** American World War II jets Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star

American World War II Jets: Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star

Figure 1.--The Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star was the first Amnerican jet aooeraring at the end of World War II. Like the British Gloster Meteor were designed without the bnenefit of German technology. Note that the wings not swept back. A few reached Europe and the Pacific at the end of World War II, but there were no combat engagements. Here we see the P-80 at stateside air base after the War.

The Lockheed P-40 Shooting Star was America's first jet aircraft. It was developed on an emerrgenct base after the Allies became aware of the Geraman Me262. It was rushed into developmernt and production. The USAAF asked Lockeed to design a fighter around the British De Havilland built Halford H.1B turbojet engine (June 1943). Britain at the time was werking on Frank Wittle's Gloster Meteor. Amerrica had not jet program. Lockeed designed and built the XP-80 in only 143 days, 37 days before the plan. This was an emergency effort, it was not just buolding a research aircraft, but a actual production prototype and its armament. Lockeed worked in total secrecy, puting bfake propellers in the volane when nit first enrgerd. It bwas the start of Lockeed's famed 'Skunk Works.' The first lihht 6 months later (Januarry 1944). It was all fon without the benefit of Grman technoloy. Both the Shooting Star and the Glouster Meteor lacked swept-back wings. It was the first American combat-jet fighter going into servuice (1945). The USAAF) planned to build the P-40 in substantial numbers, but just two aircraft arrived in Italy before the NAZI sureendered. There wre no actual European combat. Squadrons in the States began receiving P-80s. And some 30 P-80s were sent aboard an aircraft carrier to the Philippines for baction in he Pacific (summer 1945). The P-80s were for e 414th Fighter Group, based in the Philippines. The P-80s were sent wityhout their tip tanks and ircraft batteries. By ther time they were operational, Japan surrendered. Thus there were also no combat operayions in the Pacific. The P-80 did see service in the Korean War and scored the first victory in the first jet on jet engagement, shooting down a Mig-15. It was not, however up to the Mig-15 standards and the P-80 was rapidly replaced by the more advanced North American F-86 Sabre. Interestingly the Muig-15 P-80, biyh of which incoporating Germnan rechnology looked similar.


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Created: 9:06 AM 3/7/2022
Last updated: 9:07 AM 3/7/2022