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T-33 Shooting Star

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T-33 Shooting Star
Type Training aircraft
Manufacturer Lockheed
Designed by Clarence "Kelly" Johnson
Maiden flight 22 March 1948
Primary users United States Air Force
United States Navy
Produced 1948-1959
Number built 6,557
Developed from P-80 Shooting Star
Variants T2V/T-1A Seastar
CT-133 Silver Star

The Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star is an American-built jet trainer. It was produced by Lockheed and made its first flight in 1948, piloted by Tony LeVier. 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 USN as the intially as TO-2, then TV-2, and after 1962 T-33B. Despite its vintage, the venerable T-33 still remains in service worldwide.

Design and development

Lockheed T-33A USAF

The T-33 was developed from the Lockheed P-80/F-80 by lengthening the fuselage and adding a second seat, instrumentation and flight controls. Initially designated as a variant of the P-80/F-80, the TP-80C/TF-80C.

Design work for 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 US Army Air Force. 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. It was developed from the single-seat F-80 fighter by lengthening the fuselage slightly more than three feet to accommodate a second cockpit.

Originally designed the TF-80C, the T-33 made its first flight on 22 March 1948 with US production taking place from 1948 to 1959. The U.S. Navy used the T-33 as a land based trainer starting in 1949 as the TV-2, these were redesignated T-33B in 1962. The Navy operated some ex-USAF P-80Cs as the TO-1, changed to 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. A total of 6,557 Shooting Stars were produced, 5,691 by Lockheed.

Operational service

The two-place T-33 proved to be a suitable advanced trainer and, in addition to its primary use as a trainer, it has been used for such tasks as drone director and target towing, and some T-33s retained two machine guns for gunnery training. In some countries, the T-33 was even employed as a combat aircraft. The RT-33A version, reconnaissance aircraft produced primarily for use by foreign countries, had a camera installed in the nose and additional equipment in the rear cockpit. T-33s continued to fly as currency trainers, drone towing, combat and tactical simulation training, "hack" aircraft, electronic countermeasures and warfare training and test platforms right into the 1980s.

The T-33 has served with over 30 nations, and continues to operate as a trainer in smaller air forces .Canadair built 656 T-33s on licence for service in the Canadian Forces as the CT-133 Silver Star while Kawasaki manufactured 210 in Japan. Other operators included Brazil,Turkey and Thailand which used the T-33 extensively.

In the 1980s, an attempt was made to modify and modernize the T-33 as the Boeing Skyfox, but a lack of orders led to the cancellation of the project. About 70% of the T-33s airframe was retained in the Skyfox, but it was powered by two Garrett TFE731-3A turbofan engines.


Lockheed NT-33A USAF


  • T-33A: Two-seat jet trainer aircraft.
  • AT-33A: Two-seat attack version of the T-33A.
  • DT-33A: This designation was given to a number of T-33As converted into drone directors.
  • NT-33A: This designation was given to a number of T-33As converted into special test aircraft.
  • QT-33A: This designation was given to number of T-33As converted into target drones.
  • RT-33A: Two-seat reconnaissance version of the AT-33A.

US Navy

  • TO-1/TV-1: U.S. Navy designation of P-80C, 50 transferred to USN in 1949 as jet trainers (not technically T-33 Shooting Star)
  • TO-2: Two-seat land-based jet training aircraft for the US Navy. It was the US Navy's version of the T-33A. Later redesignated TV-2.
  • TV-2KD: This designation was given to number of TV-2s converted into drone directors.
  • T-33B redesignation of Navy's TV-2 in 1962.
  • DT-33B redesignation of Navy's TV-2D
  • TV-2KD redesignation of Navy's TV-2KD



T-33 Portuguese Air Force
T-33 Portuguese Air Force
T-33 Spanish Air Force

Specifications (T-33A)

General characteristics



  • (AT-33) 2x 0.50 in (12.7 mm) Browning M3 machine guns with 350 rounds per gun
  • Up to 2,000 lb (907 kg) of ordnance on two underwing hardpoints. Weapons carried include bombs and rocket pods.


  • Davis, Larry. P-80 Shooting Star. T-33/F-94 in action. Carrollton, Texas: Squadron/Signal Publications, 1980. ISBN 0-89747-099-0.

External links

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ja:T-33 (航空機) no:Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star pt:Lockheed T-33