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FC-032 (56-1032) Convair F-102A Delta Dagger c/n 8-10-351 - U.S. Air Force - NMM Soesterberg in Holland - 3 March 2015 Lockheed F-104G Starfighter

The Convair F-102A Delta Dagger is a single-seat all-weather interceptor fighter aircraft. The Convair F-102A was a result of the decision of the U.S. Air Force in November 1949, that a new interceptor scheduled to enter service in 1954 would be built around a fire-control system (FCS). Proposals for the airframe were issued on 18 June 1950, and in January 1951 six manufacturers responded. On 2 July 1954, three companies, Convair, Republic and Lockheed won the right to build a mockup. Until then, Convair had done research into delta-winged aircraft, experimenting with different designs, two of which fell under the name P-92. The best design of the three was to win the production contract under the name "Project MX-1554". Convair became the winner with its design, designated "XF-102". Further development resulted in the prototype YF-102 prototype that flew first on 24 October 1953. The prototype YF-102 was lost in an accident nine days later. The second aircraft flew on 11 January 1954, confirming a dismal performance. To solve the problems with the performance of the aircraft, Convair embarked on a major redesign. The first revised aircraft, designated YF-102A flew on 20 December 1954, 118 days after the redesign started. The revised design demonstrated a speed of Mach 1.22 and a ceiling of 16,154 mtrs. The perfomances were sufficient for the Air Force to allow production of the F-102, with a new production contract signed in March 1954. The F-102A entered service with the 327th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron in April 1956, and a total of 889 F-102As were built when production terminated in September 1958. Since, all Delta Daggers in U.S. service have undergone a modernisation programme aimed at increasing their overall efficiency at low altitudes and against enemy countermeasures. The F-102 Delta Daggers served with the U.S.A.F. Air Defence Command, the U.S.A.F.E., P.A.C.A.F, and Air National Guard units. In 1976, the F-102 was withdrawn from U.S. service. Next to the U.S. services, the F-102A and TF-102A served in Turkey with the Turkish Air Force (from 1968 until 1979) and in Greece with the Hellenic Air Force (from 1969 until 1978).

On 3 March 2015, the 1956-built Convair F-102A Delta Dagger FC-032 / 61032 was seen in 32 FDS colours on display at the ramp of the NMM (Nationaal Militair Museum) at the former AFB Soesterberg. However coded as FC-032 / 61032 this aircraft was never flown by 32nd FDS at Soesterberg. This Convair F-102A Delta Dagger is the ex U.S. Air Force 56-1052 that served with the Hellenic Air Force as 06-1052. In 1969, Greece acquired nineteen single-seat F-102A and five two-seat TF-102As for use by the 114 Pterix (Wing) at Tanagra. They served with the Greek Air Force until 1978. After being withdrawn from service with the Greece Air Forcer the Convair F-102A Delta Dagger 06-1052 became part of the collection of the MLM (Militaire Luchtvaart Museum) at Soesterberg. The aircraft was repainted as a Dagger from the U.S. Air Force 32nd TFS with serial 56-1032. On 1 July 2013, the MLM (Militaire Luchtvaart Museum) was closed and the collection, including the Convair F-102A Delta Dagger FC-032, went to the new build NMM that opened on 11 December 2014. The real 56-1032 ended up as an unmanned QF-102 Full Scale Aerial Target (FSAT) drone, and was shoot down as aerial drone target around 1979.

page last updated: 29-03-2015
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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