The T-2 Buckeye jet trainer aircraft was produced for the U.S. Navy by North American at Columbus, Ohio. T-2C trainers were used by the Naval Air Training Command to conduct basic jet flight training for future Navy and Marine Corps aviators. The trainer established an outstanding record of safety and reliability while providing training for more than 11,000 students to pilot 18 different models of Navy jet aircraft. Buckeyes also were purchased by Venezuela (T-2D) and Greece(T-2E).
The two-seat, high-performance T-2C Buckeye was used for a wide variety of pilot training, from the student's first jet flight to fully qualified flight. The aircraft was used for teaching a wide range of skills, including high-altitude, high-speed formation and aerobatic flights; basic and radio instruments; night and day navigation; and gunnery, bombing and carrier operations.
- T-2A - Two-seat intermediate jet training aircraft, powered by a 3,400-lb (1542-kg) thrust Westinghouse J34-WE-46/48 turbojet.
- T-2B - Improved version, powered by two 3,000-lb (1360-kg) thrust Pratt & Whitney J60-P-1 turbojets. 97 built.
- T-2C - Final production version for the US Navy, powered by two 2,950-lbf thrust General Electric J85-GE-4 turbojets. 231 built.
- T-2D - Export version for Venezuela. 12 built. 231 built.
- T-2E - Export version for Greece. 40 built.
The Buckeye entered initial service in 1959, and was replaced by the T-45 Goshawk in 2008.
The Buckeye had a tandem seating arrangement with the rear seat elevated to provide student and instructor pilot with excellent visibility. The front and rear cockpits had duplicate controls, allowing control of the aircraft from either cockpit. The rocket-catapult ejection seats provided emergency escape capabilities from ground level to 50,000 feet at speeds from 55 to 525 knots.
The versatility of the T-2C as a weapons trainer was demonstrated by the capability to install many types of practice stores and packages on the wing store stations. These stores and packages included bombs, air-to-air and air-to-ground rockets, gun pods, and aerial tow targets. An armament accessory kit was available that provided six store stations instead of two, thus making the Buckeye an excellent light-attack aircraft in addition to its training role.