Manufactured by Convair
Late in World War II, German aircraft designers were working with delta-winged aircraft. No delta-winged aircraft became operational, but the design was well advanced by the end of hostilities.
Anxious to cash in on the German’s work, the U.S. brought German designers to the U.S. following the war to help design the F-102 Delta Dagger.
In plan, the ship looks like the Greek letter “Delta” as the flying surfaces form a nearly perfect triangle. The wing and the horizontal tail surfaces are melded into as single surface. The design worked well, and the F-102 was in the Air Force inventory from 1956 to 1978.
Note the fences on the upper surface of the wings, painted red. These directed the airflow aft over the control surfaces instead of letting it fall off the wing. Note the “tabs” on the tail assembly. These ships are so clean aerodynamic that they do not slow down right away when the throttle is closed. An artificial means of braking is desirable, so the “tabs” are speed brakes design to slow the aircraft down for landing or certain aerial maneuvers.
The “Deuce,” as it was called by its pilots, was designed to be an interceptor and it did the job well. Pilots loved the ship, and it was a staple of the Air Force’s arsenal during the Cold War. The Greek and Turkish Air Forces also flew the aircraft and there are reports of them being used during the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island of Cyprus.
- Role/Category: Fighter
- Powerplant: one jet engine with 17,200 pounds of thrust in afterburner
- Speed: maximum – Mach 1.2, climb rate of 12,000 feet per minute for the first minute
- Armament: The F-102 carried no guns. It carried Falcon missiles which carried a nuclear or high explosive warhead, as dictated by mission requirements. Also, 2 .75 inch folding fin rockets were carried. The F-102 was our first fully integrated and complete weapons system consisting of missiles, and avionics. The ship could be flown from the ground with the pilot controlling the aircraft only at takeoff and landing.