DevelopmentThe Lockheed aviation company was the first in the United States to start work on a jet-powered aircraft, the L-133 design started in 1939 as a number of "Paper Projects" by engineers Clarence "Kelly" Johnson, Willis Hawkins and Hall J Hibbard. By 1940 preliminary work on a company financed jet fighter had been started, which progressed to several different versions on the drawing board. In the meantime Lockheed were working on an axial-flow L-1000 turbojet engine of their own design, which was intended to power the culmination of the jet fighter project, the Model L-133-02-01. Throughout World War II, the development of a jet-powered fighter had the potential to bring a decisive advantage in the air battles of the war; as history played out only the Luftwaffe built significant numbers of jet fighters before World War II ended, and they reached service too late to make a difference. On March 30, 1942, Lockheed formally submitted the L-133-02-01 to the United States Army Air Forces for consideration.[1] Powered by two L-1000 turbojets and featuring a futuristic-appearing canard design with slotted flaps to enhance lift, the single-seat fighter was expected to have a top speed of 612 mph (985 km/h) in level flight.[1] The L-133 had a main wing shape that should be familiar to World War II aviation buffs: essentially the outer wing sections of a Lockheed P-38. In many respects the L-133 was far ahead of its time, with futuristic features including: canard layout blended wing-body planform two engines in a very low-drag integral fuselage location The USAAF considered the L-133 to be too advanced for the time, and did not pursue the project.[1] However the experience gained with the design would serve Lockheed well in the development of the USAAF's first operational jet fighter, the P-80 Shooting Star. Although entering service after World War II had ended, the P-80 was less advanced than the L-133. Because the USAAF didn't give the L-133 project the go-ahead, the advanced engines intended for the L-133 had long pauses in their development. The most expedient engine choice for the P-80 thus became the Allison J33 based on British centrifugal compressor designs. The P-80 was a cheap-to-build single-engined aircraft with a very conventional wing and tailplane design, not using the blended wing-body and canard layout of the L-133. [edit] Specifications (L-133-02-01)Data from [2] General characteristics Crew: 1 Length: 48 ft 4 in (14.73 m) Wingspan: 46 ft 8 in (14.22 m) Wing area: 325 ft2 (30.194 m2) Powerplant: 2 × Lockheed L-1000 axial-flow turbojets, 5100 lbf (23 kN) each each Performance Maximum speed: 612 mph (985 km/h) Armament 4 × 20mm nose-mounted cannon

johnbr, Nov 9, 2011
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