Canadian Wings :: The History & Heritage of the Royal Canadian Air Force

Canadair CT-133 SILVER STAR

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. Variations included versions for armament training (AT), photo-reconnaissance (PR) and pilot training (PT). 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.

aircraft specifications
CDN Reg: CT-133
US/NATO Reg.: T-33
Manufacturer: Built by Canadair under license from Lockheed Aircraft
Crew / Passengers: 2 crew in ejection seats
Power Plant(s): one 5,100 lb Rolls Royce Nene 10 turbojet
Performance: Max Speed: 570 mph (917 km/h) Cruising Speed: 470 mph (760 km/h) Service Ceiling: 47,000 ft (14,325 m) Range: 1400 m (2,253 km) with tip tanks
Weights: Empty: 8,440 lbs (3,832 kg) Gross: 16,800 lbs ( 7,627 kg)
Dimensions: Span: 42 ft 5 in (12.93 m) Length: 37 ft 81/2 in (11.49 m) Height 11ft 8 in (3.6 m) Wing Area: 238 sq ft (22.11 sq m)
Armament: provisions for two .50 cal Browning machine guns and underwing pylons
CT-133 belonging to the Cold Lake Base Flight (CF Photo)



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