This expansion, which fit on a signle 3.5 floppy,
added the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star as a flyable craft for the 8th Air Force and as an opponent when flying for the Luftwaffe.
As an American
pilot, the P-80 is usable in Single Missions, Historical Combat, Tour of Duty, and Campaigns. On the Luftwaffe side, as with all expansions to SWOTL
, the new aircraft was not added to the opposing craft list for Tour of Duty missions. Therefore, the only way to fight against the P-80 was to fly Historical Combat missions.
The Lockheed P-80 was the United States'
first operational jet fighter. It featured a single-engine design, unlike the twin-engine German
Me 262, and as was common for American fighters of the time, six M2 Browning
.50 caliber machine guns. Alhough it was deployed to Europe late in the war in small numbers, it came in too late to see much action. Therefore, keeping with the theme of SWOTL, the extensive use of the P-80 is a historical "what if?"
As would be expected, the P-80 is faster than its piston-powered American counterparts. It isn't as agile as the older fighters, and its jet engine gulps fuel quickly, limiting range. While its speed and respectable firepower make it deadly as an air-to-air fighter, its range limits its deployability in Campaigns. Countering this deficiency somewhat is that, by the time the fighter deploys in-game, much of Europe is under Allied control. This allows P-80's to be deployed in forward bases, closer to the front. Thus, they are able to meet B-17's en route to target, picking up escort
duties in the bombers' final attack runs.
As an escort, the P-80 is quite capable. Its speed allows it to run down the speedy jet- and rocket-powered German fighters that would be outside of even the P-51's
speed range, and its firepower is enough to stop opponents once it reaches them.
It is a good ground attack fighter also, about on par with a P-51 as far as striking power, but with far less endurance. Underwing mounts allow the use of bombs and rockets.
The obvious comparsion to opponents is to the world's first operational jet fighter, the Me 262. In game, they are a close match. The Me 262's more advanced airframe design and twin engines offer better speed. The P-80's design did lag behind German advancements at the time. Even casual observers will notice that the P-80 had a straight wing, compared to the Me 262's swept-wing design which was optimized for transsonic airflow and high speed flight. American designers wouldn't employ swept-wing jets until the later F-86 Saber, which was designed using knowledge gained by studying captured Me 262's and design documents after the war.
Also, the Me 262 is armed with four 30mm cannon, which will bring down pretty much anything with a small number of hits. The P-80, however, was a bit more agile in-game, and the .50 caliber guns had a higher rate of fire. Although they didn't hit as hard, they certainly hit hard enough, and had a higher hit probability. Actual results may have differed, but in SWOTL the two jet fighters are a fairly even match.
Although history's first jet versus jet combat took place later, in the Korean War, this expansion allows players to see what may have happened in an earlier scenario.