The photo gallery above depicts a Lockheed P-80A ordered for evaluation by the U.S. Navy in 1945. The aircraft carried Lockheed Aircraft Serial No. 1028/Navy Serial 29668; modifications include the addition of an arresting hook, catapult hooks and holdback. The photos were taken on December 5, 1945, likely at the Lockheed Air Terminal in Burbank, California. The Navy received its first P-80A at NAS Patuxent River on June 29, 1945. On November 11, 1946, this P-80A was used for catapult launches, free takeoffs and arrested landings aboard USS Franklin D. Roosevelt.
In 1946, the Navy procured fifty additional Lockheed P-80s from the Air Force to use as interim familiarization trainers for fighter pilots until enough Navy jets became available. The P-80 Shooting Stars were designated TO-1s and lacked both arresting hooks and catapult fittings. The Navy continued to use the Shooting Star as a training plane and ordered the Air Force T-33 two-seat training version; it was designated as the TO-2. The TO-1 and TO-2 designations were later changed to TV-1 and TV-2. The T2V-1 Seastar, a much improved, carrier capable version of the TV-2, was built by Lockheed as a private venture prototype and first flew on December 15, 1953. One hundred fifty examples were built, with the type’s service career being relatively short due to maintenance problems. It continued to serve as a trainer until it was phased out in favor of the T2J-1 for basic flight training.
To view the photos in high resolution, please click through the gallery above. The gallery includes many close-up shots of the arresting gear modifications, which are useful for the modeler wishing to build an accurate replica of this rare P-80A variant.
After this article was originally published, naval aviation historian Tommy Thomason sent additional photos of this P-80A under test with the Navy in 1946; to view these, please check out the follow-up post to this article.
All images from NARA Archives II, College Park, MD, RG 72