Single-engine twin-seat trainer
Forty-eight T-33A jet trainers and 2 RT-33A reconnaissance aircraft were initially earmarked for the Belgian Government in the framework of the MDAP (Mutual Defence Assistance Programme), however after a review the order was adjusted to 38 T-33As and a single RT-33A.
The first T-33As for Belgium were shipped to the Moroccan port of Casablanca, assembled at the base of Meknes and flown to Florennes. A second batch was delivered via the northern route and Denmark while the remainder was delivered in flight straight from the USA.
The first aircraft were fitted with standard F-80A Shooting Star drop tanks and initially wore only the USAF 'buzz number' and no roundels. Over the early years Belgian Air Force T-Birds had a varied life and were based at virtual all military airbases and units (2, 9, 10 Wing and the Fighter School), before being grouped at Brustem airbase.
Eight aircraft were temporarily transferred to the Royal Netherlands Air Force (Koninklijke Luchtmacht) as part of a Belgian-Dutch agreement for a common pilot training scheme.
At the end of their service life with the Belgian Air Force and as the aircraft had remained property of the US government most of the T-Birds were returned to the legal owners and got a second career with other foreign air forces or in the worst case as a target on bombing ranges.
As mentioned higher, a single RT-33A reconnaissance development of the T-33A Shooting Star was delivered to the Belgian Air Force in the framework of the Mutual Defence Assistance Programme (MDAP). The aircraft with c/n 8872 and USAF serial 53-5533 was registered FTR-1 with the Belgian Air Force. Arriving at the end of December 1955, it was delivered to N° 42Sq/9W at Wahn airbase (D.). However, the a/c was refused by Major Maricq (CO 42sq), as it needed a different maintenance chain (42 Sq being a fully self-supporting unit). On 28 March 1956 it was transferred to Melsbroek airbase were it was kept in storage until being returned tp MAAG (USAF) on 5 April 1956 and flown over to Châteauroux on 21 April 1956. After having been active with the Pakistan Air Force it is now on display at the Pakistan AF Academy at Risalpur (PK). Only a hanfull of images exist of the TR-33A in Belgian service, these being stills taken from a movie and thus explaining the rather poor quality.