1956 - 1959 Convair Delta's

... in the 1950's it was long range bombers that would deliver nuclear weapons. Shooting down those bombers was extremely important. Millions of lives depended on it. Both the US and USSR put huge emphasis on the development of jet 'interceptors'. These aircraft were designed to climb very high, very quickly and go very fast. All in hopes of catching the bombers.

Surface to Air Missiles [SAMs] were not yet advanced or plentiful. The best technology available was to use an aircraft and pilot as a weapons 'platform'. Get the airplane close to the target and then use short range guided missiles; probably with small nuclear war-heads to destroy the H-bomb carrying bomber.

For the US Air Force; the Delta Dagger, and later Delta Dart, were the backbone of this air defense system. Both were built by Convair and both were supersonic and equipped with radar that would guide them to the target.

Catching up to and destroying attacking bombers proved to be much harder than first expected. Overcoming the physics of extreme altitudes and speeds and the vast distances and territorial area involved continually pushed the boundaries of technology.

Both sides new that many of their bombers would be shot down - but some would get through!

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