A new plan was announced Friday to recover test models of the famed Avro CF-105 Arrow, a military project that could have brought Canada to the forefront of the aviation world.

The Avro Arrow Fighter Jet Project was abruptly cancelled in 1959 by the Government of Canada and all materials related to the project, including the six completed jets and production tooling, were ordered to be destroyed.

The only remaining pieces of the project lie at the bottom of Lake Ontario, test models about one-eighth of the size of the real jets.

A mission involving the Royal Canadian Air Force and the robotics and sonar company Kraken Sonar Inc., plans to use high-tech sonar searching equipment to find and retrieve the models.

Between 1954 and 1957, the free-flight models were launched over Lake Ontario from a military test site located east of Toronto. After separating from their rocket boosters, the models would fly at supersonic speeds before losing velocity and crashing into the lake.

In a high-tech measure for the time, onboard sensors would transmit flight data back to engineers on the ground, leaving no reason to retrieve the models.

According to historical records, the models were launched to test the aerodynamic qualities of the design and each model increased in sophistication. The models have been in Lake Ontario for approximately 60 years.

The cancellation of the project resulted in more than 30,000 employees and sub-contractors losing their jobs, of which more than 14,000 were plant workers.

Kraken Sonar Inc. said they were awarded the contract as part of Canada’s 150th year. They will team up with Canadian mining company Osisko Mining and deploy an autonomous underwater vehicle to search for the models.

“This is a little bit of giving back from the corporation to the Canadian public. This is a piece of history which really touched the Canadian psyche,” John Burzynski, president of Osisko Mining, told CTV News.

The full size CF-105 Arrow measured to 24 metres long with a 15-metre wingspan. Each model was just three metres long with a two metre wingspan.

“We can piece them back together and bring back what was, at the time, a piece of cutting edge Canadian technology,” said David Shea from Kraken Sonar Inc., adding that it shouldn’t be hard to scour the lake for the remains.

“It’s a fairly hard bottom in most of the area so we expect that if they’re intact, they should be just sitting there on the lake bed.”

Military records show that more than 600 missiles were launched from the same military testing site, most of which are also believed to be in Lake Ontario. The large search area, abundance of metal and small size of the models will make the search more difficult.

Historical research is being consulted to try and narrow down the large search area.