|This page is about the American jet fighter F-80A-5. For the other version, see F-80C-10.|
- 1 Description
- 2 General info
- 3 Armaments
- 4 Usage in battles
- 5 History
- 6 Media
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
The F-80A-5 Shooting Star is a rank V American jet fighter with a battle rating of 6.7 (AB) and 7.0 (RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.39. The plane was redesignated from the P-80A-5 to the F-80A-5 in Update 1.79 "Project X".
The main purpose of the F-80 is to teach a pilot how to fly jets in general. If a pilot is doing well in the F-80, he's ready to move to higher-ranked jets. Never give up your speed: it is the plane's insurance. Only trade it for the altitude in zoom climbs.
Be careful that the jet is up-tiered quite a lot. When this happens, strictly adhere to the rules set forth in this article or you will be at a great disadvantage.
One thing to take note of is the M2 Brownings. Sadly, they are insufficient for high-speed combat due to the low rate of fire and subsequently limited damage output; be aware, however, that they still pack a punch in partial head-ons with 262s, 229s, and the like. The issue is later on fixed with the M3 Browning on the successor F-80C Shooting star, but the ammunition load still remains low, like on the P-51D. As for piston planes: they are capable of setting enemy piston planes on fire in a short burst. All of the guns are mounted in the nose, making them deadly accurate when performing head-ons, especially once the "new 12 mm MGs" modification is installed. For ground attack, there is the usual complement of ordnance for the USAF: HVAR rockets and standard 1,000 lb bombs.
|Characteristics|| Max Speed
(km/h at 0 m - sea level)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
| Take-off run|
|Combat flaps||Take-off flaps||Landing flaps||Air brakes||Arrestor gear||Drogue chute|
|Wings (km/h)||Gear (km/h)||Flaps (km/h)||Max Static G|
|Optimal velocities (km/h)|
|< 482||< 600||< 640||N/A|
|Engine name||Number||Wing loading (full fuel)|
|Allison J33-A-17||1||4,093 kg||243 kg/m2|
|Engine characteristics||Mass with fuel (no weapons load)|| Max Takeoff|
|Weight (each)||Type||9m fuel||20m fuel||30m fuel|
|850 kg||Centrifugal-flow turbojet||4,475 kg||4,937 kg||5,368 kg||6,500 kg|
|Thrust to weight ratio @ 0 m (100%)|
|Condition||100%||WEP||9m fuel||20m fuel||30m fuel||MTOW|
|Optimal|| 1,651 kgf
Survivability and armour
- 10 mm Steel - Fore cockpit armour
- 12.7 mm Steel - Behind pilot's seat
- 38 mm Bulletproof glass
Modifications and economy
As with most early jets, the acceleration is sub-par, so Compressor and Engine should be focused on first, then a choice between Airframe, New Boosters or the Offensive 12 mm. Wings Repair is recommended to help with the F-80's average manoeuvrability. Afterwards, the G-Suit upgrade will come in handy. Fuselage Repair and Cover are not really useful and can be ignored until the very end, although Airframe can be used to help the mediocre durability (the tail control will burn away instantly when you catch on fire unless you have Airframe).
The F-80A-5 is armed with:
- 6 x 12.7 mm M2 Browning machine guns, nose-mounted (300 rpg = 1,800 total)
The nose-mounted machine guns are set lower than wing-mounted weapons and require getting used to.
The F-80A-5 can be outfitted with the following ordnance:
- Without load
- 8 x HVAR rockets
- 2 x 1,000 lb AN-M65A1 bombs (2,000 lb total)
Usage in battles
This F-80 must be flown strictly as Boom-and-Zoom, or Boom-and-Run. Anything else does not work due to the aircraft's inferior acceleration compared to props and some Axis jets at certain speeds. While its manoeuvring energy retention (MER) is relatively poor - as with most early jets - its vertical and horizontal energy retention (ER) is decent.
