F-106 Delta Dart

F-106 Delta Dart

Infobox Aircraft
name=F-106 Delta Dart

caption=Convair F-106A Delta Dart of the 5th Fighter Interceptor Squadron
first flight=26 December 1956
introduced=June 1959
retired=August 1988 (ANG)
number built=340
unit cost=US$4.7 millionKnaack, Marcelle Size. "Encyclopedia of US Air Force Aircraft and Missile Systems: Volume 1 Post-World War II Fighters 1945-1973". Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History, 1978. ISBN 0-912799-59-5.]
primary user=United States Air Force
more users=
developed from=F-102 Delta Dagger
variants with their own articles=

The Convair F-106 Delta Dart was the primary all-weather interceptor aircraft for the United States Air Force from the 1960s through the 1980s. Designed as the so-called "Ultimate Interceptor", it has proven to be the last dedicated interceptor in USAF service to date. It was gradually retired during the 1980s, although the QF-106 drone conversions of the aircraft were used until 1998. [ Winchester 2006, p. 55.]

Design and development

The F-106 emerged from the USAF's 1954 interceptor program of the early 1950s as an advanced derivative of the F-102 Delta Dagger known as the F-102B, for which the United States Air Force placed an order for in November 1955. The aircraft featured so many modifications and design changes it became a new design in its own right, redesignated F-106 on 17 June 1956. [Pace 1991, p. 138.]

The major change was to an area ruled fuselage, enabling supersonic speed in level flight. In addition, the F-106 featured a more powerful J-75 afterburning turbojet with enlarged intake diameter to compensate for the increased airflow requirements and a variable geometry inlet duct, which allowed the aircraft improved performance particularly at supersonic speeds, as well as permitting a shorter inlet duct. The fuselage was cleaned up and simplified in many ways featuring a modified, slightly enlarged wing area and a redesigned vertical tail surface. The aircraft's exhaust nozzle featured a device known as an idle thrust reducer, which allowed taxiing without the jet blast blowing unsecured objects around, yet allowing virtually full performance at high thrust levels, including afterburners. The fuselage was also slightly longer than the F-102 Delta Dagger.

Initial flight tests at the end of 1956 and beginning of 1957 were disappointing, with performance much less than anticipated, but after nearly abandoning the program, the Air Force decided to order 350 F-106s instead of the planned 1,000. After some minor redesign, the new aircraft, designated F-106A were delivered to 15 fighter interceptor squadrons along with the F-106B two-seat combat-capable trainer variant, starting in October 1959. [Green 1964, p. 138.]

In December 1959, Major Joseph W. Rogers set a world speed record of 1,525.96 mph (2455.79 km/h) in a Delta Dart at 40,500 ft (12,300 m). [Drendel 1980, p. 92] [Donald 2003, p. 232.]

The F-106 was equipped with the Hughes MA-1 integrated fire-control system, which could be linked to the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) network for ground control interception (GCI) missions, allowing the aircraft to be steered by controllers. It was armed with four Hughes AIM-4 Falcon air-to-air missiles in its internal weapons bay, along with a single GAR-11/AIM-26A Falcon nuclear-tipped semi-active radar (SAR)-homing missile (which detected reflected radar signals), or a 1.5 kiloton-warhead AIR-2 (MB-2) Genie air-to-air rocket intended to be fired into enemy bomber formations. [Winchester 2006, p.54.] The MA-1 proved extremely troublesome and was eventually upgraded more than 60 times in service. [Baugher, Joe. "Convair F-106A Delta Dart". [http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/f106_1.html Convair F-106A Delta Dart] Retrieved: 26 February 2007.]

Operational history

Charleston AFB, SC in 1982.] The F-106 served in the continental USA, Alaska, and Iceland, as well as brief periods in Germany and South Korea. The F-106 was the second highest sequentially numbered P/F- aircraft to enter service under the old number sequence (the F-111 was highest), before the system was reset under the 1962 United States Tri-Service aircraft designation system. In service, the F-106's official name, "Delta Dart," was rarely used, and the aircraft was universally known simply as the "Six."

Although contemplated for use in Vietnam, it never saw combat, nor was it exported to foreign users. After initial teething problems were resolved, its exceptional performance made it very popular with its pilots. Air-to-air combat testing suggested the "Six" was a reasonable match for the F-4 Phantom II in a dogfight, with superior high-altitude turn performance and overall maneuverability (aided by the aircraft's lower wing loading), although pilots conceded the Phantom had better radar and missiles. [Donald 2003, pp. 259–260.] The F-4 also featured a greater missile capacity than the F-106, featured a higher thrust/weight ratio, superior climb performance, and better high speed/low-altitude maneuverability.

