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F-102 Delta Dagger

Faced with the new threat of a Soviet long range bomber attack aimed at American soil, the USAF requested design proposals from US Airplane Companies for an supersonic interceptor able to reach an altitude of 50,000 ft in four minutes, that could be in service by 1954.

Air Force F-102 Delta Dagger jet planes in tandem takeoff

On September 11, 1951 Convair's proposal, the YF-102A was chosen for the program named the “1954 Interceptor”.

Based on the first powered delta winged aircraft, the XF-92A, the Delta Dagger became the first all weather Interceptor capable of supersonic speeds in level flight, and the first aircraft designed with an all missile armament.

The primary mission of the F-102 was to intercept and destroy enemy aircraft. It was the world's first supersonic all-weather jet interceptor and the USAF's first operational delta-wing aircraft.

The F-102 made its initial flight on Oct. 24, 1953, and became operational with the Air Defense Command in 1956. At the peak of deployment in the late 1950s, F-102s equipped more than 25 ADC squadrons.

The newly designed YF-102A dubbed the “Hot Rod” flew for the first time on December 20, 1954.

A total of 43 Air Force squadrons flew the F-102 until 1973. The Air National Guard received its first Delta Dagger in 1960 with the last unit, the 199th FIS Hawaii ANG, retiring their last aircraft in October of 1976.

The design of Convair's F-106 Delta Dart evolved from the F-102.

Technical Specifications of the F-102 Delta Dagger

Armament: 24 unguided 2.75-in. rockets and six guided missiles
Engine: One Pratt & Whitney J57 of 16,000 lbs. thrust with afterburner
Maximum speed: 810 mph
Cruising speed: 600 mph
Range: 1,000 miles
Ceiling: 55,000 ft.
Span: 38 ft. 1 in.
Length: 68 ft. 4 in. (including boom)
Height: 21 ft. 2 in.
Weight: 31,559 lbs. maximum

Production Numbers and Surviving F-102 Aircraft

Convair built 1,000 F-102 airplanes, 889 of which were F-102As. The USAF also bought 111 TF-102As as combat trainers with side-by-side seating.

A total of 25 F-102 aircraft have survived and are on display across the United States, including those shown in the photos below.

Original F-102 Fighter Photographs from the Airplanes of the Past Archives

Convair F-102 Delta Dagger S/N 56-1393, Buzz Number FC-393, Tucson, Arizona
Convair F-102 Delta Dagger S/N 56-1393, Buzz Number FC-393
Convair TF-102A Delta Dagger S/N 54-1366, Buzz Number TC-366, restored in Tucson
Convair TF-102A Delta Dagger S/N 54-1366, Buzz Number TC-366
F-102 Delta Dagger S/N 70-833 restored and on display near Salt Lake City, Utah
F-102 Delta Dagger S/N 70-833
F-102 Delta Dagger S/N 70-833
F-102 Delta Dagger S/N 70-833
F-102A Delta Dagger S/N 56-1151, Buzz Number FC-151, near Robins Air Force Base, Warner-Robins, Georgia
F-102A Delta Dagger S/N 56-1151, Buzz Number FC-151


F-102 Delta Dagger Photographs by Our Friends and Supporters

F-102A Delta Dagger S/N 0-061115 at Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane, Washington
(photo by Michael Hoschouer)
F-102A Delta Dagger S/N 0-061115 on display at Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane, Washington
F-102 Delta Dagger at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska
(photo by Michael Hoschouer)
F-102 Delta Dagger on display at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska
F-102A Delta Dagger at the Peterson Air & Space Museum in Colorado Springs, CO
(photo by Michael Hoschouer)
F-102A Delta Dagger on display at the Peterson Air & Space Museum in Colorado Springs, CO
F-102A S/N 0-61105 at Lions Park in Great Falls, Montana
(photo by Michael Hoschouer)
F-102A S/N 0-61105 at Lions Park in Great Falls, Montana
F-102A S/N 61116 at Great Falls, Montana
(photo by Michael Hoschouer)
F-102A S/N 61116 at Great Falls, Montana
F-102A. S/N 0-31816, on display Gowen Field Air National Guard Base, Boise, Idaho
(photo by Michael Hoschouer)
F-102A. S/N 0-31816, on display Gowen Field Air National Guard Base, Boise, Idah


USAF F-102 Delta Dagger Photographs

Convair YF-102A Delta Dagger S/N 31782, Buzz Number FC-782
Convair YF-102A Delta Dagger S/N 31782, Buzz Number FC-782
U.S. Air Force F-102 Delta Dagger S/N 61268, FC-268 at Elmendorf AFB
U.S. Air Force F-102 Delta Dagger S/N 61268, FC-268 at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska
U.S. Air Force F-102 Delta Dagger S/N 53372 in flight
U.S. Air Force F-102 Delta Dagger S/N 53372 in flight
Air Force F-102 Delta Daggers in tandem takeoff
Air Force F-102 Delta Dagger jet fighters in tandem takeoff
U.S. Air Force TF-102A Delta Dagger S/N 41351, Buzz Number TC-351
U.S. Air Force TF-102A Delta Dagger S/N 41351, Buzz Number TC-351
U.S. Air Force F-102 Delta Dagger S/N 61206 of the Texas Air Guard
U.S. Air Force F-102 Delta Dagger S/N 61206 of the Texas Air Guard

Historic Postcard of the F-102 Delta Dagger from the AirplanesOfThePast Collection

Convair F-102 Delta Dagger, S/N 31782, Buzz Numberr FC-782, all-weather supersonic interceptor, in flight, as shown in this historic postcard
Convair F-102 Delta Dagger, S/N 31782, Buzz Numberr FC-782, all-weather supersonic interceptor, in flight