F-106 Delta Dart
The Convair F-106A Delta Dart
was the primary all-weather interceptor
aircraft for the US Air Force
during the 1960s.
It started as a redesignation of the Air Force's project to design the ultimate interceptor, with the F-102A becoming an interim aircraft while the future design was called the F-102B. When the F-102A tests were successful, the Air Force placed an order for the F-102B in November 1955, and redesignated it the F-106 on June 17 1956.
USAF F-106A Delta Dart fires a missile.
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 F106A and F-106B (a two-seat trainer version) were delivered to 15 fighter interceptor squadrons starting in October 1959.
In December 1959, Major Joseph W. Rogers set a world speed record of 1525.96 mph while flying a Delta Dart at 40,500 feet.
The F106 served in the continental USA, Alaska, Iceland, and Canada, as well as for brief periods in Germany and South Korea. Although contemplated for use in Vietnam, it never saw combat.
The F-15 started replacing the F-106 in 1972, and the 106s were typically passed on to Air National Guard units. The F-206 remained in service in various USAF and ANG units until 1988.
Starting in 1986, many of the surviving planes were converted to drones, designated QF-106A, and used for target practice up until 1997.
- Type: Single-seat all-weather supersonic interceptor
- Contractor: Convair
- Power plant: One Pratt & Whitney J75-P-17 turbojet
- Thrust: 24,500 pounds
- Wing span: 38.3 feet (11.67 meters)
- Length: 70.7 feet (21.56 meters)
- Height: 20.3 feet (6.18 meters)
- Speed: 1,525 mph (Mach 2.3 plus)
- Maximum takeoff weight: 41,831 pounds (18,975 kilograms)
- Ceiling: 57,000 feet (17,375 meters)
- Range: 729 miles (1,173 nautical miles)
- Crew: F-106A: one; F-106B: two
- Armament: one Douglas AIR-2A Genie or AIR-2B Super Genie rockets, and four Hughes AIM-4F or AIM-4G Super Falcon air-to-air missiles in internal weapons bay
- Date deployed: October 1959
- www.f-106deltadart.com is a truly comprehensive site, with many firsthand accounts by both pilots and ground crew, many many pictures, and a detailed accounting of the fate of nearly every Delta Dart made.