The F-106 was progressively updated in service, with improved avionics, a modified wing featuring a noticeable conical camber, an infrared search and track system, streamlined supersonic wing tanks which provided virtually no degradation to overall aircraft performance, better instrumentation, and features like an inflight refuelling receptacle and an arresting hook for landing emergencies. [Donald 2003, pp. 242, 246.]

Some F-106As were upgraded in Project Six Shooter [Donald 2003, p. 250.] in 1972, fitted with a new bubble canopy without the metal bracing along the top (which greatly improved pilot visibility), an optical gunsight, and provision for a single M61 Vulcan 20 mm cannon with 650 rounds of ammunition in the center weapons bay, replacing the AIM-26 Super Falcon or Genie.

The F-15A started replacing the F-106 in 1981, with the "Sixes" typically passed on to Air National Guard units. The F-106 remained in service in various USAF and ANG units until 1988. [Winchester 2006, p. 55.]

Starting in 1986, many of the surviving aircraft were converted into drones, designated QF-106A, and used for target practice. The last was destroyed in January 1998. The drones were still capable of being flown as manned aircraft, such as for ferrying to a test; during the test they were flown unmanned. [Donald 2003, pp. 270–271.] A handful of F-106s were retained by NASA for test purposes through 1998.


*F-102B : The original designation of the F-106A. Fitted with the MA-1 Integrated Fire Control System with SAGE datalink, J-75 afterburning turbojet, enlarged intake, variable geometry inlet ramps and shortened intake ducts, refined fuselage shape, modified wings and redesigned tailfin; tailpipe fitted with a device to reduce the tendency of the jet exhaust to blow unsecured objects around while taxiing, yet allowing virtually maximum performance at high thrust settings including afterburner. Performance was deemed unsatisfactory and modifications were made.:Weapons configurations (projected)::2 x AIM-4 Falcon, 2 x AIM-4 Falcon, and 2 x AIM-4 Falcon or::2 x AIM-4 Falcon, 1 x AIM-26 Super Falcon, and 2 x AIM-4 Falcon or::2 x AIM-4 Falcon, 1 x AIR-2A Genie, 2 x AIM-4 Falcon
*F-106A : Modified F-106 with improved performance. Maximum speed at least Mach 2.5, with some estimates as high as Mach 2.85 in level flight. The aircraft is capable of low supersonic speeds without afterburner with a significant range penalty and maximum altitude at least 57,000 ft. Many were fitted with a conically cambered wing for improved takeoff, supersonic, and high-altitude flight. To improve the aircraft's range, the aircraft was fitted with two streamlined supersonic tanks which were capable of sustaining roll rates of 100 degrees per second. Since these tanks produced virtually no significant performance degradation, they were rarely jettisoned and were routinely carried around. After 1972, many F-106s were refitted with a new canopy featuring improved visibility, improved optic sights, and provision for a gunpack in the center weapons bay.::Weapons configurations ::2 x AIM-4 Falcon, 2 x AIM-4 Falcon, and 2x AIM-4 Falcon or::2 x AIM-4 Falcon, 1 x AIM-26 Super Falcon, and 2 x AIM-4 Falcon or::2 x AIM-4 Falcon, 1 x AIR-2A or AIR-2B Genie, and 2 x AIM-4 Falcon::2 x AIM-4 Falcon, 1 x M61 gunpack with 650 rounds, and 2 x AIM-4 Falcon
*F-106B : Two-seat, combat-capable training version. Pilot and instructor are seated in tandem. Due to the extra seat, the fuselage is actually better area ruled; combined with a likely reduction in weight,fact|date=December 2007 this increases top speed by a 10th of a Mach number. Maximum speed is at least Mach 2.6Fact|date=April 2007, with some estimates as high as Mach 2.95.Fact|date=April 2007 Many were fitted with the conically cambered wing, improving the supersonic lift to drag ratio. [It is uncertain if the F-106B was fitted with the modified Project Sharpshooter optic sights and gunpack provision.] ::Weapons configurations (same as F-106A)
*NF-106B : This designation was given to two F-106Bs used as temporary test aircraft.
*F-106C : Unbuilt version. Aircraft was intended to have the AN/ASG-18 radar and fire control system fitted originally developed for the XF-108 Rapier. For its time, it was the largest radar to ever be fitted to a fighter, actually requiring hydraulic actuators to turn the antenna. To accommodate this larger radar system, the nose cone was longer and of greater diameter. The design featured an improved raised canopy design featuring better visibility, canards and lengthened rectangular inlet ducts. The aircraft was to be capable of carrying one GAR-9/AIM-47A in its center bay and one AIM-26A in each side bay. At one time, the US Air Force had considered acquiring 350 of these advanced interceptors, but the F-106C/D project was cancelled on 23 September 1958. [ [http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/f106_3.html Baughers: "F-106C/D"] Note: After the cancellation of the Avro Arrow, the Canadian government briefly considered purchasing the F-106C/D. After the F-106C/D project was canceled, it acquired CF-101s, instead.]
*F-106D : Unbuilt two seat version of the F-106C.
*F-106X : Unbuilt version (early 1968). Would have been outfitted with canards and powered by a JT4B-22 turbojet. It was envisioned as an alternative to the Lockheed YF-12, and was to have had a fire control system with "look-down, shoot-down" capability fed by a 40-inch radar dish. [Donald 2003, p. 232.]
*F-106E : Unbuilt version. On 3 September 1968, Convair issued a proposal for an "improved" interceptor that was to be designated F-106E/F. It was to be compatible with the upcoming airborne warning and control systems as well as with the "over-the-horizon" radar defense network. The F-106E/F would have had a longer nose and a new and improved radar with a look-down/shoot-down tracking and missile launch capability. It would also have had a two-way UHF voice and datalink radio. It would have been capable of launching both nuclear and non-nuclear missiles, including the AIM-26 Nuclear Falcon and the AIM-47. [ [http://www.airtoaircombat.com/background.asp?bg=228&id=52 Air To Combat: "F-106C/D/E/F"] ]
*F-106F : Unbuilt two seat version of the F-106E.


