In July 1970, an F-102A (S/N 56-1416) assigned to the 57th Fighter Interceptor Squadron chaperones a Soviet "Bear" long-range bomber off the coast of Iceland. Based at Keflavik, Iceland, the "Black Knights" squadron, of which this particular F-102 was a part, reputedly made more interceptions of Soviet aircraft than any other F-102 squadron. This S/N would later become the USAF Museum's example of the mark. This is the type flown by then-Lt. George W. Bush for the Texas Air National Guard.
The Vernerable Convair F-102 Delta Dagger
The primary mission of the F-102 was to intercept and destroy enemy aircraft. It was the world's first supersonic all-weather jet interceptor and the USAF's first operational delta-wing aircraft. The F-102 made its initial flight on Oct. 24, 1953 and became operational with the Air Defense Command in 1956. At the peak of deployment in the late 1950's, F-102s equipped more than 25 ADC squadrons. Convair built 1,101 F-102s, 975 of which were F-102As. The USAF also bought 111 TF-102s as combat trainers with side-by-side seating.
In a wartime situation, after electronic equipment on board the F-102 had located the enemy aircraft, the F-102's radar would guide it into position for attack. At the proper moment, the electronic fire control system would automatically fire the F-102's air-to-air rockets and missiles.
The F-102A on display served the 57th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron in Iceland and was one of the first USAF aircraft to intercept and convoy a Soviet Tu-20 "Bear" bomber over the Arctic. The F-102A was flown to the Museum in 1971.
Span: 38 ft. 1 in.
Length: 68 ft. 4 in. (including boom)
Height: 21 ft. 2 in.
Weight: 31,559 lbs. max.
Armament: 24 unguided 2.75 inch rockets and six guided missiles
Engine: One Pratt & Whitney J57 of 16,000 lbs. thrust with afterburner
Cost: $1,184,000 (in 1950’s dollars)
Serial number: 56-1416
Maximum speed: 810 mph.
Cruising speed: 600 mph.
Range: 1,000 miles
Service Ceiling: 55,000 ft.