03/31/2013. Remarks by Johan Visschedijk: "Put into production as the first supersonic trainer for the USAF, the T-38A was a derivative of the Northrop N-156, a lightweight military aircraft originally developed as a private venture. The N-156 concept began in 1954 with a study of European and Asian needs for a lightweight and inexpensive fighter of high performance, achieved in the Northrop design by the use of two small, efficient turbojets with afterburners, advanced aerodynamic principles and new structural techniques.
After two years of private development, Northrop obtained USAF interest in a trainer version, the N-156T. Construction of three prototypes was authorized in December 1956 and development proceeded under the weapon system designation SS-420L for a jet basic trainer support system. The contract was later revised and when finally concluded in June 1958 covered seven test
YT-38s including one static test airframe.
The first prototype (s/n 58-1191) was flown from Edwards AFB on April 10, 1959, by Lew Nelson. This and the second aircraft (s/n 58-1192), flown on June 12, 1959, had YJ85-GE-1 turbojets without afterburners; subsequent YT-38s in the operational test batch had 3,600 lb (1,633 kg) s.t YJ85-GE-5s with afterburners while production aircraft have the 3,850 lb (1,746 kg) s.t J85-GE-5 engines.
With Fiscal 1959 funds, the USAF ordered thirteen T-38As, and the first of these (s/n 59-1594) flew in May 1960. Follow-on contracts were included in successive annual budgets until a total of 1,189 had been contracted by the beginning of 1970, all but 75 of these being for USAF training schools. Another 46 operated in USAF markings but were purchased by the German government and used for advanced training of Luftwaffe pilots in the USA. The first T-38A was delivered to Randolph AFB on March 17, 1961, where it went into service with the 3510th Flying Training Wing."