*United States Air Force
*Air National Guard


A partial list of statically displayed F-106 Delta Darts, by model, museum or base, location, and serial number: [ [http://www.aero-web.org/locator/manufact/convair/f-106.htm AeroWeb list of F-106 Delta Darts on display in the US.] ]

* Aerospace Museum of California [McClellan AFB] , 59-0010, Sacramento CA [ [http://webs.lanset.com/aeolusaero/Articles/F106_history.htm A Brief History of Convair F-106A SN 59-0010] ]
* Air Mobility Command Museum Dover AFB, Delaware [ [http://1000aircraftphotos.com/Contributions/McKillop/6375.htm 59-023] ]
* California ANG - 144th FW, Fresno Fresno, California 59-146
* Florida ANG - 125th FW, Homestead ARB, Homestead, Florida 57-0230
* Florida ANG - 125th FW, Camp Blanding Museum, Middleburg, Florida 59-0105 [ [http://www.f-106deltadart.com/displays/camp_blanding.htm 59-0105] ]
* McChord Air Museum McChord AFB, Washington 56-0459 [ [http://aeroweb.brooklyn.cuny.edu/database/museums/getimage.htm?id=4575 56-459] ]
* Minot AFB Minot AFB, North Dakota [ [http://aeroweb.brooklyn.cuny.edu/database/museums/getimage.htm?id=4576 56-460] ]
* Montana ANG - 120th FW, Great Falls ANGB, Great Falls, Montana [ [http://aeroweb.brooklyn.cuny.edu/database/museums/getimage.htm?id=5426 59-069] ]
* Museum of Aviation Robins AFB, Georgia [ [http://aeroweb.brooklyn.cuny.edu/database/museums/getimage.htm?id=2038 59-123] ]
* Peterson Air and Space Museum, Peterson AFB, Colorado Springs, Colorado, [ [http://www.airliners.net/open.file/1042978/M/ 59-0134] ]
* Pima Air & Space MuseumTucson, Arizona [ [http://www.aero-web.org/database/museums/getimage.htm?id=89 59-0003] ]
* Tyndall Air Park Tyndall AFB, Florida [ [http://www.aero-web.org/database/museums/getimage.htm?id=4577 59-145] ]
* United States Air Force Museum, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio [ [http://www.warbirdregistry.org/jetregistry/f106-580787.html 58-0787] ] [http://aeroweb.brooklyn.cuny.edu/database/museums/getimage.htm?id=5158 58-787] (F-106 that landed itself with relatively minor damage in a farmer's field after its pilot lost control and ejected);NF-106A
* Selfridge Military Air Museum, Selfridge ANGB, Michigan 56-451 ;F-106B
* Kelly Field Heritage Museum, Lackland AFB/Kelly Field (former Kelly AFB), Texas [ [http://aeroweb.brooklyn.cuny.edu/museums/tx/kfhm/57-2533.htm 57-2533] ]
* New Jersey ANG - 177th FW, Atlantic City ANGB, Atlantic City, New Jersey 57-2523
* Virginia Air and Space Center / Hampton History Center Hampton, Virginia [ [http://www.aero-web.org/database/museums/getimage.htm?id=3236 N816NA] ]

