The Convair F-102 Delta Dagger is an American interceptor aircraft that was built as part of the backbone of the United States Air Force's air defenses in the late 1950s. Entering service in 1956, its main purpose was to intercept invading Soviet bomber fleets during the Cold War. Designed and manufactured by Convair, 1,000 F-102s were built.
A member of the Century Series, the F-102 was the first operational supersonic interceptor and delta-wing fighter of the USAF. It used an internal weapons bay to carry both guided missiles and rockets. As originally designed, it could not achieve Mach 1 supersonic flight until redesigned with area ruling. The F-102 replaced subsonic fighter types such as the Northrop F-89 Scorpion, and by the 1960s, it saw limited service in the Vietnam War in bomber escort and ground-attack roles. It was supplemented by McDonnell F-101 Voodoos and, later, by McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom IIs.
Many of the F-102s were transferred to United States Air National Guard duty by the mid-to-late 1960s, and the type was retired from operational service in 1976. The follow-on replacement was the Mach-2 Convair F-106 Delta Dart, which was an extensive redesign of the F-102.
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... General characteristics Crew 1 Length 68 ft 4 in (20.83 m) Wingspan 38 ft 1 in (11.61 m) Height 21 ft 2 in (6.45 m) Wing area 661.5ft²/61.52m² (Original Wing) or 695 ft²/64.57m² (Conically-Cambered Wing) Airfoil NACA 0004-65 mod root and tip Empty weight 19,350 lb (8,777 kg) Loaded weight 24,500 lb (11,100 kg) Max ... takeoff weight 31,500 lb (14,300 kg) Powerplant 1 × Pratt Whitney J57-P-25 afterburning turbojet Dry thrust 11,700 lbf (52.0 kN) Thrust with afterburner 17,200 lbf (76.5 kN) Internal fuel capacity 1,085 US gal (4,107 l) External fuel capacity 2 × 215 US gal (815 l) drop tanks Performance Maximum speed Mach 1.25 (825 mph, 1,304 km/h) at 40,000 ft (12,190 m) Range 1,350 mi (1,170 nmo, 2,175 km) Service ceiling 53,400 ft (16,300 m) Rate of climb 13,000 ft/min (66 m/s) Wing loading 35 lb/ft² (172 kg/m²) Thrust/weight 0.70 Armament Rockets 24 × 2.75 in (70 mm) FFAR (Folding Fin Aerial Rocket) unguided rockets in missile bay doors Missiles 6 × AIM-4 Falcon air-to-air missiles or 3 × AIM-4 Falcon 1 × AIM-26 Falcon with conventional or nuclear warhead Avionics MG-10 fire control system ...
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—Wallace Stevens (18791955)