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  • CONVAIR F-102 Delta Dagger Single-Seat Supersonic Interceptor Aircraft

    The CONVAIR F-102 Delta Dagger was an interim delta-wing interceptor design fielded by the USAF until the arrival of the more capable CONVAIR F-106 Delta Dart series.

     Updated: 6/18/2017; Authored By Dan Alex; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    The CONVAIR F-102 "Delta Dagger" was a product of the ensuing Cold War years following the close of World War 2 in which jet technology and aerodynamics advanced to all new tiers. As such, development of evermore powerful and streamlined aircraft ensued giving rise to one of the more exciting periods of military aviation. One of the primary threats to both Western Europe and United States interests remained the long range, nuclear-capable bombers of the Soviet Union to which "interceptors" were developed in response. The interceptor was built on the concept of pure speed and engaged aerial targets with missiles at range using complex computer fire control systems (FCS). The F-102 served as a deterrent for such enemies during its early tenure while eventually evolving to a limited ground attack mount by the time of the Vietnam War. Used by less than a handful of nations worldwide, the F-102 served just over 20 years before being formally retired from service. While sharing a undeniable appearance to the upcoming F-106 "Delta Dart", the F-102 was more of an interim interceptor design until the original project goals were fulfilled in the F-106.

    In August of 1945, the United States Army Air Force, just beginning to wind down war time operations of World War 2, was high on the idea of jet-propelled aircraft and put forth a requirement for an interceptor aircraft with supersonic capabilities. Jet propulsion was in its infancy during the war while many technological hurdles were eventually overcome - including the arrival of the first operational jet fighter - the German Messerschmitt Me 262. The USAF required a maximum speed of 700 miles per hour with a service ceiling of 50,000 feet - these two qualities would ensure a Soviet bomber counter. CONVAIR eventually turned to the works of German engineer Alexander Lippisch who championed the use of the "delta-wing" area design when concerning high-speed flight. Convair was born in 1943 from the merger of CONsolidated Aircraft and Vultee AIRcraft (hence the "CONVAIR" naming). CONVAIR was eventually acquired by General Dynamics and lost to aviation history.

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    CONVAIR F-102A Delta Dagger Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1956
    Type: Single-Seat Supersonic Interceptor Aircraft
    National Origin: United States
    Manufacturer(s): CONVAIR - USA
    Production Total: 1,000

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 1
    Length: 68.37 feet (20.84 meters)
    Width: 38.12 feet (11.62 meters)
    Height: 21.19 feet (6.46 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 19,026 lb (8,630 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 31,500 lb (14,288 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 1 x Pratt & Whitney J57-P-25 turbojet engine developing 17,200lb of thrust with afterburner.

    Maximum Speed: 825 mph (1,328 kph; 717 knots)
    Maximum Range: 1,350 miles (2,173 km)
    Service Ceiling: 54,003 feet (16,460 meters; 10.23 miles)
    Rate-of-Climb: 17,400 feet-per-minute (5,304 m/min)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    3 x AIM-4A air-to-air semi-active radar-homing missiles.
    3 x AIM-4C ait-to-air infrared-homing missiles
    24 x Folding-Fin Aerial Rockets (FFARs)
    2 x Fuel drop tanks underwing (external)

    1 x AIM-26A Nuclear Falcon nuclear missile

    Global Operators / Customers

    Greece; Turkey; United States

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    XF-92A - Experimental Research Aircraft from which the YF-102 is derived from.

    YF-102 - Evaluation Model Designation; fitted with PW J57-P-11 turbojet engine of 14,500lbs thrust; 2 examples produced.

    YF-102A - Redesigned "Whitcomb Area Ruled" airframe; fitted with PW J57-P-23 engine of 16,000lbs thrust; 4 examples produced.

    F-102A - Initial Production Model Designation; 887 examples produced.

    TF-102A - Two-Seat Trainer Conversion Model; side-by-side seating in revised forward fuselage; lowered performance specifications but retaining combat capability.

    F-102B - Proposed "improved" F-102A; redesignated to F-106 "Delta Dart" production forms.

    F-102C - Proposed strike variant; fitted with PW J57-P-47 engine; internal gun; inflight refueling probe; larger internal fuel stores; additional underwing hardpoints for conventional drop ordnance; 2 YF-102C developmental models produced.

    QF-102A - Target Drone Conversion; 6 examples produced from F-102A stocks.

    PQM-102A - Pilotless Target Drone Conversion; 65 examples produced from F-102A stocks.

    PQM-102B - Improved Pilotless or Piloted Target Drones; 146 examples produced from F-102A stocks.