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CONVAIR F-106A "Delta Dart"

The F-106 began development as an improved version of the F-102 Delta Dagger all-weather interceptor. Originally known as the F-102B, extensive structural and system changes resulted in the aircraft being redesignated as an F-106. . The delta wing remained substantially unchanged, but the fuselage was modified to accommodate more powerful Pratt & Whitney J-75 turbojet. Engine intakes were re-located behind the cockpit and were variable for optimum engine performance at all speeds. The cockpit was moved forward relatively, and the shape of the fin and rudder changed. A new undercarriage was fitted, with steerable twin nose wheels. First flight was December 26, 1956, and delivery began to Air Defense Command units in July 1959.  The F-106 attained initial operational capability with ADC in October 1959. The F-106 remained the mainstay of the U. S.'s air defense until 1988 when the last Delta Darts were withdrawn from service.

The F-106 was fitted with the sophisticated Hughes MA-1 electronic and fire control system and worked in conjunction with the SAGE (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment) defense system.  The MA-1 took over control of the plane shortly after takeoff and guided it to the proper altitude and attack position.   The system would then lock on and fire the F-106 weapons at the intruder aircraft, and return the plane to the vicinity of its air base, where the pilot took over control for landing.


Wing Span 38 feet, 3.5 inches
Length 70 feet, 8.75 inches
Height 20 feet, 3.5 inches
Weight 35,000 lbs. maximum
Armament One Douglas AIR-2A Genie rocket with nuclear warhead, plus four AIM-4 Falcon missiles
Engine One Pratt & Whitney J75-P-17 engine with 24,500 lbs. of thrust, with afterburner
Cost $3,310,000
Maximum speed 1,525 mph
Cruising speed 650 mph
Range 1,500 miles
Service Ceiling 53,000 feet

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