At the beginning of the match, the F-80 should climb away from the potential combat zone. Two climbs can be used; a standard steady-state climb, keeping the aircraft at a fixed angle or speed, optimally no greater than 10-12 degrees; or, ideally, a zoom climb. To accomplish this, take off, and away from the centre of the battlefield, as you would to start a normal side-climb. However, the Shooting Star should be kept relatively level, an angle of no greater than 5-7 degrees should be maintained, preferably lower. To reach well over 3 km (10,000 ft), build your speed to approximately 800 km/h (500 mph), and only then place the F-80 in a 10-20 degree climb. If you need or want to get into the battle quicker, before you begin the zoom-climb, execute a diving-turn towards the centre of the battlefield (so as to maintain as much of your built-up airspeed as possible), then put yourself into the zoom-climb (this is slightly riskier, as you'll be entering a low energy state as you enter the centre of the battlefield; if an enemy aircraft has managed to climb above you, this may leave you in a precarious position). To reach around 2,500-2,750 m (8,000-9,000 ft), reaching 485-540 km/h (300-400 mph) is ideal.
For ground strike, the F-80 is a decent aircraft, carrying the USAF standard of bombs, rockets, and ground attack belts. However, it is not recommended to hit ground targets, this is a fighter and not a lumbering attacker, and should be used as an air-superiority fighter.
In air combat, the F-80 performs admirably if flown to its strengths, i.e. boom-and-zoom. Dive on enemy targets, take a shot, and then execute a shallow to medium zoom climb. While the six nose-mounted .50 calibre M2 Brownings are beginning to show their age, they are still more than equal to the task, especially at the F-80's BR. Early jet engines do not take kindly to any sort of damage, and a slew of .50 calibre rounds are more than enough to wreak havoc on small-to-medium airframes. While its biggest con is simply lacking the hitting-power of HE-filled cannon rounds, the six HMGs have enough pros to make up for this shortcoming. First off, with some trigger discipline, a good marksman can down 4, or even 5 enemy aircraft, due to your relatively plentiful ammunition. Secondly, the high velocity of the rounds serve well with the increasing speeds of the jet age; Some cannon rounds can be difficult to hit fast-moving targets with due to their lower velocity. Lastly, all six guns are nose-mounted, packing the shot-grouping into a relatively small area. This means that a burst-mass of 7.34 lbs or 3.3 kg per second cam impact said relatively small area.
Utilizing its amazing boom and zoom capabilities, the F-80A-5 can easily outspeed enemy targets from the dive initiated, paired with its amazing energy retention, one can do very well in bringing down enemy aircraft. However, when at low speeds, the F-80 is in a dangerous position so one should pull off from an assault by zoom climbing back to a preferable altitude over the battle. One can dive back on the enemy when they are spread out, low and slow. Always remember to keep your speed up, as enemies close by can easily catch you off guard when attacking.
Tracer belts are an excellent choice. Although with the advent of jets, we see the introduction of all-metal airframes across nations, the fire-starting (and armour-piercing) ability of the M20 API-T round is still nothing to be trifled with. Tracers are inherently easier to aim, as well, and the penetration capability of the M20 API-T is only slightly less than that of the M2 AP round. The stealth belt is another good choice, with a 50/50 combination of M8 AP-I and M23 Incendiary rounds.
The F-80 is one of the fastest aircraft at its rank. However, due to its bad acceleration it must maintain energy discipline. Hard turns are taboo due to its poor MER. One should turn to engage, not to follow. Opponents like the Ho 229 can potentially outrun the F-80. However, due to the F-80A-5's higher acceleration at 650-750 km/h IAS compared to a Horten, it is possible to keep up with one for a while.
