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F-106 Delta Dart


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On 11/21/2022 at 8:56 AM, alejandro_ said:

Many pilots considered the F-106 a "one trick pony", being really good as an interceptor (and the same in close combat due to delta wing). In 1961 USAF setup an exercise to compare it with the Phantom called Project High Speed. It took place during Robert McNamara's tenure as Defense Secretary, as he wanted to optimize the investment. F-4 Phantom proved better in most fields.

Earlier this year I interviewed a pilot who flew the F-106:


Thanks for the interview alejandro. Interesting that USAF was trying to control fighters like  Soviets were famous for in 60,70's . I wonder if copying USAF was what send the Soviets in that path.

Delta wings tend to be good at altitude because the large surface helps in less air pressure but have a large drag in lower atmosphere. You make one manoeuvre and you loose all energy.


Mirage III vs F4 or what would be the best 50,60's designed fighter?

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2 hours ago, Dawes said:

AIM-4 was such a flop in the SEA combat environment that the 8th TFW commander (Col. Robin Olds) eventually had them restricted from use on his aircraft. Not that Falcon was alone in this, of course. Combat Snap brought the AIM-9J into use, but it was also something of a disappointment compared to expectations.

Robin Old's had a lot to do with The AIM-4's bad reputation. But my understanding was that he used AIM-4s on F-4 Phantoms which at that time did not have the computer system to launch it properly. In the F-106, the AIM-4's performance was not an issue. There is an interview somewhere with former F-106 pilot Bruce Gordon, who disagreed with Robin Olds on the AIM-4.

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It's true that the AIM-4 was out of it's element in the SEA enviroment. From Gen. Dick Pascoe:

‘On my 6 January 1967 mission, I was able to maintain a position of advantage behind the second element of MiG-21s after I had shot the leader down. However, even though I fired three AIM-9s during the turning engagement, none found the target due to the weapon’s limitations. To address this generally recognised deficiency, a decision was taken to adapt existing AIM-4s to the F-4 as a potentially enhanced dogfighting weapon. Having flown the AIM-4-equipped F-102, I was familiar with the Falcon’s characteristics and limitations. Unfortunately, the AIM-4 was declared unfit (at Ubon) before I was able to convince the 8th TFW of its merits.

`While the Falcon’s flight dynamics were better than the AIM -9’s, the arming and firing process was more complex — certainly in a dogfight environment. The AIM-4 was a hit-to-kill weapon, and to achieve the required accuracy it used nitrogen to super-cool the seeker head before launch. This design is effective, but adds a degree of complexity to the missile launch sequence. In the all-weather interceptor application, the added complexity was managed by the weapons system. However, in the F-4D application, the pilot had to decide to fire the weapon 90 seconds prior to it actually leaving the aircraft, as he had to push a button to discharge the nitrogen and then fire the missile within a lapsed time of between two to three minutes after the nitrogen had been discharged! Not An easy task to complete in a 6g turning fight.’

Col. Olds personally fired (or attempted to fire) seven or eight Falcons, none of which guided or launched. That was probably a major factor in his banning of the missile. An F-106 engaging a straight-and-level bomber may or may not have had better results.

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