offset of the smoke markers from the target etc....

Sgt. Ken Kitt, an airborne  electronic Sensor Operator,  photographs a target of interest with the 11 inch  HULCHER camera which used 70 mm film pre-loaded by Base Photo.  On both the 7" and 11 " cameras, the film roll was advanced by a 28 VDC motor which  received power from a capped 2-pin Cannon plug receptacle at each lookout position. 

This observation post was in the ASW area on the starboard side. All the ROs/Observers were trained in it's use and the person on-duty would man the camera whenever required. For intelligence photography, the aircraft would fly a box pattern with 270 degree turns at the corners in order to photograph the target. (Canadian Forces photo. Sentinel Magazine 1981/03) 

Sgt. Ray Allen at the the ASW starboard position. (Canadian Forces photo HC 81-63 from Sentinel Magazine 1981/3)

This is the Hulcher 70mm camera used by the Sensor Operator. It had two lens options -  3 or 11 inch focal length. Darrel Newman worked at MPEU where he trialed a replacement lens of 6 inch focal length. It gave much better results than either the 3 or 11 inch lens but was never adopted. 
Each ASW station had a 20 foot or so long intercom cord so the operators could move about. The port side position had a lookup window. Aft of the positions is the Librascope launcher.  To the right are two 10 inch (approximately) diameter tubes for manually throwing out ASW stores, tubes filed with newspapers and mail to the exercise submarines, etc.  The two lids opened independently. In the centre over the Librascope, is the 6-chute sonobuoy launcher.  Each tube had a pneumatically operated trigger finger that would eject the sono out of the aircraft when commanded by the Tactical Navigator.

Behind the sono tubes was the Retro Launcher, which fired a smoke/flame marker backwards at a/c forward speed. It was controlled by the Tactical Navigator, but with release buttons at all the lookout positions.

On the port side is a similar but shorter bin for sono storage.  Behind that are bins for storing SUS and smoke markers.  Above these bins is a rack for storing magnesium flares.  These flares are still used today in the Search and Rescue business.  They are dropped from altitude via parachute (release lanyard was attached to a spring clip beside the manual launch tubes) to illuminate the area for a subsequent low observation pass.

At the very back was a bulkhead with  a canvas covered access hole.  There was a flux gate for the compass system back there plus of course the MAD detector in the boom and a MAD compensation unit.



In days gone by, Radio Operators, AI's (Air Interceptor officers on the CF-100 and 101), and LR's (Long-range Navs) all took the same basic Navigators course at the Air Navigation School, Winnipeg.  In phase II ,each trade specialized in its own role.  Around 1963 or 64, the decision was made to phase out RO's so training shut down. Ian Brown indicates that "I was going through Officer Candidate School Centralia as a navigator candidate when in circa October 1965 it was realized that some sort of calculation error had been made and Maritime Air was going to run out of RO's.  On turning up for Monday morning classes we non-pilot candidates were given a choice:  with the change of contract terms we could carry on as RO candidates or opt out.

The first four courses through Winnipeg graduated RO's from books salvaged from the closing of the Clinton
school and lesson plans cobbled together from wherever.  At the same time, the school was designing a modernized course more tailored to developing Maritime Command needs.  From that point on, the graduates were ESO's - Electronic Systems Officers. As mentioned elsewhere, the non-commissioned AESOP program replaced the RO/ESO's circa 1969.

The Air Nav program carried on in Winnipeg remained basically unchanged until the 1990s.  The school was always under the control of Air Transport Group. That changed about 1994 with the appointment of Sandy Kerr as the CO.  It took a couple more years but an Air Command review was held and the course completely revamped, from a WW II long-range bomber Nav perspective to a modern Maritime TACCO perspective.

Andy Sawatsky (injured but survived the Summerside Argus crash and also a fellow Sea King TACCO) who was the ANS Standards Officer at the time. He told me a story about when, purely by chance, the students of the last "LR" course and the first "Maritime" course met in the mess to hear a guest speaker.  It became painfully obvious that the two groups had no idea what the other was talking about.  The LR students were in their 'box' thinking in terms of supporting the pilot by keeping him and his aircraft on track.  The "maritime" students were thinking like mission commanders:  executing a mission change, taking control of the second Dash-8 training aircraft, directing a search pattern for a SAR target or some other type of mission, etc.  In other words, the student was being taught from the get-go to think like a commander, not as simply a supporting member in a crew waiting for somebody to give him/her direction."

SAR KIT (MA-1 system)

A Search and Rescue raft system could be launched from the back of the aircraft using a slide. It was composed of four bags - a 10 man raft, survival kit, survival kit and a 10 man raft. These were all joined by lengths of rope. The drill was to fly across the wind, just upwind of survivors in the water.  The back end crew launched the system on the call of the nose operator.  If the timing was right you ended up with 450 feet of raft, rope and survival gear which would land slightly upwind of the survivors.  The rafts inflated on contact with the water and having less drag than the survival kits, the system would end up draped in a "U" shape around the survivors.

Select this link to read the story about the wife of an Argus crewmember who went out on a 12 hour patrol.


[1] The Mk 54 depth charge carried 250 lbs of Torpex and had an overall weight of 354 lbs. A hydrostatic fuse was located on the tail.

[2] Pronounced "hull-share". There were three Haltcher cameras onboard the Argus. A 7 inch (178mm) camera was used used at the Nose Observer's position while  a 7 and 11  inch (279mm) units were used at the ASW station. The 11 inch camera was not used in the nose because there was insufficient room to manipulate it. The 7 inch camera was used instead, however, there was too much distortion in the nose perspex, so photos were generally taken out the side of the perspex .


1) Can anyone confirm the use of the Konica KD-2 (35mm) camera or have a photo of it?

Credits and References:

1) Ian Snow  RCAF/CF retired.<va3qt-4(at)>
2) Argus radio photo courtesy
3) Bert Campbell <navigator1(at)> 5,000 Argus Hours - Radio Officer/Navigator
4) Extracts from "Argus Patrol" story,  Sentinel May 1968.
5) Extracts from  the Argus Farewell story. Sentinel Magazine 1981/03 page 11
6) Deke Chapin <deke.buckie(at)>
7) Darrel Newman <darreljn(at)>

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Jan 11/16