I'm rather fascinated by the concept of the 'conversion kit' that the former lockheed engineers who formed 'Skyfox Corp' came up with. According to the only info I can find, the concept was to re-engine and heavily modify existing Lockheed T-33 airframes into a rather sexy jet trainer/ground attack aircraft - to me it looks sort of like an Me262 with tail-mounted engines.
The business model was based on the fact that surplus T-33s were (and maybe still are) quite plentiful, and that by heavily modifying the existing T-33 airframe it was possible to engineer an essentially all-new airplane without having to design and build one from scratch, allowing a capable trainer to be built for half the cost of a new equivalent.
Boeing was impressed with the idea enough to buy the rights to the program, and there was interest from the Portugese and US airforce, but the program seemed to fizzle out... So this is another airplane to put in the book of 'could have been awesome' failed projects.
If anybody out there has any additional info about what went on with the Skyfox program I'd love to hear your stories, but also what other surplus airframes could benefit from a modification kit like what was done with Skyfox?
Wingscrubber From UK - England, joined Sep 2001, 835 posts, RR: 0 Reply 5, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 7595 times:
A light twin-jet such as this could have made a great COIN aircraft, although with a MTOW of 20,000lb, less than half of an A-10, it probably would have been limited to light guns and rockets.
But then, there are air forces who would put such as aircraft to great effect, could have been a great value export-aircraft, I puzzle at 'lack of customers'... the IA63 Pampa, Dassault Alphajet and AMX were all coming into service at or after the time this was developed, all in a similar weight and performance category, but all would have been more expensive than the Skyfox, but it wasn't to be...
DEVILFISH From Philippines, joined Jan 2006, 4450 posts, RR: 1 Reply 7, posted (2 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 7535 times:
Quoting Wingscrubber (Thread starter):
The business model was based on the fact that surplus T-33s were (and maybe still are) quite plentiful, and that by heavily modifying the existing T-33 airframe it was possible to engineer an essentially all-new airplane without having to design and build one from scratch,
The business case might have been a lot better now, with plenty of competitors proposing clean-sheet business jets, but falling along the wayside after investors lose interest. It would have made an awesome owner-pilot ride!