World’s Fastest Single-Engine Jet Fighter

Published on
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Col. Doug Barbier, USAF (Ret)
Other Publication Information
Hard Bound, 10” x 10”, 228 pages
Product / Stock #
Provided by: Specialty Press
Front Cover

Specialty Press’ biography : “Col. Doug Barbier grew up to the sound of F-106s flying out of Selfridge AFB, MI, where a visit on Armed Forces Day 1962 began a lifelong interest in the jet. A U.S. Air Force Command Pilot with more than 3,500 flight hours, he flew the Lockheed T-33, the supersonic Northrop T-38, and logged more than 1,000 hours in the McDonnell F-4 Phantom II. Barbier finished his military career flying the F-16, spending many hours sitting Air Defense alert, and making three intercepts of Soviet Tu-95 Bears along the way. After retiring from the Air Force, he flew for a major airline for twenty years. Barbier has had over 200 photographs published worldwide, and this is his first full-length feature book.” You can find additional information on the F-106 at along with several Facebook groups, including Convair F-106 Delta Dart, Convair F-102 & F-106…Deadly Deltas, and Convair F-106 Delta Dart – Ultimate Interceptor.

This hard back book’s cover (and dust jacket) features a Massachusetts ANG Convair F-106 Delta Dart taking off in full afterburner at Otis AFB, Cape Cod. The back cover shows a California ANG F-106 Delta Dart firing a Douglas Genie during the 1980 William Tell competition along with a line drawing of the proposed naval version of the F-106. The first thing you will notice upon opening the book are the clear, well reproduced black and white pictures and the vivid color photographs gracing nearly every glossy page. I counted 203 black and white photographs, 142 color pictures, and 42 drawings.

The Convair F-106 Delta Dart was the ultimate version of the original F-102 Delta Dagger. The F-102 Delta Dagger was developed out of the USAF 1954 interceptor program and was barely acceptable due to being limited to subsonic speeds and low altitudes. Upgrading the engine and applying ‘area rule’ design to the fuselage changed the designation to F-102A, but it was still barely able to perform its mission. Switching to the Pratt & Whitney J75 turbojet required many airframe changes prompting the USAF to designate the aircraft the F-106 Delta Dart. Continuous upgrades led to the F-106 being the ‘ultimate interceptor’ before it began to be replaced in 1981 with the twin engine McDonnell Douglas F-15A Eagle. The Delta Dart remained in service with the USAF and ANG units until 1988 and on into 1998 with NASA.

Doug Barbier has authored a fascinating in-depth look at the Convair F-106 Delta Dart. Doug opens up with the birth of the concept to replace the North American F-86 Sabre with some very interesting comparisons between the Delta Dart and the Delta Dagger. He also spends considerable time in the testing and improvements made to the F-106 airframe and systems with several chapters on the evolution of the weapons systems. The Development section ends up with Chapter Eight that covers all the proposed variants and ‘what ifs’. The following chapter begins the entry of the F-106 in to operational service along with the ongoing efforts to fix the remaining ‘bugs. Doug covers the markings for every unit that operated the F-106 for the modeling aficionados, complete with color photographs and text descriptions. The final two chapters cover the end of the Delta Dart’s career with its service with NASA and the Drone Program. The four appendixes cover additional detail on individual aircraft along with a survivors table.

The Chapters include:

