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  • Lockheed P-80 / F-80 Shooting Star Single-Seat Jet-Powered Fighter / Fighter-Bomber Aircraft

    Though developed as early as 1943, the Lockheed P-80 jet fighter arrived too late to be used in World War 2, playing a larger role in the Korean War instead.

     Updated: 6/18/2017; Authored By Dan Alex; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    The Lockheed P-80/F-80 Shooting Star is undoubtedly the world's most successful first generation jet-powered fighter. Appearing by the last few months of World War 2, the Shooting Star failed to undertake a single combat sortie in the conflict but would prove her worth in the upcoming Korean War as well as in her two very important derivatives - the two-seat trainer T-33 and the F-94 Starfire all-weather interceptor - both based highly on the existing P-80/F-80 air frame. The P-80 was developed from the brilliant mind of Lockheed's Clarence "Kelly" Johnson, designer of the legendary twin-boom P-38 Lightning. Had the war in Europe progressed a few more months, the air war would have assuredly taken on a distinctly different look.


    Everything changed on July 26th, 1944, when a lone British twin-engine, piston-powered De Havilland DH.98 Mosquito - on its merry way to take pictures over Munich - encountered a twin-engine German Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter (flying as part of a test squadron). The Me 262 opened fire on the unsuspecting two-man crew and - perhaps through ingrained training or pure instinct - the Mosquito banked and dodged to safety, managing to turn tail and run. This was the first meeting ever against a jet-powered foe and the fact that the Germans were able to field such a lethal implement was a new realization for the Allies. Jet power promised speed and greater flight loads that would lead directly to more potent armament options. It seemed that the Germans held the upper hand.

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    Lockheed F-80C Shooting Star Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1945
    Type: Single-Seat Jet-Powered Fighter / Fighter-Bomber Aircraft
    National Origin: United States
    Manufacturer(s): Lockheed Corporation - USA
    Production Total: 1,715

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 1
    Length: 34.42 feet (10.49 meters)
    Width: 38.75 feet (11.81 meters)
    Height: 11.25 feet (3.43 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 8,175 lb (3,708 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 15,999 lb (7,257 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 1 x Allison J33-A-21 turbojet engine developing 4,500 lb of thrust.

    Maximum Speed: 577 mph (928 kph; 501 knots)
    Maximum Range: 790 miles (1,271 km)
    Service Ceiling: 45,499 feet (13,868 meters; 8.62 miles)
    Rate-of-Climb: 5,000 feet-per-minute (1,524 m/min)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    6 x 12.7mm M2 Browning machine guns

    2 x 1,000 lb conventional drop bombs
    8 x 2.75-inch HVAR (High-Velocity Aerial Rocket) air-to-surface rockets

    Global Operators / Customers

    Brazil; Chile; Columbia; Ecuador; Peru; Uruguay; Yugoslavia; United States

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    XP-80 - Base Prototype; fitted with British de Havilland Harlan H-1B Goblin engine of 2,460lbs thrust; clipped wings; centralized cockpit and engine.

    XP-80A - Revised prototype; 2 examples produced; fitted with General Electric I-40 powerplant; larger and heavier revision of XP-80; elliptical equitapered wings; forward-fitted cockpit with rearward-set engine; increased weight and surface areas; 6 x 12.7mm machine guns.

    YP-80A - Pre-Production Evaluation Aircraft; 13 examples produced.

    P-80R - High-Speed P-80A Modification; sans machine guns; revised canopy; extra fuel tank; broke world speed record at 623.8mph.

    XF-14 - Single Example Photo-Reconnaissance Prototype Model for USAAF; developed from YP-80A.

    F-14A - Photo-Reconnaissance Model converted from production P-80A models; redesignated to FP-80A; 222 examples.

    XFP-80A - Photo-Reconnaissance Model with hinged nose assembly for easy access; sans machine guns.

    P-80A - Initial production models; fitted with General Electric J33 (I-40) powerplant (J33-9 or J33-11 series) of 4,000lbs thrust; wingtip fuel tanks; deliveries in February of 1945; 524 examples produced; redesignated to F-80A.

    ERF-80A - Single Example of the P-80A with a redesigned nose assembly.

    EF-80 - P-80A airframe set aside for trialing prone pilot position flight.

    FP-80A - Photo-Reconnaissance Models based on the P-80A; 152 examples delivered; redesignated to RF-80A.

    RF-80A - USAF Designation of FP-80A.

    XP-80B - "Improved" P-80A Model; improved performance from J-33 engine; single example produced.

    P-80B - Improved J-33 powerplant; ejection seat; 240 examples produced; redesignated as F-80B.

    P-80C - Definitive Shooting Star; J33-A-35 engines; ejection seat; wingtip fuel tanks; 797 examples produced.

    RF-80C - Improved Photo-Reconnaissance Model based on the P-80C production version.

    F-80 - Redesignated from Pursuit to Fighter by USAF of all USAAF P-80 models.

    F-80A - Redesignation of P-80A.

    F-80B - Redesignation of P-80B.

    F-80C - Redesignation of P-80C.

    DF-80A - Drone Director Conversion Models of F-80A.

    ERF-80A - Single Example P-80A with modified nose assembly.

    QF-80A - Target Drone Conversions of F-80A Models

    QF-80C - Target Drone Conversions of F-80C Models

    QF-80F - Target Drone Conversion

    Q-80 - Proposed Redesignation of QF-80

    TO-1/2 - Naval trainer variant

    TP-80C - Initial Designation for TF-80C trainers

    TF-80C - Prototype T-33 Designation

    T-33A "Shooting Star" - TF-80 Trainer redesignated; 6,557 examples produced.

    F-94 "Starfire" - All-Weather Interceptor based on the P-80/F-80 airframe.