Manufacturer: Convair

Model: 8-70

Name: Sea Dagger

Type: Jet fighter

Date: 1955

Status: Service test

Country: United States of America

Service: U.S. Navy

Designation: XF3Y-1


Even before the start of the F-102 program, and in parallel with their unconventional XF2Y-1 Sea Dart, Convair decided to develop a carrier-borne delta fighter, the Sea Dagger, which the US Navy designated as XF3Y-1 despite the fact it always remained the property of Convair (probably also the reason why photos of it are so scarce).

Reminiscent of the XP-92 and the later YF-102, and incorporating some features that would appear even later on the production F-102A, the Sea Dagger was test flown at NAS Moffett Field early in February 1952, and handled exceptionally well — so well in fact that the Air Force command showed high interest and speeded up the development of the F-102 as a result. Yet the aircraft was severely underpowered with its Wright J67 jet, and so in 1954 it was sent back to Convair so as to make it compatible with the new Pratt & Whitney J57. The prototype then resumed flight-testing with success from September 1955 to December 1956.

By mid-1955, however, it was already evident that the requirements of the Navy had changed, and the necessity for a carrier-borne delta-wing interceptor seemed more and more questionable. When a batch of six preseries YF3Y-1 was canceled on January 31, 1957, the prototype returned to Convair, never to be seen again. Its final fate is unknown to this day.

Ironically, though now largely forgotten, the Sea Dagger paved the way for its younger brothers, the Delta Dagger and Delta Dart, a tremendously successful family of Air Force interceptors...


I created the Sea Dagger using the modern photo of a museum Delta Dagger by Michael J. Freer found on (see below right).

As you can imagine from comparing the two, there was a lot of work, not just to turn the F-102 into its "mini-me" version, but also to place it on a convincing background (finding these is almost always the hardest part!)

The cockpit was snatched from the earlier XF-92 prototype.

Viewers' comments:
My comments:

Yet another case of reality catching up with fiction: I discovered while compiling my work for this site that there had actually been plans for a carrier-borne version of the Convair Sea Dart that didn't look so different from my purely imaginary Sea Dagger!