The Convair F-106 Delta Dart was the US Air Force’s primary all-weather interceptor jet for almost 20 years. Here are five interesting facts about this ultimate supersonic interceptor:
1. It was incredibly fast
The plane could reach speeds over 1,500 miles per hour to intercept the long-range bombers of the Soviet Union.
2. It was designed with a supersonic ejection in mind
The F-106 was expected to reach Mach 2 performance. Initially, the ejection process proved to be too complicated, some unsuccessful ejections even resulted in tragedy.
The third and final seat for the Delta Dart was the Weber 00 rocket catapult seat, which can operate 690 miles per hour. It was fitted to the F-106 after 1965.
3. It was one of the first planes to have a semi-autonomous military weapon platforms
Its Hughes Ma-1 electronic fire and control system worked simultaneously with the semi-automatic ground environment defense system.
It took over the plane right after takeoff, guiding it to the right altitude and attack position. This allowed the plane to lock and fire the enemy’s weapons, and return the plane to its airbase. For landing, the pilot would then take over control.
4. It was designed without a gun or provision for carrying bombs
Its missiles were hidden in an internal weapons bay for cleaner supersonic flight.
5. During its long operational life, the F-106 held the record for having the lowest single-engine aircraft accident in all of Air Force history
Even today, the aircraft can hold its own in the fighter training and combat area.