Convair F2Y Sea Dart walkaround
40° 12′ 07″ N / 75° 08′ 23″ W
This Sea Dart was not meant to fly but, instead, was used for taxi testing and test frame — it is exhibited on the grounds of the Harold F. Pitcairn Wings of Freedom Aviation Museum. The Sea Dart, along with the Seamaster and a variety of surface vessels as well as submarines, was part of the U.S. Navy’s Sea Surface Force (SSF) initiative. SSF came about directly after WW II when nuclear weapons were so large only massive aircraft (e.g., the B-36 Peacemaker) could carry the most powerful of them. Certain generals in USAF then, and quickly, moved to have the U.S. Navy’s role (and budget) severely curtailed (the USAF presumably getting the funds which has been cut). Admirals in the U.S. Navy saw the danger in only one service projecting power for the USA and developed the SSF initiative — having water borne aircraft distributed almost anywhere in the world which would be mobile in the extreme — therefore having a deterrent force which was difficult to target sufficiently to negate its strategic value. The impetus driving the SSF initiative vaporized with the development of smaller, but just as powerful, nuclear weapons in parallel with submarine launched missiles which became today’s IRBM’s. Other posts have addressed the SSF and Sea Dart in detail, please use the search window to read further about them. The Sea Dart was completely successful as a design since it was fast as well as maneuverable. It would have been formidable as an interceptor defending Seamaster bases or as escort fighters on a Seamaster strike — but parallel technological events overtook, then greatly surpassed, the Sea Dart (as well as the other purpose-built SSF craft) which relegated Convair’s successful jet powered water borne fighter to a tantalizing niche in aviation’s history.