The T-33 was the most widely used jet trainer in the world. A two-seat version of the USAF’s first jet fighter, the F-80 Shooting Star, the T-33 continues to serve in various armed forces today.
The T-33 is a F-80 with a lengthened fuselage to make room for the second tandem seat. It entered service during the 1950s, and the US Navy also acquired the type and had it modified for blue-water operation as the TV-2. It was the USAFs first jet trainer. It soon was dubbed the ‘T-Bird’ and was being produced under license in both Japan and Canada. In Japan, Kawasaki built 210 of these trainers. In Canada, the T-33 was designated the CL-30 Silver Star and the Allison turbojets of the original were replaced with Canadian built Rolls-Royce Nene 10 engines. The type still serves as a trainer for both countries. Limited numbers were also produced for export, some being modified to carry light armament. While only 1,718 P-80 Shooting Stars were built, nearly 7,000 T-33s saw active service around the world.
Until recently, the T-33 continued to serve in Canada as a target tug and general utility aircraft, having been re-designated the CT-133. Additional examples are still in active military service in Japan and several other nations. About 50 are in the hands of warbird operators, mostly in the United States.