The F-106B (Model 8-27) was a two-seat combat trainer version of the Delta Dart. 63 examples were ordered on August 3, 1956. The aircraft was originally intended as a pure trainer and was initially designated TF-102B and then later redesignated TF-106A. The designation F-106B was eventually chosen when in late August of 1956 the Air Force specified that full combat capability was to be provided for the two-seater.
In order to avoid the problems experienced with the side-by-side TF-102A trainer version of the Delta Dagger, a tandem seating arrangement was chosen. The two crew members sat under a large, single-piece clamshell- type canopy. The fitting of the aft seat reduced the fuel capacity and displaced some of the avionics to the weapons bay. The external dimensions of the F-106B were exactly the same as those of the F-106A single-seater. The F-106B was equipped with the Hughes AN-ASQ-25 fire control system which was equivalent to the MA-1 of the F-106A. The armament capability was the same as that of the single-seat F-106A, namely a quartet of Falcon air-to-air missiles plus one Genie rocket equipped with a nuclear warhead, all housed in the internal weapons bay.
Procurement of the F-106B was included in the third F-106A contract, but the F-106B definitive contract was not finalized until June 3, 1957.
The first flight of the F-106B (57-2507) was made on April 9, 1958. The first eight aircraft off the production line were temporarily designated JF-106B for flight tests. The first delivery to the USAF was made in February of 1959. However, the F-106B suffered from the same development problems as the F-106A single-seater, and was not declared fully operational until July of 1960.
The first 12 F-106Bs off the production line were initially allocated to testing, but they were eventually brought up to the standards of the rest of the F-106 fleet.
The last F-106B aircraft were completed as Model 8-32s, with improved MA-1 fire control systems, supersonic ejector seats, vertical instrument display panels, Case 29 wings with revised camber, and with provision for 230-US gallon underwing tanks.
Production of the F-106B ended in December of 1960 with the delivery of the last two examples.
The F-106B participated in all of the F-106A modification programs, since the aircraft were so similar. Like the F-106A, the F-106B was initially powered by the J75-P-9 turbojet which was later replaced by the more powerful J75-P-17. All 64 F-106Bs built received Convair's new supersonic ejector seats with two-stage booms. The Convair supersonic seats were, however, replaced by Weber "zero-zero" seats later in the 1960s. However, the F-106B never received the weapons bay cannon installation that was applied to the A.
In the field, each ADC and ANG squadron was provided with several two seaters which were used to perform combat proficiency training and checks. They were fully capable of performing normal intercept missions as required.
Two F-106Bs (57-2507 and 57-2516) were supplied to NASA for use as systems development aircraft. They were redesignated NF-106B and assigned the civilian registration numbers N607NA and N616NA respectively.
F-106B 57-2516 arrived at Lewis Research Center in October of 1966, where it was assigned the NASA number 616. It was used for research and development in support of supersonic transport engine inlet design. It was later modified with two additional jet engines mounted underneath the wings. 616 was transferred to the Dryden Flight Research Facility at Edwards AFB in January of 1979, where it was renumbered 816. This plane was later loaned to Langley, where it was modified by the Langley Research Center in 1979 to evaluate the effect of lightning strikes on aircraft. In 1988, it was fitted with Langley-designed and manufactured wing leading-edge vortex flaps in connection with the Advanced Technology Fighter program. This aircraft was retired on May 17, 1991 (the last flight having been flown on March 5 from Langley AFB in Virginia) and is awaiting a replacement. The aircraft is now display at the Virginia Air and SpaceCenter at Hampton.
In March of 1981, F-106A serial number 59-0123 was transferred to NASA at Langley to serve as a spare for 816.
F-106B 57-2507 arrived at Lewis in September of 1972, where it was assigned the number 607. It was used for solar cell and ocean color scanning tests, which were designed to be used in water and land quality evaluation. In May of 1981, 607 was transferred to Langley. It was cut in half in 1984 for use in full-scale wind tunnel testing.
F-106B 59-2545 arrived at Langley on January 30, 1985. It is a non-flyable aircraft used for various tests.
F-106B number 57-2513 was used as a Rockwell B-1 chase aircraft by the San Antonio Air Logistics Center at Kelly AFB in Texas.
57-2507/2547 Convair F-106B-CO Delta Dart 58-900/904 Convair F-106B-CO Delta Dart 59-149/165 Convair F-106B-CO Delta Dart