Military Factory logo
Icon of F-15 Eagle military combat fighter aircraft
Icon of AK-47 assault rifle
Icon of Abrams Main Battle Tank
Icon of navy warships
Icon of a dollar sign
Icon of military officer saluting


Seaplane Fighter Prototype Aircraft


Seaplane Fighter Prototype Aircraft


Only five of the CONVAIR F2Y Sea Dart prototypes were ever completed - no serial production followed.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: United States
YEAR: 1953
STATUS: Cancelled
OPERATORS: United States (cancelled)

Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the CONVAIR F2Y Sea Dart model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
LENGTH: 52.49 feet (16 meters)
WIDTH: 33.79 feet (10.3 meters)
HEIGHT: 16.08 feet (4.9 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 12,632 pounds (5,730 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 16,491 pounds (7,480 kilograms)
ENGINE: 2 x Westinghouse J46-WE-2 turbojet engines developing 6,100 lb thrust each.
SPEED (MAX): 823 miles-per-hour (1,325 kilometers-per-hour; 715 knots)
RANGE: 513 miles (825 kilometers; 445 nautical miles)
CEILING: 54,790 feet (16,700 meters; 10.38 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 17,100 feet-per-minute (5,212 meters-per-minute)

4 x 20mm Colt Mk 12 internal cannons.

2 x Air-to-Air Missiles (AAMs).
30 x 5" aerial rockets (unguided).
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Graphical image of an air-to-air missile weapon
Graphical image of a short-range air-to-air missile
Graphical image of aircraft aerial rockets

Series Model Variants
• F2Y "Sea Dart" - Series Product Name
• XF2Y-1 - Base prototype series designation; five completed
• YF-7A - Redesignation of 1962 (in accordance with USAF restructuring).


Detailing the development and operational history of the CONVAIR F2Y Sea Dart Seaplane Fighter Prototype Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 10/27/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
The concept of a jet-powered "seaplane fighter" had long been on the minds of military aircraft engineers since the end of World War 2 (1939-1945) and many attempts were made to see this plan through. The process involved a jet- or rocket-powered fighter capable of take-off and landing on water all the while retaining fighter-like qualities once in the air. This, theoretically, could give a fighting force a distinct tactical advantage - the aircraft could be deployed anywhere in the world (over 70% of the planet is covered by water) and stationed there until needed - a much less expensive venture than a loitering aircraft carrier to be sure. Its power in getting to the skies quickly would allow it to intercept marauding enemy forces in short order.

The United States Navy (USN) was always interested in supersonic aircraft types, following the United States Air Force (USAF) lead after the Second World War. However supersonic types launched and recovered from aircraft carrier decks presented a whole slew of technical challenges - primarily due to the speeds at play. As such, it would be some time before the USN adopted viable supersonic fighters and, until then, subsonic types remained the order of the day.

Aircraft producer CONVAIR (1943-1996) approached the USN with an idea for a supersonic fighter based around the seaplane interceptor idea. The proposal was interesting enough that the USN ordered a pair of prototypes before the end of 1951 and a further twelve production-quality aircraft were already contracted for.

The resulting design came to be known as the F2Y "Sea Dart". It utilized some of the design qualities made memorable by CONVAIR's upcoming Mach 1-capable "Delta Dagger" interceptor of 1956 complete with its sharp lines, triangular cockpit canopy and a triangular tail fin. For water operation, the fuselage underside exhibited a boat-like appearance and retractable skis would be used for water surface running. Power was to be provided for by 2 x Westinghouse XJ46-WE-02 turbojet engines (6,100 lb thrust each) buried in the fuselage, the twin exhaust rings seen at the rear of the aircraft sitting just above the waterline. Because of the damage salt water could cause the delicate components of the turbojets, the intakes for each unit were fitted dorsally, aft of the cockpit. A delta-wing mainplane arrangement was used that eliminated the need for dedicated tailplanes.

Delays occurring with the intended Westinghouse XJ46 engines meant that the prototypes were completed with the alternative (and lower-powered) Westinghouse J34-WE-32 turbojet instead (4,900 lb thrust each). Testing began in San Diego Bay and a first flight was had, rather accidentally, on January 14th, 1953 when a high-speed run took the aircraft up.

From then on, the program revealed mounting shortcomings in both design and performance that would lead to the Sea Dart's undoing. The engines never helped the aircraft perform to expected levels and the ski arrangement was not as successful as hoped (several variations of the ski arrangement were used). Supersonic speed proved elusive and was only attained in a diving action - making the Sea Dart the only seaplane in aviation history to achieve this feat. Aerodynamic drag was an ongoing detriment for the product.

All this led to a termination of the second contracted prototype which moved a service test airframe to the forefront. This model - BuNo 135762 was lost in midair when it broke apart on a November 4th, 1954 flight, claiming the life of its test pilot. By this time, USN authorities had begun moving away from the novel concept of the seaplane fighter and focused greater efforts in delivering the service's first supersonic carrier-based fighter instead (to become the Douglas F4D "Skyray").

A total of five Sea Darts were completed but not all were flown. The program was ended in April of 1957 with the four surviving members becoming museum showpieces.

The finalized Sea Dart exhibited a length of 52.6 feet, a wingspan of 33.7 feet and a height of 16.1 feet. Maximum speed was 825 miles per hour with a range out to 513 miles. Its service ceiling was listed at 54,800 feet and a rate-of-climb of 17,100 feet-per-minute was reported. Proposed armament for the fighter was to include 4 x 20mm Colt Mk 12 series cannons and support for FFAR (Folding-Fin Aerial Rockets) as well as early-generation Air-to-Air Missiles (AAMs).


General Assessment

Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
MF Power Rating
The MF Power Rating takes into account over sixty individual factors related to this aircraft entry. The rating is out of 100 total possible points.
Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 1000mph
Lo: 500mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (823mph).

Graph average of 750 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the CONVAIR F2Y Sea Dart's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production (5)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.

Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

Site Disclaimer  |  Privacy Policy  |  Cookies  |  Site Map Site content ©2003-, All Rights Reserved.

The "Military Factory" name and logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world.

Facebook Logo YouTube Logo