Hobby Master HA3102 USAF Convair F-102A Delta Dagger Interceptor - 56-1444, 509th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, 405th Fighter Wing, Da Nang AFB, South Vietnam, 1968 (1:72 Scale)
"The Ultimate Interceptor."
- DoD reference to the newly developed production version of the F-102 Delta Dagger
The Convair F-102 Delta Dagger was a US interceptor aircraft 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.
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 types such as the F-89 Scorpion, and by the 1960s, it saw limited service in Vietnam in bomber escort and ground attack roles. It was supplemented by F-101 Voodoos and, later, by 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 class F-106 Delta Dart which was an extensive redesign of the F-102.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale rendition of a USAF Convair F-102A Delta Dagger Interceptor that was attached to the 509th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, 405th Fighter Wing, then deployed to Da Nang AFB, South Vietnam, during 1968.
Wingspan: 6.25 inches
Release Date: December 2010
Historical Account: "Candy Machine" - F-102's were primarily interceptors assigned to the Air Defense Command in the United States, however it was over the skies of Southeast Asia that the F-102 was to achieve its only taste of combat. Aircraft from the 509th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, based at Clark Air Force Base were sent on Temporary Duty (TDY) to Da Nang in March 1962 to provide air defense against the unlikely event that North Vietnamese aircraft would attack Thailand.
TDY F-102As from the 509th also stood alert at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Bien Hoa AB and Da Nang AB in South Vietnam and at Udon RTAFB in Thailand. The F-102A was finally withdrawn from Southeast Asia in December 1969. The F-102A established an excellent safety record with almost ten years of flying air defense and a few combat air patrols for SAC B-52s, only 15 F-102As were lost.
Although a few missions were flown over North Vietnam, the Southeast Asia-stationed F-102As are not thought to have actually engaged in air-to-air combat, although one F-102A of the 509th FIS was lost to an air-to-air missile fired by a MiG-21 while flying a CAP over Route Package IV on February 3rd, 1968. Two F-102As were lost to AAA/small arms fire and four were destroyed on the ground by the Viet Cong and eight were lost in operational accidents.
On March 21st, 1962, under Project 'Water Glass', the first operational deployment to Vietnam of F-102's took place and remained there under Project 'Candy Machine'. In March 1962, F-102's of the 509th FIS were sent on Temporary Duty (TDY) to Tan Son Nhut Air Base near Saigon as well as from Da Nang, South Vietnam (at the time) and Don Muang (Thailand). In 1968 Da Nang was the busiest airport in the world with just under 2,600 daily air traffic operations. The Deuces (F-102) were used as interceptors, some escort duty, and even ground attack. In December 1969, the F-102's were withdrawn from Vietnam and at that time had lost 15 aircraft to AAA, destroyed on the ground by the Viet Cong, small arms fire and operational accidents.