Pros and cons
- Great energy retention compared to piston planes and the Me 262 it commonly faces
- Great zoom climb capability compared to piston planes
- Higher top speed than any piston plane or early Axis jet
- M2 Browning machine guns have high muzzle velocity and carry a lot of ammo
- Can be used as CAS with its payload options
- M2 Brownings offer limited damage output
- Four large fuel tanks on each wing
- Low minimum fuel capacity (only 8 minutes): carrying more fuel will hamper the plane's flight performance
- Roll rate locks up at about 500 km/h IAS
- Unfavourable matchmaking, will be regularly pitted against significantly faster Korean war jets
The F-80 Shooting Star was an American straight-wing jet aircraft. It was the first American-designed jet fighter to enter service, and served for a short time in the Korean war before being replaced by the more capable F-86 Sabre. The aircraft was designed in just 143 days, and as a result, suffered from many critical issues; the aircraft was responsible for the deaths of several test pilots, including Richard Bong, America's highest scoring WWII ace. The aircraft, originally intended to fight the Me-262 over the skies of Europe, arrived too late to see service in the Second World War. However, the plane would go on to serve in the Korean War, where it was the first American jet to see combat.
Design and development
The F-80 Shooting Star was the product of a design project started in mid-1943. At the time, Lockheed had been asked to produce an aircraft using the de Havilland Halford jet engine, capable of fighting the Me 262 Schwalbe on more-than-equal terms. As a result, a production prototype (see photo) was developed in just 143 days. This was a huge feat, as the aircraft was a full-scale prototype with functional armament. The aircraft was produced in a large tent in complete secrecy, while the team responsible for its production would become the predecessor to Lockheed's famous 'Skunk Works'.
Though the aircraft design was promising, it soon became evident that the aircraft's rushed development had led to a variety of design flaws. The aircraft was hypersensitive in pitch, had engine and flap issues, and even baked the pilot as the cockpit temperature rose to a sweltering 180 degrees Fahrenheit (82 degrees Celsius) during flight. However, following a large funding boost, the major issues (including the cooked pilot) were solved. By late 1944, the P-80 program was a similar priority level as the B-29, and 1,000 aircraft had already been ordered. This massive rush resulted in many fatalities - Lockheed's chief test pilot was killed following an engine failure, while four additional pilots (including Major Richard Bong) were killed in various accidents. The rising number of fatalities brought the P-80 program to a halt - as a result, the aircraft was given a large number of safety modifications to improve its reliability in flight. However, the biggest hit came in September of 1945, with the end of WWII. The USAF, looking to reduce costs, cut the total orders from 5,000 to 2,000. Nevertheless, the P-80 entered production.
Production and service history
The first pre-production YP-80 aircraft were ready just before the end of the war, but failed to see operational service. However, nearly 1,700 P-80s were produced between 1946 and 1948, 924 being of the P-80A and P-80B variants. These aircraft had been re-engined with the Allison J-33, producing more power thus increasing the aircraft's combat capabilities. Starting from 1947 following the separation of the USAF, the P-80 was renamed the F-80 in accordance to new designation guidelines.
The newly-introduced aircraft soon began to set records. In 1946, the aircraft became the first jet to cross the continental United States, from Long Beach to New York. In 1947, a specially modified F-80 set a new aviation speed record of 1,002 km/h (623 mph), which it held for a very short duration of time.
The F-80A had a short service life, having been replaced by newer F-80B and F-80C aircraft. As a result, the F-80A variants would never see combat, having been relegated to advanced training roles before the start of the Korean War. The F-80C was luckier, and saw combat over the Korean Peninsula as a fighter-bomber. By the end of the Korean war, the F-80 had flown almost 100 thousand sorties, dropped 41 thousand tonnes of bombs and destroyed 58 aircraft. Quite an impressive track record for an aircraft built in a circus tent.
An all-metal, single-seat fighter-bomber with one turbojet engine. The aircraft was created by a group of Lockheed engineers (headed by Clarence "Kelly" Johnson) in only 143 days.
The first flight of the XP-80 prototype was performed in January 1944. The first production version, designated the P-80A Shooting Star, entered service in 1946. The P-80 became the first combat-capable jet aircraft to enter service with the USAAF.
