TF-102A "Delta Dagger"
The TF-102A was a training version of the F-102A. It had a wider forward fuselage providing side by side cockpit seating for student and instructor. The requirements for the TF-102A were to provide a dual controlled trainer version of the F-102A interceptor to transition jet pilots to the intricately different delta wing airplane. Neither ADC nor the Air Training Command believed that this training could be provided with conventional type jet trainers.
The General Operational Requirement was for a dual controlled trainer version of the F-102A interceptor to transition jet pilots to the intricately different delta wing airplane. Neither ADC nor the Air Training Command believed that this training could be provided with conventional type jet trainers. Shortcomings of the then available T-33 and radar equipped B-25 trainers had been confirmed by the F-86D and F-94 transition training programs.
The Air Force authorized production of the TF-102A. However, because of the problems encountered with the basic F-102A design, initial procurement was delayed and further production postponed until the fate of the tactical program was determined.
A firm order for 20 TF-102As was placed on contract, with first delivery due in July 1955. This initial procurement. followed approval by the TF-102A Mockup Board of the side by side trainer nose configuration, presented by the Convair Fort Worth plant in January 1954. It was endorsed (in preference to the conventional tandem configuration) to simplify training, realizing that the extra weight of the new forward fuselage would probably hinder trainer performance.
The two-place TF-102A was identical to the F-102A aft of the cockpit section. It would also retain the F-102A's weapon capability.
In early 1955, following the December 1954 successful flight of the revised YF-102A, 28 additional trainers were ordered. The Air Force gave Convair a letter contract for 150 other TF-102As in December--1 month after the trainer's first flight. These planes were to be delivered between March and December 1957.
First Flight (Production Aircraft): 8 November 1955
The Air Force accepted the first TF-102A during the month it first flew and took delivery of a second production in December 1955--several months past the original deadline.
Extensive operational testing soon revealed that the TF-102A's large cockpit and canopy created a serious buffeting problem at high speed. A new cockpit configuration with a cut down canopy and revised windshield, flight tested in April 1956, did not prove to be the answer. Buffeting was somewhat reduced but at the expense of landing visibility, which had become less than marginal. The simplest solution was to revert to the trainer's original cockpit. The buffeting problems would be eliminated by adding vortex generators and an increased area vertical stabilizer to the aircraft fuselage. These structural modifications, successfully tested. with the third TF-102A accepted by the Air Force in June 1956, were introduced in all subsequent productions.
The TF 102A's initial buffeting problem caused the Air Force to stop Convair production. The Air Force released its hold order late in June 1956, after successful testing of the third TF-102A--a modified article, representative of subsequent productions. During the same period the Air Force also decided to reduce its TF-102A procurement and cut Convair's last order almost by half. Despite the reduction, Convair did not make up for the time lost. Final deliveries to the Air Force still lagged 6 months behind the original schedule.
Production ended in July 1958 with delivery of the last five TF-102As.
A total of 111 TF-102As were accepted (68 less than once programmed), bringing total F/TF-102A procurement to 1,000 aircraft.
Three TF 102As were accepted in FY 56, 27 in FY 57, 76 in FY 58, and 5 in FY 59.
Flyaway Cost Per Production Aircraft was: $1.5 million airframe, $1,135,018; engine (installed), $144,474; electronics, $11,365; armament, $173,777; ordnance, $1,192. These costs excluded $137,947 in prorated Class V modification costs and $11,182 spent on each TF-102A for specific modifications.
Average Cost Per Flying Hour $611.00
The TF-102A's phase out and operational life followed the F-102A's pattern. As a rule, two TF-102As accompanied each F-102A squadron.
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