The F-106 was originally started as a later model of the F-102, but the changes were so extensive that it was redesignated as the F-106. It was equipped with the MA-1 electronic guidance and fire control system which operated with the SAGE (Semi Automatic Ground Environment) defense system. It was the aircraft that finally met the Air Force 1948 specification for the "ultimate interceptor".
The Delta Dart entered operational service in July 1959. Fourteen squadrons eventually received the 106 when deliveries were completed in 1961. It stayed in first-line service far longer than originally anticipated. When it was retired from active Air Force and Air National Guard service in 1988, most of the remaining aircraft were converted to drones for use as missile targets. Because of its long service life, the 106 received numerous upgrades under several different Air Force programs. The Six was the last dedicated interceptor and was replaced in most cases by the F-16.
Two Fighter Interceptor Squadrons flew the F-106 from Castle AFB - the 456th FIS and the 84th FIS. The 456th flew F-106s from Castle for 8 years from 1959 to 1968, when it moved to Oxnard AFB; the 84th for 8 years from 1973 to 1981. The 84th had flown the Six from 1968 to 1973 from Hamilton AFB.
The display aircraft is the 155th F-106 produced. It served with 7 different Air Force interceptor squadrons and 2 Air National Guard squadrons from 1959 to 1985. It was converted to a QF-106 drone in 1993 and returned to storage in 1998. It was removed from storage and trucked to the museum in November 2002.
It displays the 1967 markings of the commander's plane of the 456th Fighter Interceptor Squadron. Alumni of the 456th led the fund-raising efforts to bring this aircraft to Castle Air Museum.
By kjfitz @ 2007-03-10 15:36:06