The Silver Star is more often referred to as the T-33 or T-Bird. The CT-133 Silver Star has a long and distinguished history with the Canadian Forces. The world's first purpose-built jet trainer, the T-33 evolved from America's first successful jet fighter. The Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star that briefly flew operationally during the Second World War. Initially known as the P-80C, the trainer variant flew better than its single seat cousins. Powered by an Allison J33-35 single-shaft, turbojet engine with a thrust rating of 5,200 lbs, the improvements to the trainer meant it climbed faster, cruised better and overall was slightly faster than the fighter version. In May 1949, the designation for the aircraft was officially switched to T-33.
The RCAF's first introduction to the aircraft followed two years later, when the first of twenty Lockheed built T-33As were delivered on loan. The aircraft were known to the RCAF was the Silver Star Mk 1. This first batch was followed by a second loan of ten more aircraft. On 13 September 1951, Canadair signed a license agreement with Lockheed to build T-33 aircraft for the RCAF.
The Canadair built version known internally as the CL-30 (and as the T-33ANX by Lockheed and the USAF) was to be powered by an uprated Nene 10 engine licensed by Rolls Royce and supplied by Orenda Ltd. Once in production, the aircraft were designated T-33 Silver Star Mk 3 by the RCAF. Initially, the RCAF ordered 576 aircraft. Eventually, a total of 656 aircraft would be delivered to the RCAF between 1952 and 1959. The "T-Bird" has been used by a wide variety of Air Force and Navy units and continues its valuable service.
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