Aircraft And Military Development & Applications
22-Convair F-106 Delta Dart
The Convair F-106 Delta Dart was the primary all-weather interceptor aircraft of the United States Air Force from the 1960s through the 1980s. Designed as the so-called “Ultimate Interceptor”, it proved to be the last dedicated interceptor in U.S. Air Force service to date. It was gradually retired during the 1980s, with the QF-106 drone conversions of the aircraft being used until 1998 under the Pacer Six Program.
Maiden flight: 26 Dec 1956 Length: 70.70 ft Wingspan: 38.29 ft Retired: 1988 Introduced: Jun 1959 Manufacturers: Convair ·General Dynamics.
The Convair F-106 Delta Dart was a supersonic, all-weather delta wing interceptor aircraft of the United States Air Force from the 1960s through 1988. Referred to as the "Ultimate Interceptor" it was the last dedicated interceptor in USAF to date. Originally envisioned as an advanced derivative of the F-102A Delta Dagger and given the designation F-102B, the "Ultimate Interceptor", as it was known, entailed such extensive changes that in June, 1956, the designation was changed to F-106. It was designed from the ground up as an Interceptor and nothing but an interceptor. Originally designated the F-102B, it was re-designated the F-106 due to it's extensive structural changes and the more powerful Pratt & Whitney J75 engine. The single seat F-106A first flew on December 26, 1956, was delivered to and entered operational service with the US Air Force (USAF) in May 1959 and achieved initial operational capability in October, 1959. The two-seat F-106B made its maiden flight on April 9, 1958, achieved initial operational capability in July 1960, and retained the full combat capability of the F-106A. All F-106 production ended in late 1960 with a total of 277 F-106A's and 63 F-106B's being built at a cost of about $5 million each.
The F-106 Delta Dart was manufactured by the Convair Division of General Dynamics. It's design, and that of its predecessor the F-102A, is closely linked to Langley and the development of "area ruling" (Area Rule) in the early 1950's. Area Rule reduces drag at transonic speeds and is reflected in the "coke bottle" or "wasp waist" shaped fuselage of the F-106. Area ruling enabled the YF-102A to easily exceed the speed of sound and subsequently led to the go-ahead for the advanced version which became the F-106. The significance of area ruling was recognized by the National Aeronautic Association which awarded the originator, Richard T. Whitcomb, its prestigious Collier Trophy for the greatest achievement in aeronautics in 1955. It was powered by a single Pratt and Whitney J75-P-17 turbojet engine of 16,100 LB thrust (24,500 LB thrust with afterburning).
Developed as an interceptor, its mission was to shoot down other aircraft, bombers in particular. It used a Hughes MA-1 electronic guidance and fire control system. As quoted to me in an e-mail by Dick Stultz, LtCol, USAF (Ret) who was an F-106 Pilot and who "Fired simulated AIR2A in William Tell Competition without Operational MA-1", "The MA-1 NEVER had full control of the aircraft, a capability so many publications erroneously extol. The MA-1, using its data link target information or command information, would provide directives for altitude, airspeed, xyz coordinates and command directions, which would be flown by the autopilot, however, the MA-1 NEVER regulated the throttle at any time, for forward and aft movement, thus the MA-1 could never really fully control the airplane except to provide requested directions that required coupling and thrust selection by the pilot. The pilot HAD to take it off, climb, descend, and land the aircraft, every time!" The F-106 proved its ultimate performance capabilities in providing aggressor "enemy" delta-wing familiarization training to the Navy's best pilots during the time they were mplementing TOP GUN. The Navy jocks learned valuable lessons that the Delta winged 106 was almost unconquerable in the dogfight arena, with guns in the air-to-air environment, which you read so little about in the Navy publications. Wing loading of 43 lbs/sq ft and a .8 -1 TWT put it in a class of its own against the A4s, F-104s, F4B,C,D, F-105, F-100, F8 fighters of its time.....not to mention the many many '14s and '15s that blew engines in attempting to fight when it took them above 40,000 feet, to a guns-only environment. Good thing they finally fixed those great fighters to handle the altitudes the 106s formerly ruled.
The F-106 also came in a 2 seat "B". Unlike other popular 2 seat aircraft, such as the F-4, the back seater in the "SIX" had the exact same control capability as the front seater. He could fly the aircraft and perform all operations from his rear seat. The F-106B also could carry the same armament.
On December 15, 1959, Colonel Joe Rogers piloted an F-106A to a World Speed Record of 1,525.695 mph (Mach 2.41). The F-106 still holds the record as the fastest single-engine turbojet-powered airplane.
The F-106 served with the USAF Air Defense Command (ADC), Tactical Air Command (TAC), and Air National Guard (ANG). The Air Force gradually retired the aircraft from active service after a long and distinguished career during the 1980s, last unit in 1988. The post Delta Dart period saw them used as drone targets during air-to-air missile training for our current generation of fighter aircraftThe with the QF-106 drone conversions being used until 1998 under the Pacer Six Program. The Six also saw continued use with many NASA projects. While there are no flyable F-106's remaining, all survivors have been de-milled with most survivors on static display in museums and parks.
Length: 70.7 ft (21.55 m)
Wingspan: 38.25 ft (11.67 m)
Height: 20.28 ft (6.18 m)
Wing area: 661.5 sq ft/61.52 m² (Original Wing) or 695 sq ft/64.57m² (Conically-Cambered Wing)
Airfoil: NACA 0004-65 mod root and tip
Empty weight: 24,420 lb (11,077 kg)
Loaded weight: 34,510 lb (15,670 kg)
Zero-lift drag coefficient: 0.0083
Drag area: 5.8 sq ft (0.54 m²)
Aspect ratio: 2.10
Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney J75-17 afterburning turbojet, 24,500 lbf (109 kN)
First flight: 26 December 1956
Introduction: June 1959
Retired: August 1988 (ANG); 1998 (NASA)
Primary users: United States Air Force
Air National Guard
Number built: 342 (2 prototypes, 277 F-106A, 63 F-106B)
Unit cost: US$4.7 million (1973)
$25.1 million (2014)
Developed from: Convair F-102 Delta Dagger
Maximum speed: Mach 2.3 (1,525 mph, 2,455 km/h at 12,200 m (40,000 ft))
Combat radius: 926 km (500 nmi/575 mi) with internal fuel
Combat range: 2,900 km (1,600 nmi)
Ferry range: 4347 km (2346 nmi/2700 mi)with external tanks at 982 km/h (530 kn/610 mph) at 12,500 m (41,000 ft)
Service ceiling: 57,000 ft (17,380 m)
Rate of climb: 29,000 ft/min (150 m/s)
Wing loading: 52 lb/(sq ft) (255 kg/m²)
Lift-to-drag ratio: 12.1 (Subsonic, est.)
Time to altitude: 6.9 min to 52,700 ft (16,065 m)
Guns: 1 20 mm caliber M61A1 Vulcan 6-barreled rotary cannon (After 1972 refit)
2 AIM-4F Falcon
2 AIM-4G Falcon
1 AIR-2A Genie nuclear rocket or AIM-26 Super Falcon missile (Prior to 1972 refit)
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Nigel G Wilcox
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