Lockheed T-33

T-33 Shooting Star
Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star USAF.jpg
RoleTraining aircraft
ManufacturerLockheed
DesignerClarence "Kelly" Johnson
First flight22 March 1948
Retired31 July 2017 (Bolivian Air Force)
Primary usersUnited States Air Force
United States Navy
Japan Air Self Defense Force
German Air Force
Produced1948–1959
Number built6,557
Developed fromLockheed P-80 Shooting Star
VariantsLockheed T2V SeaStar
Canadair CT-133 Silver Star
Developed intoLockheed F-94 Starfire
Boeing Skyfox

The Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star (or T-Bird) is a subsonic American jet trainer. It was produced by Lockheed and made its first flight in 1948. The T-33 was developed from the Lockheed P-80/F-80 starting as TP-80C/TF-80C in development, then designated T-33A. It was used by the U.S. Navy initially as TO-2, then TV-2, and after 1962, T-33B. The last operator of the T-33, the Bolivian Air Force, retired the type in July 2017, after 44 years of service.[1]

Design and development

The T-33 was developed from the Lockheed P-80/F-80 by lengthening the fuselage by slightly over 3 feet (1 m) and adding a second seat, instrumentation, and flight controls. It was initially designated as a variant of the P-80/F-80, the TP-80C/TF-80C.[2]

Design work on the Lockheed P-80 began in 1943, with the first flight on 8 January 1944. Following on the Bell P-59, the P-80 became the first jet fighter to enter full squadron service in the United States Army Air Forces. As more advanced jets entered service, the F-80 took on another role—training jet pilots. The two-place T-33 jet was designed for training pilots already qualified to fly propeller-driven aircraft.

Originally designated the TF-80C, the T-33 made its first flight on 22 March 1948 with Lockheed test pilot Tony LeVier at the controls. Production at Lockheed ran from 1948 to 1959. The US Navy used the T-33 as a land-based trainer starting in 1949. It was designated the TV-2, but was redesignated the T-33B in 1962. The Navy operated some ex-USAF P-80Cs as the TO-1, changed to the TV-1 about a year later. A carrier-capable version of the P-80/T-33 family was subsequently developed by Lockheed, eventually leading to the late 1950s to 1970s T2V-1/T-1A SeaStar. The two TF-80C prototypes were modified as prototypes for an all-weather two-seater fighter variant, which became the F-94 Starfire. A total of 6,557 T-33s were produced: 5,691 of them by Lockheed, 210 by Kawasaki, and 656 by Canadair.

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