The Lockheed T2V-1/ T-1 was an improved version of the T-33 trainer, produced as a deck landing trainer for the US Navy.
The T-33 had been produced as a fairly simple modification of the P-80 Shooting Star, turning it from a single seat fighter into a two seat trainer. The T-33 was produced in impressive numbers, with over 5,500 built by Lockheed of which 699 went to the US Navy, where it became the TV-2 (later the T-33B).
Lockheed believed that they could improve the T-33, and in 1952 began privately funded work on a new design. They had two aims - to improve the instructor’s efficiency and to improve the low speed handling characteristics of the aircraft.
In order to achieve their first objective, the instructor’s seat was raised by six inches to give him a better view past the student. This required the installation of a revised canopy, which was higher at the back than the front, replacing the level canopy of the T-33.
The second objective required more complex changes. The wings were given leading edge slats, the tail surfaces were enlarged, and a boundary-layer control system as installed. This involved feeding compressed air from the engine compressor chambers out of slots over the top of the slats to allow some control over the aerodynamics of the wing. Lockheed expected these changes to reduce the landing speed by 7.4km/h and the take-off speed by 13km/ h.
In 1953 Lockheed decided to built a demonstrator aircraft, again at their own cost. They bought an incomplete T-33A from the Air Force, and completed it to the new standards. This aircraft was officially the Model L-245 Lockheed Trainer, and unofficially as the T-33B. It was completed in November and made its maiden flight on 16 December 1953. After early trials a large dorsal fin was added to compensate for the raised cockpit canopy, and the jet tailpipe had to be modified, but otherwise the aircraft performed as expected.
The new trainer was of no interest to the USAAF, but the US Navy was looking for a jet powered deck landing trainer, and was interested in the lower landing speed of the new aircraft. On May 1954 the Navy ordered eight T2V-1s, which were to have fixed wing-tip fuel tanks, a stronger airframe and undercarriage, an hydraulically adjustable nose unit that could be lowered for landings and raised for catapult take-offs and climbing, an arrestor hook and a revised tail. The prototype was modified to test out the new features, which were then introduced on the production aircraft.
The first production aircraft began flight trials on 20 January 1956. Carrier qualification trials followed eighteen months later, on USS Antietam. These were successful, and a series of further orders were placed. Originally 390 were ordered, but only 150 were completed and the remaining 240 were cancelled.
The T2V-1 entered service at NAS Pensacola late in 1957. It performed well as a deck landing trainer, but the boundary layer control system proved to be problematic. It was soon joined in service by the lower powered North American T2J-1 (T-2A) which was used for initial training, with the T2V-1 used for advanced training. It was phased out after the entry into service of the Grumman F9F-8T (TF-9J), which could be used for both deck landing and armaments training.
Engines: Allison J33A-24 or -24A
Power: 6,100lb thrust
Wing span: 42ft 10in
Length: 38ft 6.5in
Height: 13ft 4in
Empty weight: 11,965lb
Loaded weight: 15,500lb
Maximum weight: 16,800lb
Maximum speed: 580mph at 35,000ft
Rate of climb: 6,330ft/ min
Service ceiling: 40,000ft
Normal range: 970 miles