Falcon Models FA722012 USAF Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star - 318th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, McChord AFB, WA (1:72 Scale)
"Where do we get such men?"
- Rear Admiral George Tarrant, from the feature film "The Bridges at Toko-Ri"
The Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star is an American-built jet trainer aircraft. 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 U.S. Navy initially as TO-2 then TV-2, and after 1962, T-33B. Despite its vintage, the venerable T-33 still remains in service worldwide.
The T-33 (aka "T-Bird") was developed from the Lockheed P-80/F-80 by lengthening the fuselage by slightly over three feet and adding a second seat, instrumentation and flight controls. It was 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 January 8th, 1944. Following on the Bell P-59, the P-80 became the first jet fighter to enter full squadron service in the United States Army Air Forces. 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.
Originally designated the TF-80C, the T-33 made its first flight on 22 March 1948 with US production taking place from 1948 to 1959. The US Navy used the T-33 as a land-based trainer starting in 1949. It was designated the TV-2, but was redesignated the T-33B in 1962. The Navy operated some ex-USAF P-80Cs as the TO-1, changed to the 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.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a USAF T-33A Shooting Star training aircraft which was attached to the 318th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, then deployed to McChord AFB.
Wingspan: 6-1/2 inches
Length: 6 inches
Release Date: May 2012
Historical Account: "Air Defense Command" - The 318th Fighter Interceptor Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with 25th Air Division based at McChord AFB, Washington. The squadron was inactivated on December 7th, 1989.
After WWII, the unit was reactivated by Air Defense Command in May 1947 at Mitchell Field, New York. In December 1947, it was transferred to Hamilton Field, California where it received its first aircraft, P-61 Black Widows which had been pressed into the air defense mission. In the spring of 1948 the squadron received new F-82 Twin Mustangs and in November 1948 moved to McChord AFB, Washington. In the fall of 1950 the squadron transitioned into jet F-94As Starfire Interceptors.
In June 1953, the squadron moved to Thule Air Base, Greenland; under control of the Northeast Air Command. The squadron came back under ADC in August 1954 when it was moved from Thule to Presque Isle AFB, Maine with F-89D Scorpions. In August 1955 the squadron returned to McChord AFB and transitioned into F-86D Sabres. In March 1957 the squadron began a transition into F-102A Delta Daggers and three years later in March 1960 into F-106 Delta Darts.
On March 22nd, 1968, the 318th FIS deployed to Osan AB, Republic of Korea from McChord AFB, WA to provide air defense following the January 26th, 1968, North Korea seizure of the USS Pueblo. This marked the first time in history that Aerospace Defense Command F-106 fighter interceptors had flown to a critical overseas area, using in-flight refueling along with tactical air units.
Returned to the United States after the Pueblo Crisis ended, and flew F-106s throughout the 1970s. The 318th converted to F-15 Eagles in 1983.