The Convair F-102 was the world’s first supersonic, all-weather interceptor and the Air Force’s first operational delta-wing aircraft. It was armed with 24 2.75″ unguided rockets and 6 guided missiles. Highly automated, the aircraft’s radar would provide steering commands for intercept, and automatically fire the rockets at the proper moment.

Originally intended to be called the Machete, the Delta Dagger’s first flight was 24OCT53, and it became operational with the Air Defense Command in 1956. Convair eventually built 1000 F-102s, and 111 TF-102A trainers, with side-by-side seating.



The F-102 served in Vietnam, where 15 aircraft were lost—one in air-to-air combat with a Mig-21, three to ground fire, four were hit on the ground by Viet Cong mortars, and the remainder were lost in accidents. In fact, the F-102 experienced 13.69 accidents per 100,00 flight hours, which compares poorly with, say, the F-15 at 2.47. In all, 259 out of 875 F-102As were lost in accidents that killed 70 pilots.