Near the end of the World War II., Lockheed designed and manufactured their first ever fighter jet and entered it into the war. The name of the aircraft was P-80 but the time for this aircraft in the war was a short one and the world after the war started to change rapidly in term of advanced aeronautics. The P-80 came into being as a straight winged jet fighter which was powered by a single engine.
Due to more and more jet fighter design emerging after P-80, the US Army was ready to retire the P-80 but then soothing happened and that changed the fate for P-80. Analysts of both military and Lockheed actually saw great potential in the P-80 for the role of being a trainer aircraft. Lockheed was given the approval to convert P-80 into a trainer aircraft and they outfitted the frame of P-80 into a training vehicle which was then sued to train the entry level pilots of fighter jets. This training aircraft was then named as the Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star.
The cockpit of the Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star had an additional seat for the trainer and then the aircraft got world wide acclaim for being a noncombating jet for training purposes. As the original P-80 had hardpoints for the armaments as well as internal bays for guns, they were left as it is on the Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star. This was done in order for the training pilots to also make practices on the gunnery range. Still, this aircraft was never meant to be the one for air-to-air superiority.
The aircraft was exported heavily to the world as a training aircraft and nearly served various world militaries as their training aircraft for nearly 44 years. The last Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star retired from its service back in July of 2017.
For our readers today, we have gathered a bunch of amazing facts about the Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star which are as follows.
The very first of the Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star was designed and manufactured back in 1948. On the demands from the governments that exported the aircraft, they demanded a variant of this aircraft to have a camera port as they were planning to use it as a reconnaissance aircraft. The aircraft holds the title of being the only fighter jet to be ever made with straight wings. After the Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star, the West saw the 1st generation fighter jets like the F-100 Super Saber and F-104 Straighter. These jet fighters would not have the straight-wing design and instead would have the wing with sharp angles.
Powerplant and other specs
A single one of the Allison J33-A-35 centrifugal compressor turbojet engine powers the Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star for a thrust generation of 4600 lb/ft. the aircraft at its full engine capacity is able to fly at a top speed of nearly 600 mph at the sea level. The service ceiling for the T-33 is a maximum of 48000 feet for a range of 1275 miles.
Due to the aircraft being a trainer aircraft, it is a two-seat one which had a seat for a pilot and another one for the trainer.
Despite having the straight-wing design, the Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star went on to serve the SU air Force from 1948 until the time it got retired sometime in the 90s as the primary training jet fighter. Even in some countries today, this aircraft is available in limited numbers for the purpose of training pilots for proficiency. What made the Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star be one of a kind training aircraft were its simple design and its subsonic speeds. Both of these features were the ideal one for thru beginner level jet fighter pilots.
The reliability of the Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star as training aircraft was so great that even the SU Navy decided to have a revised version of this aircraft which they named as 2V-1/T-1A SeaStar. US Navy used this aircraft for training their pilots for taking off from the aircraft carriers.
T-33 to F-80
The predecessor for the Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star was the Lockheed P-80 which was the first fighter jet from Lockheed Martin near the end of the World War II. The aircraft came into service but could not live long in it. By the time when the Korean War started, the US Air Force was already using more advanced jet fighters like the following.
- McDonnell F-2H Banshee
- Lockheed F-94 Starfire
- F-86 Saber
However, when the army separated from the US Air Force, the P-80 was taken by the SUAF which remained it as the F-80. USAF created a variant of the F-80 which was then sued to serve in the Korean War for purpose of reconnaissance missions. The aircraft was also used, if not often but still, as a high altitude interceptor aircraft for day time. Back in 1950, the F-80 also had the credit of dropping down a MiG-15 of Russia. This feat alone proved that despite being an aircraft from the previous era and the new era having advancements in aeronautical, the airframe of the F-80 was still a very rugged and formidable one.
Highly Exported for training purposes:-
Due to the reliability of the F-80’s frame and its subsonic speed, the aircraft went on to become not only a sought out training aircraft for the Jet Fighting Institutions located in the US but also abroad. Despite the F-80 being a jet fighter with antiqued style, it proved to be a capable aircraft which was capable of taking out even an aircraft like MiG-15, which was superior to it in term of technology.
The Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star is currently being held in the ITAR for the private and foreign export but a few of them have still managed to drift into the market for civilian purchase. The aircraft is highly praised by the hobbyist pilots of jet fighters and the seasoned veterans.
The very last of the T-33 Shooting Star retired fro the Bolivian Air Force after its service of nearly 44 years in July of 2017.