Home / NASA: Advanced F-106 Sky Scorcher Inlet [16]

Convair Advanced F-106 Sky Scorcher Inlet Wind Tunnel Tests from 1957 and 1958 in the Unitary Tunnel as seen at http://crgis.ndc.nasa.gov/historic/1251_Models_D-G#F-106_Inlet

This Convair Advanced F-106 was also proposed to support the Sky Scorcher Missile Project. The Sky Scorcher project was proposed by the Convair Division of General Dynamics to the USAF in 1956. Sky Scorcher was a very large missile, which was proposed to be capable of carrying a thermonuclear warhead with a yield of two megatons. The oversized warhead would be used against attacking formations of supersonic bombers; it was anticipated that fourteen such initiations, at a distance of approximately 460 miles (740 km) from the bombers' target, would be sufficient to disrupt an attack. Proposed to carry the missile was a force of 80 of the enlarged version of Convair's Advanced F-106 Delta Dart interceptor, which had, at the time, not yet entered flight testing even in its baseline form. Despite Convair's sales pitch and the anticipated effectiveness of the weapon, the Air Force was unenthusiastic about the concept; aside from the expense of developing the aircraft and weapon, the Sky Scorcher missile also suffered from the fact that there would be significant effects on the ground below the location of an air-burst of a multi-megaton nuclear warhead. As a result, the project was abandoned before any significant work was undertaken.

Convair's Advanced F-106 Sky Scorcher NASA Inlet Wind Tunnel Tests from 1957 and 1958 as seen at http://crgis.ndc.nasa.gov/historic/1251_Models_D-G#F-106_Inlet
Found on 'The Unwanted Blog': A 1956 concept for a derivative/modification of the Convair F-106, equipped with canards, entirely new inlets, a noticeably larger nose (housing a larger 40″ radar), an infra-red seeker at the top of the vertical fin and a weapons load of a single massive Convair “Sky Scorcher” missile. The idea seems to have been that the Soviets would send waves of supersonic bombers tightly packed into groups which could be blasted out of the sky with two-megaton-yield nuclear air-to-air missiles. Not much seems to be publicly known about the “Sky Scorcher.” The drawing below depicting the missile may or may not be accurate in the details… no fins are shown, so either the depiction is vague and handwavy, or steering was accomplished by means of thrust vectoring or movable flaps on the aft conical flare. Also unclear is whether the missile was guided or not… normally you’d think that an air-to-air missiles, especially one with a nuclear warhead, would be guided to the target, but the one nuclear air-to-air missile that the US did field (the AIR-2 “Genie”) was unguided. When you’re chucking megaton nukes into large flocks of bombers, I guess precision isn’t important. The Sky Scorcher was a substantial missile. Weighing 3400 pounds, when launched at Mach 2/55,000 feet it could cover its 125 mile range in 200 seconds. For continental defense, a force of 80 Advanced F-106′s would lob 14 Sky Scorcher missiles into the incoming waves of Soviet supersonic bombers, blasting some directly out of the sky, and forcing others to split off. The remaining bombers would be picked off by the remaining Advanced F-106s, which would carry a weapons load of four Falcon missiles and one Genie each.