The Convair F-102A eventually became known as the Interim Interceptor as the Air Defese Command awaited its Ultimate Interceptor, the F-106A Delta Dart. This is a fitting appelation, as the F-102 bridged the gap between stright-winged aircraft such as the F-89 Scorpion armed with unguided rockets or guns, and the high-performance guided-missile-armed F-106. The F-102′s performance was marginal and its armament of AIM-4 Falcon missiles and unguided rockets was of questionable utility, but it served as America’s most advanced air defense weapon from late 1956 until the F-106A entered service in October 1959. Ironically, this was the time period during which Soviet bombers posed the greatest threat–after 1960, the rapid transition to ICBMs as the delivery vehicle of choice for nuclear weapons made the manned interceptor practically obsolete, and indeed the F-106 would be the last purpose-built interceptor developed in the US.
After you are done at Air Vectors, there are quite a few videos featuring the Deuce on YouTube.
An interesting historical footnote is that the Deuce was the aircraft flown by President George W. Bush during his service with the Texas ANG. The F-102 also saw service with the air forces of Greece and Turkey.
There are some good books covering the aircraft. If you can find a copy of Wings of Fame volume 17, there is an excellent 68-page article on the Deuce by Robert Dorr. Another volume from my personal collection that I can recommend is Convair Deltas by Bill Yenne. This is yet another great hardcover from Specialty Press who have been on a roll for the past few years publishing great books on military aviation. Convair Deltas covers the full history of delta-wing development at Convair (Consolidated Vultee Aircraft) from the XF-92 to the B-58 and is both well-written and full of excellent photographs. Finally, an interesting companion to your research on the F-102 would be Killer Rays by Mark Frankel, also published by Specialty. This book details development of the US Navy’s delta-winged fighters, the F4D Skyray and F5D Skylancer. It is very worthwhile to compare the results of the Air Force and Navy delta-winged fighter programs which ran in parallel for many years.
You can strap on an F-102 in the Strike Fighters series by ThirdWire. Visit Combat Ace for the download. The aircraft was modeled by Veltro2k–be sure to check out his other work. I would recommend trying the plane out in NATO Fighters IV+ for Strike Fighters 2: Europe. A campaign in the Deuce is one of the more challenging scenarios.
For something a little more tangible, Hobby Master recently began releasing a series of 1:72 scale diecast models of the F-102. Hobby Master models are very well done, with lots of detail and many options for display. You can choose to configure the wheels, speed brake, canopy and weapons bay in open or closed position. Paint, markings and panel detail are very good. I suggest diecastairplane.com for trouble-free model purchases in the US.
Featured image courtesy of USAF.