  • Acknowledgments
  • About the Author
  • Author Preface
  • Chapter One: Birth of the F-102B [Page 11]
    • Convair History
    • Airplane and Weapon Control Interceptor System
    • Round-Eye Versus Vertical Tape: Advances in Instrumentation
  • Chapter Two: Early Development [Page 27]
  • Chapter Three: Flight Testing the New Interceptor
  • Chapter Four: The F-106 Aircraft [Page 39]
  • Chapter Five: MA-1 and AGE
    • The Electronic “Heart” of the Six: Hughes MX-1779/MA-1 System
    • Cook-Craigie + Concurrency = Configuration Control Nightmare
    • Ground Support Equipment for the Six
  • Chapter Six: Weapons for the Six
    • The Douglas Genie [Page 61]
    • Hughes Super Falcons
    • Not In a Vacuum: The History of SAGE
  • Chapter Seven: Continued Flight and Weapons Testing
    • Continued Flight Testing
    • Cold-Weather Testing [Page 69]
    • Cambridge Research Center
    • Initial Weapons Testing at Holloman
    • The Weapons Test Fleet
    • Other Early Tests, the Scalded Cat
    • Setting the Speed Record: How Convair Made Half a Million Dollars by Going Fast
  • Chapter Eight: Design Studies and Proposed F-106 Variants
    • Naval Versions
    • Advanced Interceptor Versions
    • Variations on a Theme
    • F-106-30
    • Foreign Sales Attempts
    • Not Invented Here [Page 85]
  • Chapter Nine: Into Squadron Service: Failures and Fixes
    • The Test-to-Tactical Program
    • Fixes Begin
    • Project Wild Goose
    • Project Broad Jump
    • Project Dart Board
  • Chapter Ten: Ejection Seats for the Six [Page 101]
  • Chapter Eleven: Early Projects
    • Project Ice Cube
    • Project Rough Rider
    • Operation Safe Slide
    • Project High Speed
  • Chapter Twelve: The Cuban Crisis and Alert
    • Prelude to Crisis
    • The Cuban Crisis
  • Chapter Thirteen: Interceptor Improvement Programs [Page 116]
    • Sixes in Paris
    • One-Off Projects
    • Fleet-Wide Modifications Continue
  • Chapter Fourteen: Mobility and Deployments Begin
    • Project White Shoes: The Six Goes North
    • Additional Tasks for the Six
    • College Prom
    • College Dart
    • The Six that Landed Itself [Page 129]
    • Have Doughnut
  • Chapter Fifteen: Worldwide Deployment for the Six: Korea
    • Project Fresh Storm: Operation Combat Fox
  • Chapter Sixteen: The Six Gets a Gun [Page 141]
    • Last Chances for New Sixes
    • The Last Mods
  • Chapter Seventeen: The Original F-106 Squadrons: 1959 Conversions
    • 539th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
    • 498th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
    • 95th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
    • 456th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
    • Operational Commands for the F-106: ADC / ADCOM / ADTAC
    • 27th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
  • Chapter Eighteen: F-106 Squadrons: 1960 Conversions
    • 319th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
    • 5th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
    • 318th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
    • The Second Attempt
    • 94th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron [Page 162]
    • 438th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
    • 11th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
    • 329th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
    • 48th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
    • 71st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
    • How an F-106 Ended Up at the Air Force Academy
  • Chapter Nineteen: Later Units
    • 2nd Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
    • 83rd Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
    • 319th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
    • 87th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
    • 437th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
    • 460th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
    • 49th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
    • 84th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
    • The Six Goes to the Guard
    • 120th Fighter-Interceptor Group, 186th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
    • 102nd Fighter-Interceptor Group, 101st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
    • 177th Fighter-Interceptor Group, 119th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
    • 191st Fighter-Interceptor Group, 171st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron [Page 178]
    • 144th Fighter-Interceptor Group, 194th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
    • 125th Fighter-Interceptor Group, 159th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
  • Chapter Twenty: Tyndall and F-106 Markings
    • Into Storage
    • F-106 Unit Markings, Bicentennials and Boss Birds
  • Chapter Twenty-One: Exercises and Competitions
    • William Tell [Page 194]
    • Other Exercises and OPLANS
  • Chapter Twenty-Two: NASA and Final Duty
    • B-1 Chase
    • NACA/NASA and the F-106
    • Astronaut Use
    • NASA Workhorse
    • New Aerodynamic Research
    • The Prototype Bus Goes to NASA [Page 207]
    • Project Eclipse
    • Farewells
    • Dart Depart
    • Dart Out
    • NASA Retirement Ceremony
  • Chapter Twenty-Three: A Warrior’s Death
    • The QF-106 Pacer Six Drone Program
    • The Final Proposal: MF-106A RASCAL Satellite Launcher DARPA
  • Appendix One: F-106 Contracts
  • li>
  • Appendix Two: F-106 Model Numbers and Differences
  • Appendix Three: The First 50 Sixes
  • Appendix Four: Prototype F-106 Test Aircraft Assignments
  • Appendix Five: F-106 Survivors
  • Index

I found one section quite interesting on the first attempts to standardize cockpit instrumentation layouts amidst the translation from traditional round gauges to vertical tape instrumentation. This concept was applied to the F-105 and the F-106 took it a step further. Doug includes a brief description of the Tactical Situation Display that was an innovation that of course is now standard in every current fighter.

I really appreciated Doug Barbier’s book and his ability to weave in the issues of design and systems developments into the storyline. What really makes this book a good, easy read is the detail that he is able to provide both from a technical standpoint and the clarity that he presents this information so that it is easy to comprehend. As a bonus, the well captioned photographs and technical drawings all complement the text and provide an excellent reference for modelers.

I would also note that there is a special offer available: the first 100 books ordered will be autographed by Doug Barbier.

My thanks to Specialty Press and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!


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