pecifications (F-106A)

aircraft specification

plane or copter?=plane
jet or prop?=jet
ref=Quest for Performance [Loftin, L.K, Jr. [http://www.hq.nasa.gov/pao/History/SP-468/cover.htm "Quest for performance: The Evolution of Modern Aircraft."] NASA SP-468. Retrieved: 22 April 2006.]

length main=70.7 ft
length alt=21.55 m
span main=38.25 ft
span alt=11.67 m
height main=20.28 ft
height alt=6.18 m
area main=661.5 ft²
area alt=61.52 m²
airfoil=NACA 0004-65 mod root and tip
empty weight main=24,420 lb
empty weight alt=11,077 kg
loaded weight main=34,510 lb
loaded weight alt=15,670 kg
max takeoff weight main=
max takeoff weight alt=
more general=
* Zero-lift drag coefficient: 0.0083
* Drag area: 5.8 ft² (0.54 m²)
* Aspect ratio: 2.10
engine (jet)=Pratt & Whitney J75-17
type of jet=afterburning turbojet
number of jets=1
thrust main=24,500 lbf
thrust alt=109 kN
max speed main=Mach 2.3
max speed alt=1,525 mph, 2,455 km/h
range main=1,800 mi
range alt=1,600 nm, 2,900 km
range more=combat
ferry range main=2,700 mi
ferry range alt=2,300 nm, 4,300 km
ceiling main=57,000 ft
ceiling alt=17,000 m
climb rate main=29,000 ft/min
climb rate alt=150 m/s
loading main=52 lb/ft²
loading alt=255 kg/m²
more performance=
* Lift-to-drag ratio: 12.1
* Time to altitude: 6.9 min to 52,700 ft (16,065 m)
guns=1× 20 mm (0.787 in) M61 Vulcan gatling gun
** 2× AIM-4F Falcon
** 2× AIM-4G Falcon
** 1× AIR-2A Genie nuclear rocket

ee also

* Convair XF-92
* F-102 Delta Dagger
similar aircraft=

* CF-105 Arrow
* Dassault Mirage III
* English Electric Lightning
* Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21
* Saab 35 Draken
* Sukhoi Su-11
* Sukhoi Su-15
* List of fighter aircraft
* List of military aircraft of the United States
see also=
*Century Series




* Carson, Don and Lou Drendel. "F-106 Delta Dart in Action". Carrollton, Texas: Squadron/Signal Publications, 1974. ISBN 0-89747-014-1.
* Donald, David. "Convair F-106 Delta Dart: The Ultimate Interceptor."Century Jets". London: AIRtime Publishing Inc, 2003. ISBN 1-880588-68-4.
* Drendel, Lou. "Century Series in Color (Fighting Colors)". Carrollton, Texas: Squadron/Signal Publications, 1980. ISBN 0-89747-097-4.
* Green, William. "The World's Fighting Planes". London, Macdonald, 1964.
* Pace, Steve. "X-Fighters: USAF Experimental and Prototype Fighters, XP-59 to YF-23". Oscela, Wisconsin: Motorbooks International, 1991. ISBN 0-87938-540-5.
* Winchester, Jim, ed. "Convair F-106 Delta Dart." "Military Aircraft of the Cold War (The Aviation Factfile)". London: Grange Books plc, 2006. ISBN 1-84013-929-3.

External links

* [http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/f106_1.html Convair F-106A Delta Dart]
* [http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/research/fighter/f106a.htm USAF Museum: Convair F-106A "Delta Dart]
* [http://www.f-106deltadart.com/home.htm Pat's Delta Dart World]
* [http://www.aero-web.org/locator/manufact/convair/f-106.htm AeroWeb list of surviving F-106 Delta Darts on display in the US including radio-controlled drones]

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