Convair F-106 Delta Dart

Country of originUnited States
General Dynamics
First flight26 December 1956
IntroducedJune 1959
Producedcirca 1955
Numbers built342 (2 prototypes, 277 F-106A, 63 F-106B)
Unit costsUS$4.7 million
Max speedMach 2.3 (1,525 mph, 2,455 km/h)
Max rangeRange: 1,800 mi (1,600 nm, 2,900 km) combat
Ferry range: 2,700 mi (2,300 nm, 4,300 km)
Service ceiling: 57,000 ft (17,000 m)
DimensionsLength: 70.7 ft (21.55 m)
Wingspan: 38.25 ft (11.67 m)
Height: 20.28 ft (6.18 m)
Wing area: 661.5ft²/61.52m² (Original Wing) or 695 ft²/64.57m² (Conically-Cambered Wing)
WeightEmpty weight: 24,420 lb (11,077 kg)
Loaded weight: 34,510 lb (15,670 kg)
Powerplant1 x Pratt & Whitney J75-17 afterburning turbojet, 24,500 lbf (109 kN)
1x 20 mm (0.787 in) M61 Vulcan 6-barreled gatling cannon

2x AIM-4F Falcon
2x AIM-4G Falcon
1x AIR-2A Genie nuclear rocket or AIM-26 Super Falcon missile, a capability replaced since 1972 with a gun pod
OperatorsFormer Operator:
United States

The Convair F-106 Delta Dart, also called the Ultimate Interceptor, was the main all-weather interceptorof the United States Air Force. The single-seat supersonic interceptor was one of the Century Series aircrafts and had served the USAf from 1960s to 1980s. Some of the F-106 also served with the United States Air National Guard (ANG) as of 1988 before being replaced by the F-15A Eagle. Two-seat version was also built for training purpose.

In response to emerging threat of the Soviet Union military aviation, the USAF through its 1954 interceptor program wanted to enhance the capability of the F-102 Delta Dagger. The program led to the development of F-102B, the embryo of F-106.

The F-106 was comparable to Dassault Mirage III, English Electric Lightning, Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21/Chengdu J-7, Saab 35 Draken, Sukhoi Su-9/Su-11 and Sukhoi Su-15.

The Development and Design of F-106

The old F-102 Delta Dagger was enhanced to reach supersonic speed in level flight by featuring Pratt & Whitney J-75-P-17 afterburning turbojet, a more powerful engine with larger air intake. The exhaust nozzle used a device termed an idle thrust reducer that made possible taxiing without the jet blast blowing unprotected objects nearby the aircraft. The fuselage was also a bit longer than the F-102 Delta Dagger’s.

As the name implies, the aircraft featured delta-wing platform. The first prototype of F-106 took its maiden flight in December 1956. However, the initial flight tests did give the result as expected resulting in the reducing order from the USAF from 1,000 to only 350 F-106s.

After having several improvements, in December 1959 the Delta Dart achieved a world speed record of 1,525.96 mph (2,455.79 km/h) at 40,500 ft (12,300 m) with Major Joseph W. Rogers handling its control.

The F-106 was equipped with four Hughes AIM-4 Falcon air-to-air missiles, along with a single GAR-11/AIM-26A Falcon nuclear-tipped semi-active radar (SAR)-homing missile, or a 1.5 kiloton-warhead AIR-2 (MB-2) Genie air-to-air rocket to hit enemy bomber formations. The missiles were carried in an internal weapons bay in order to have clean supersonic flight. Similar to the F-102 Delta Dagger, the F-106 also was not armed with guns. The aircraft could also carry a drop tank under each wing.

The Variants of F-106

Following are the variants of F-106 Delta Dart:

  • 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.
  • 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 was capable of low supersonic speeds without afterburner.
  • F-106B : Two-seat, combat-capable training version. Pilot and instructor are seated in tandem.
  • F-106C : Unbuilt version. Aircraft was intended to have the AN/ASG-18 radar and fire control system fitted originally developed for the North American XF-108 Rapier.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • F-106F : Unbuilt two seat version of the F-106E.

Convair F-106 Delta Dart videos

Convair F-106 Delta Dart


F-594 Convair F-102 and F-106 Annual Review

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