F-102 Delta Dagger Units

Published on
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Peter E. Davies
Other Publication Information
Softbound 7.375"x9.75", 96 pages
Product / Stock #
COM 132
Company: Osprey Publishing - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Osprey Publishing - Website: Visit Site
F-102 Delta Dagger Units

Peter E. Davies has published 37 aviation books, over 20 of them for Osprey. He has also contributed to magazines such as Aeroplane Monthly, Aviation News and Aircraft Illustrated. He concentrates mainly upon combat aircraft of the Cold War and Vietnam War. Jim Laurier is a native of New England and lives in New Hampshire. He attended Paier School of Art in Hamden, Connecticut, from 1974-78, and since graduating with Honours, he has been working professionally in the field of Fine Art and Illustration. He has been commissioned to paint for the US Air Force and has aviation paintings on permanent display at the Pentagon. He lives in the US.

Illustrator Jim Laurier, a native of New England, provides the color profiles. Jim has been drawing since he could hold a pencil and throughout his life he has worked in many mediums creating artwork on a variety of subjects. He has worked on the Osprey Aviation list since 2000, and has been featured in hundreds of aviation books. Jim prefers working in oils on canvas and has specialized in Vietnam War era aircraft. He currently lives in New Hampshire. You can find his art work at https://www.aviationarthangar.com/jimlaurier.html . Check him out!

Osprey's 132nd book in the Combat Aircraft series is a square back soft cover including 96 gloss paper pages. The front cover features a color painting by Gareth Hector of a Green Mountain Boys F-102A (37th FIS, F-102A-35, 54-1400) on a practice intercept mission out of Ethan Allen AFB. I counted 28 color photographs and 194 black and white pictures. Jim Laurier contributes the 30 color side profiles in the Color Plate section.

Peter E. Davies opens up with the development of the delta wing concept, starting in Germany with the Lippisch DM-1 glider. Dr. Alexander Lippisch was captured and became part of Operation Paperclip, and eventually became a consultant with CONVAIR. An outcome of this was CONVAIR winning a USAF interceptor contract in 1946 that eventually led to the XP-92A. This ended up being an experimental demonstrator for the delta wing concept, but generated enough interest to lead to the F-102. Peter E. Davies covers in detail all the bugs that had to be solved for this ‘interim’ interceptor, including the revelation of ‘area ruling’. Although originally perceived as a stepping stone to the ultimate interceptor, that would eventually lead to the F-106 Delta Dart, there were 1,000 F-102s built as compared to the 342 Delta Darts.

Peter E. Davis follows up with the F-102’s service career. The Deuce entered service with ADC (Air Defense Command), replacing F-86Ds, F-94Cs, and F-89s. Interdiction of Bears, Badgers and Coots was the primary order of business as the Deuces played tag. Six squadrons also were deployed to Europe, with the USAFE. It did see service in Vietnam, ostensibly to intercept Il-28 Beagles, but they also served as bomber top cover and even dabbled into ground attack. The contents include:

  • Acknowledgements
  • Chapter One - A New Shape
    • Delta Data [Page 09]
  • Chapter Two - Daggers Drawn
    • Fire Control
    • Interim Interceptor [Page 22]
    • T For Two
    • Punching Out
  • Chapter Three - Sharpening the Dagger
    • Fighting Falcons
    • ADC Entry
    • Pilot Prepping
    • Colour Plates [Page 36]
  • Chapter Four - Caging the ‘Bear’ [Page 55]
    • Gin and Giuk
    • USAFE
  • Chapter Five - On Guard With PACAF [Page 71]
    • IR Advantage
    • MiG Clash
  • Chapter Six - On Guard at Home and Away
    • ‘Deuces’ Deploy
    • Supersonic Night Interception
    • ANG Build-Up
  • Chapter Seven - Latter Days
    • The Hunter Hunted
    • European Deuces
  • Appendices:
    • Colour Plates Commentary
  • Index

One of the sections I really enjoyed was with the Texas ANG (Air National Guard). Based close to Convair’s Fort Worth plant where B-58 Hustlers were manufactured provided some exciting training opportunities. Intercepting Hustlers was good training for both the B-58 crews as well as the F-102 pilots. The Hustler crews learned quickly how to defeat the Deuce’s missile locks. A first person account from Lt. Col. Trojcak revealed the solution was to go to manual control to get a good lock. Of course, all the B-58 had to do was light its afterburners and the F-102 could not keep up.

Peter E. Davies provides a very readable text with plenty of photographs. The color side profiles from Jim Laurier are aptly described in the Appendix. I was able to read the book easily over two evenings. I really enjoyed the operational accounts and the inclusion of first person perspectives that Peter included. If you own one the previous releases in the Combat Aircraft series, you know what you are getting. If this is your initial entry into this series, you will be quite pleased.

My thanks to Osprey Publishing and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!


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