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Cessna T-37 Tweet

United States (1957)
Picture of Cessna T-37 Tweet Jet-Powered Advanced Trainer / Light Attack Aircraft

The Cessna T-37 Tweet proved itself a popular jet-powered trainer for many world air forces for its time in the air - over 1,200 were produced.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Cessna T-37 Tweet Jet-Powered Advanced Trainer / Light Attack Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 2/21/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The Cessna T-37 came about through a new United States Air Force (USAF) requirement calling for a lightweight, two-seat, jet-powered training platform under the "Trainer Experimental (TX)" program name of 1952. Cessna threw its hat into the ring and developed their "Model 318" which sat its twin turbojet propulsion scheme at the wingroots, featured a conventional single-finned tail arrangement and positioned its two crew in side-by-side seating. Wings were low-mounted monoplanes designed as straight appendages with clipped tips. A tricycle undercarriage rounded out the modern features. In 1954, the USAF moved ahead with the Cessna Model 318 design as the "XT-37" with three flyable prototypes ordered.

XT-37A designated the finalized prototypes featuring a pair of Continental YJ69-T-9 series turbojet engines. The engines were nothing more than local, license-produced copies of the French Turbomeca "Marbore" series engines - the same used to power the French-built Fouga "Magister" trainers (detailed elsewhere on this site). These units provided 920 lb of thrust output each and, coupled with the aerodynamically refined airframe, provided the nimble little aircraft with good performance. Speeds reached 390 miles per hour in testing and closer to 425 mph on later production aircraft. The program suffered a setback when the first prototype crashed during spin action and this led to modifications of the airframe and tail unit as a result - though spin recovery would remain a sticking point for the design for its entire career.

The T-37A "Tweet" followed as the initial production model to which 534 of the types were built (J69-T-9 engines fitted). The USAF began taking the aircraft on in June of 1956 for training purposes through the T-37A model where the aircraft was really put through its paces but generally regarded as a good, strong platform to fly by pilots. Since the aircraft operated under a USAF-mandated 25,000 foot ceiling, no pressurization was used for the cockpit. The USAF endorsement ultimately led to the line being adopted as a trainer and light attack aircraft with other American-allied air services around the world.
T-37B continued the line but with J69-T-25 engines (1,025 lb thrust output each) and were given improved communications and navigation fits. These arrived in 1959. T-37C included an inherent light attack function through underwing pylons (one per wing) and 269 of this mark were produced. External stores could total up to 500 lb.

XAT-37D was a proposed counter-insurgency model with light attack capability. Two prototypes were completed but serial production not had. YT-48A was a proposed T-37 development to be fitted with a pair of Garrett F109-GA-100 engines but this model was not pursued.

The United States Air Force did not find a true successor to the T-37 until the arrival of the Beechcraft T-6 "Texan II" (detailed elsewhere on this site). The Texan II was a shift away from turbojets and back to a piston-powered form. The last USAF T-37 was retired in July 2009 after 1,269 examples ad been built by Cessna. The A-37 "Dragonfly" (also known as the "Super Tweet") of 1963 was one of its more notable offshoots, 577 built to a light ground-attack aircraft specification for several air services including the USAF. These witnessed combat action in the Vietnam War (1955-1975).

Current operators of the T-37 line include Colombia, Ecuador and Pakistan. Former operators range from Bangladesh and Brazil to Turkey and Vietnam. Vietnamese forms were captured from South Vietnam following the Vietnam War.






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 500mph
Lo: 250mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (425mph).

    Graph average of 375 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Cessna T-37B Tweet's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
1269
1269


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
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Origin: United States
Year: 1957
Type: Jet-Powered Advanced Trainer / Light Attack Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Cessna Aircraft Company - USA
Production: 1,269
Status: Retired, Limited Service
Global Operators:
Bangladesh; Brazil; Burma; Chile; Germany; Greece; Jordan; Khmer Republic; Morocco; Portugal; Peru; South Korea; South Vietnam; Thailand; Turkey; United States; Vietnam
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Cessna T-37B Tweet model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
2


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
29.27 ft


Meters
8.92 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
33.79 ft


Meters
10.3 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
9.19 ft


Meters
2.8 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
3,869 lb


Kilograms
1,755 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
6,598 lb


Kilograms
2,993 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
2 x Continental-Teledyne J69-T-25 turbojet engines developing 1,025 lb of thrust each.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
425 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
684 kph


Knots
369 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
932 mi


Kilometers
1,500 km


Nautical Miles
810 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
39,199 ft


Meters
11,948 m


Miles
7.42 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
3,370 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
1,027 m/min

Armament - Hardpoints (2):

None for true trainer versions. Some outfitted with 2 x 250 lb conventional drop bombs (mainly "C" export model).
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Model 318 - Cessna project competition designation.
• XT-37 - Prototype designation based on Model 318.
• T-37A - First production model featuring 2 x Continental J69-T-9 turbojets of which 534 produced.
• T-37B - Featured more powerful J69-T-5 powerplants, provisioning for wing tip fuel tanks and improved avionic systems.
• T-37C - Produced for export; Addition of underwing hardpoints.
• A-37 "Dragonfly" / "Super Tweet" - Lightly-armed ground attack aircraft based on the T-37 design.