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Originally developed by the General Electric Company for the Lockheed P-80 "Shooting Star", the J33 engine is a direct descendant of the British Whittle engine of the early 1940s. The first J33 underwent static testing on January 13, 1944, just 6 1/2 months after development began. Five months later, a J33 engine flew in the XP-80A replacing the De Havilland H-1A, a change that was to become permanent. In November 1945, the Allison Division of General Motors assumed complete responsibility for the development and production of J33 series engines.

In June 1944, the Air Corps' first operational fighter, the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star, flew powered by a J33/I-40 engine rated at 4,000 pounds (17,793 newtons) thrust. The second airframe of the P-80 Shooting Star family was designed for the American-built General Electric J33 jet engine. It was larger than the original XP-80 and its air intakes were moved slightly rearward. In 1947, it would set a world speed record at 620 miles per hour (998 kilometers per hour). The J33s were used in various models of Air Force and Navy aircraft, and in the USAF's Mace, Matador, and Snark surface-to-surface guided missiles. The XF-81 was a hybrid aircraft with on J33 jet and one XT-31 turboprop. In the XF9F-3 and production F9F-3s, an Allison J33 replaced. the Nene. Only engine installation details differed between the -2 and -3 Panthers.

The XF-92A was this country's first delta-wing aircraft. It was flown to obtain data on the flight characteristics of a delta-wing aircraft in the transonic speed range. It was a single-place aircraft, 42 feet, 5 inches long and 17 feet, 8 inches high, with a wingspan of 31 feet, 3 inches. The XF-92A took off and landed under its own power using an Allison J33-A jet engine, equipped with afterburner capability.

After 1949, the Navy gained the 52,800-pound North American AJ-1, its primary atomic-attack airplane through the mid-1950s. An AJ-1 was powered by two R-2800 piston engines and a single J33 jet engine in its tail. The jet engine was used only for heavy takeoffs from a carrier, evasive action in combat, and for speed over the target.

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One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias

Page last modified: 07-07-2011 02:37:13 ZULU