YF-102 (S/N 52-7994) at the Convair assembly plant on Oct. 2, 1953, the date of completion for the first airframe. April 1, 1952, was the start date of the detail design, and May 1, 1953, was the date of design completion. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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 1950s, F-102s equipped more than 25 ADC squadrons. Convair built 1,000 F-102s, 875 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.
TECHNICAL NOTES: Armament: 24 unguided 2.75-inch rockets and six guided missiles Engine: One Pratt & Whitney J57 of 16,000 lbs. thrust with afterburner Maximum speed: 810 mph Cruising speed: 600 mph Range: 1,000 miles Service ceiling: 55,000 ft. Span: 38 ft. 1 in. Length: 68 ft. 4 in. (including boom) Height: 21 ft. 2 in. Weight: 31,559 lbs. maximum