Hobby Master HA3602 USAF Convair F-106A Delta Dart Interceptor - 5th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, "Spittin' Kittens", Minot AFB, North Dakota, 1984 (1:72 Scale)
"Isti Non Penetrabunt (They Shall Not Penetrate)."
- Motto of the 5th Fighter Interceptor Squadron
The Convair F-106 Delta Dart was the primary all-weather interceptor aircraft for the United States Air Force from the 1960s through the 1980s. Designed as the so-called "Ultimate Interceptor", it has proven to be the last dedicated interceptor in USAF service to date. It was gradually retired during the 1980s, with the QF-106 drone conversions of the aircraft being used until 1998.
The F-106 emerged from the USAF's 1954 interceptor program of the early 1950s as an advanced derivative of the F-102 known as the "F-102B", for which the United States Air Force placed an order for in November 1955. The aircraft featured so many modifications and design changes it became a new design in its own right, redesignated F-106 on June 17th, 1956.
The F-102's delta wing had to be redesigned with an area ruled fuselage to achieve supersonic speed in level flight. To exceed Mach 2, the largely new F-106 featured a more powerful Pratt & Whitney J-75-P-17 afterburning turbojet with enlarged intake diameter to compensate for the increased airflow requirements and a variable geometry inlet duct, which allowed the aircraft improved performance particularly at supersonic speeds, as well as permitting a shorter inlet duct. The fuselage was cleaned up and simplified in many ways featuring a modified, slightly enlarged wing area and a redesigned vertical tail surface. The aircraft's exhaust nozzle featured a device known as an idle thrust reducer, which allowed taxiing without the jet blast blowing unsecured objects around, without adversely affecting performance at high thrust levels, including afterburners. The fuselage was also slightly longer than the F-102 Delta Dagger's.
The first prototype F-106, an aerodynamic test bed, flew on December 26th, 1956, from Edwards Air Force Base, with the second, fitted with a fuller set of equipment, following 26 February 1957. Initial flight tests at the end of 1956 and beginning of 1957 were disappointing, with performance less than anticipated, while the engine and avionics proved unreliable. These problems, and the delays associated with them nearly led to the abandoning of the program, but the Air Force decided to order 350 F-106s instead of the planned 1,000. After some minor redesign, the new aircraft, designated F-106A were delivered to 15 fighter interceptor squadrons along with the F-106B two-seat combat-capable trainer variant, starting in October 1959.
The F-106 was envisaged as specialized all-weather missile armed interceptor to shoot down bombers. It was complemented by other Century Series fighters for other roles such as daylight air superiority or fighter-bombing. To support its role, the F-106 was equipped with the Hughes MA-1 integrated fire-control system, which could be linked to the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) network for ground control interception (GCI) missions, allowing the aircraft to be steered by controllers. The MA-1 proved extremely troublesome and was eventually upgraded more than 60 times in service. Similar to the F-102, it was designed without a gun, or provision for carrying bombs, but it carried its missiles in an internal weapons bay for clean supersonic flight. It was armed 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 (which detected reflected radar signals), or a 1.5 kiloton-warhead AIR-2 (MB-2) Genie air-to-air rocket intended to be fired into enemy bomber formations. Like its predecessor, the F-102 Delta Dagger, it could carry a drop tank under each wing. Later fighters such as the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II and McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle carried missiles recessed in the fuselage or externally, but stealth fighters would re-adopt the idea of carrying missiles or bombs internally for reduced radar signature.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a USAF Convair F-106A Delta Dart Interceptor then attached to the 5th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, 'Spittin' Kittens', during 1984.
Release Date: February 2012
Historical Account: "They Shall Not Penetrate" - Reactivated in 1946 as a United States Air Forces in Europe fighter squadron; was primarily an occupation unit at Schweinfurt and Bad Kissingen Airfields. Reassigned from USAFE to Air Defense Command in June 1947, equipped with F-61 Black Widows and assigned to Mitchell Field, New York to perform air defense of the eastern United States.
In June 1948, the unit transitioned into F-82 Twin Mustangs. In the fall of 1949 the unit moved to McGuire AFB, New Jersey. In August 1955 the 5th FIS designation was transferred to Suffolk County AFB, New York. In the spring of 1957 the unit transitioned into F-102A Delta Daggers.
In February 1960, the 5th FIS moved to Minot AFB, North Dakota and transitioned into the F-106 Delta Dart. In late 1962 the 5th FIS acquired two live lynx kittens ("Spitten" and "Kitten") as mascots, with the assistance of the Minot Daily News, after a farmer had killed their mother. In the mid-1980s the 5th FIS converted to the F-15 Eagles. The F-15s only flew over Minot until the spring of 1988, when the 5th FIS was deactivated. After the unit inactivated, their two Lynx kitten mascots were donated to the Roosevelt Park Zoo in Minot.
As an Air Defense Command unit, the squadron's motto was Isti Non Penetrabunt, literally "they shall not penetrate", but colloquially to crews as The Bastards Shall Not Pass.