Lockheed XP-80 Shooting Star

The Lockheed XP-80 Shooting Star "Lulu Belle" was the prototype for the United States' first operational jet fighter. Developed under wartime conditions of secrecy and urgency by a hand-picked team of 128 individuals, the Lulu Belle flew for the first time on January 8, 1944, fewer than seven months after the Army and Air Force signed a contract with Lockheed. This craft appeared too late to fight in World War II, but bore the brunt of early combat in Korea a few years later.

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Copyright 1996 The Smithsonian Institution