1947 saw the appearance of the next production version of the aircraft, the P-80B. The ninth production P-80A-1 was converted to a new prototype, designated the XP-80B. It had an Allison J33-A-17 turbojet engine producing 1,816 kg of thrust, equipped with a methanol-water injection system. The airfoil was thinner, but the skin's thickness was increased. To install a water mixture tank, the plane's fuel quantity had to be sacrificed by reducing it from 1,781 to 1,610 litres. The aircraft also received a Lockheed-designed ejection seat and a cockpit air-conditioning system.
The plane's armament consisted of six 12.7 mm Colt-Browning M3 machine guns with 300 rounds each in the forward fuselage. One 1,000 lb (454 kg) bomb or ten 5-inch (127 mm) unguided HVAR missiles could be suspended under each wing panel.
A total of 240 P-80B fighter-bombers were built from March 1947 to March 1948, including P-80B-1s and 31 P-80B-5s. The B-5 variant was intended to be operated in Arctic conditions; its heated canopy prevented icing. In addition, special types of oil and special rubber were used to operate the aircraft in low temperature conditions.
At least five P-80Bs were equipped with a guidance system for Bell GAM-63 RASCAL air-to-surface missiles. Externally, these aircraft differed in the shape of the forward fuselage and the wing-mounted tanks. Also, they were fitted with extra spoilers on the upper and lower wing surfaces.
In June 1948, when the US military aircraft designation system was changed, the P-80B was renamed to the F-80B.
When the Korean War started, F-80Bs were stationed in the USA and in Europe, being used by the USAAF mainly for training purposes. Later, 117 F-80Bs were brought up to the F-80C's standards and re-designated "F-80C-12". The remaining F-80Bs were withdrawn from service by the end of 1951.
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Bell P-59 Airacomet
- de Havilland Vampire
- Gloster Meteor
- Messerschmitt Me 262
- Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-9
- Yakovlev Yak-23
- Dwyer, L (2002)
- Agle, D (2014)
- Roblin, S (2019)
- Dwyer, L. (2002, June 3). P-80 Shooting Star. Retrieved November 13, 2020, from Website
- Agle, D. (2014, September 24). Shooting Star. Retrieved November 13, 2020, from Website
- Roblin, S. (2019, January 03). Meet the F-80 Shooting Star: The First U.S. Jet Fighter That Went to War Against North Korea. Retrieved November 13, 2020, from Website
|Fighters||XP-38G · P-38E · P-38G-1 · P-38J-15 · Bong's P-38J-15 · P-38K · P-38L-5-LO · YP-38|
|Bombers||B-34 · PV-2D|
|Jet Fighters||F-80A-5 · F-80C-10|
|F-104A · F-104C|
|Export / License||A-29 · ▄Hudson Mk V|
|␗F-104A · ▀F-104G · ␗F-104G · ▅F-104J · ▄F-104S|
|See Also||Mitsubishi Heavy Industries · Fiat Aviation|
|USA jet aircraft|
|F-4||F-4C Phantom II · F-4E Phantom II · F-4J Phantom II · F-4S Phantom II|
|F-5||F-5A · F-5C · F-5E|
|F-8||F8U-2 · F-8E|
|F-80||F-80A-5 · F-80C-10|
|F-84||F-84B-26 · F-84F · F-84G-21-RE|
|F-86||F-86A-5 · F-86F-25 · F-86F-2 · F-86F-35|
|F-89||F-89B · F-89D|
|F-104||F-104A · F-104C|
|F-14||F-14A Early · F-14B|
|F-16||F-16A · F-16A ADF · F-16C|
|F9F||F9F-2 · F9F-5 · F9F-8|
|FJ-4||FJ-4B · FJ-4B VMF-232|
|Other||P-59A · F2H-2 · F3D-1 · F3H-2 · F4D-1 · F11F-1 · F-100D|
|A-4||A-4B · A-4E Early|
|A-7||A-7D · A-7E · A-7K|
|AV-8||AV-8A · AV-8C|
|A-10||A-10A · A-10A Late|
|B-57||B-57A · B-57B|