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F-80 Shooting Star

The Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star was the first jet fighter used operationally by the United States Army Air Force. Designed and built by Lockheed in 1943 and delivered just 143 days from the start of the design process, production models were flying but not ready for service by the end of World War II. Designed with straight wings, the type saw extensive combat in Korea with the United States Air Force as the F-80. America's first successful turbojet-powered combat aircraft, it helped usher in the "jet age" in the USAF, but was outclassed with the appearance of the swept-wing transonic MiG-15 and was quickly replaced in the air superiority role by the transonic North American F-86 Sabre.

The impetus for development of the P-80 was the discovery by Allied intelligence of the Me-262 in spring 1943, which had made only test flights of its own first quartet of design prototypes at that time. After receiving documents and blueprints comprising years of British jet aircraft research, the commanding General of the Army Air Forces, Henry H. Arnold, believed an airframe could be developed to accept the British-made jet engine, and the Materiel Command's Wright Field research and development division tasked Lockheed to design the aircraft. With the Germans and British clearly far ahead in development, Lockheed was pressed to develop a comparable jet in as short a time as possible. Kelly Johnson submitted a design proposal in mid-June and promised that the prototype would be ready for testing in 180 days. The Skunk Works team, beginning 26 June 1943, produced the airframe in 143 days, delivering it to Muroc Army Airfield on 16 November.

F-80 in The Hot WarEdit

The F-80 saw service in the European theater of World War III. They were one of the few jets in the U.S. air force that Soviet pilots feared.

The F-80 proved crucial to stopping the Soviet attempt to retake Warberg, West Germany in March, 1952.[1]

F-80 in Joe SteeleEdit

The new jet F-80s were deployed in South Japan when the Japanese War broke out.[2] While superior to the Soviet Gurevich 9 coming out of North Japan, they were not effective enough to prevent many B-29s from being shot down putting a stop to all but occasional night raids. Both models (as well as the B-29s) were flown by pilots of their respective countries rather than their Japanese puppets.[3]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Fallout, loc. 5446-5505, ebook.
  2. Joe Steele, pg. 351, HC.
  3. Ibid., pgs. 354-355.

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