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CLASSIC MILITARY JETS - LOCKHEED P-80 SHOOTING STAR AIR FORCE JET


Few airplanes in the history of aeronautics have been as successful as the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star. It was the first American combat-ready jet fighter when it went into service in 1945. It emerged as victor in the world's first all-jet combat, and it won the distinction of remaining in production for a full 15 years after the first experimental model was flown.

The airplane had its origin in June 1943, when Lockheed was requested to design a fighter around the De Havilland built Halford H.1B turbojet engine, developed in England, in response to Germany's Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter.1 The XP-80 was designed and built in the amazing period of only 143 daysó37 days less than the original schedule. This was no mean feat considering that this was not a mere research aircraft, but a production prototype complete with armament. It was housed in a temporary building in complete secrecy, which was the beginning of the famous Lockheed 'Skunk Works.' The inaugural flight was on January 8, 1944, and a total of 1,715 aircraft were built.

The XP-80 was an all-metal straight low-wing aircraft of conventional design and had a tricycle landing gear. The cockpit was unpressurized and had an aft-sliding bubble top canopy. It had an internal fuel capacity of 200 to 285 gallons (757 to 1,079 liters) in two wing tanks and one self-sealing fuselage tank. Armament consisted of six .50 caliber machine guns in the nose with 200 rpg.
The XP-80 was powered by a 2,460 lb (1,116 kg) thrust Halford H.1B turbojet engine and on the XP-80A the engine was changed to the 4,000 lb (1,814 kg) thrust General Electric I-40 turbojet. Production P-80s were powered with 3,850 lb (1,746 kg) thrust General Electric J-33-GE-11s or Allison J-33-A-9s. The J-33 was the production version of the GE I-40.2
 

CLASSIC MILITARY JETS - LOCKHEED P-80 SHOOTING STAR AIR FORCE JET






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