English Electric Lightning

Undoubtedly one of the best point interceptors of its time, and a wonderful example of British aircraft design and innovation.

History

Designed to meet Air Ministry specification F23/49 for a single seat fighter capable of intercepting high speed and high altitude bombers. Also seen as a "stop gap" until it could be replaced by the much vaunted missle defence that was deemed to be the future. 28 years seems like quite a long time for a "stop gap" service.

The Lightning had a unique design of placing one engine above the other, which went against the practice of placing engines side by side. This kept the profile smaller in aide of areodynamics, but was a complication for the RAF ground crews.

Only ever used by 3 airforces, RAF, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The lightining only ever used in anger by Saudi Arabia, during the border dispute of 1969.

A total of 277 single seat versions and 52 two seat trainers built.

Versions

English Electric Lightning F1

Speed Weight Span Length
Mach 2.2 (1,500 mph) 25,753lb (empty), 40,000lb (max) 34ft 10in 55ft 3in

English Electric Lightning F1A

Speed Weight Span Length
Mach 2.2 (1,500 mph) 25,753lb (empty), 40,000lb (max) 34ft 10in 55ft 3in

English Electric Lightning F2

Speed Weight Span Length
Mach 2.2 (1,500 mph) 27,000lb (empty), ?lb (max) 34ft 10in 55ft 3in

English Electric Lightning F2A

Speed Weight Span Length
Mach 2.2 (1,500 mph) 27,000lb (empty), ?lb (max) 34ft 10in 55ft 3in

English Electric Lightning F3

Speed Weight Span Length
Mach 2.2 (1,500 mph) 26,905lb (empty), ?lb (max) 34ft 10in 55ft 3in

English Electric Lightning T4

Speed Weight Span Length
Mach 2.2 (1,500 mph) 27,000lb (empty), ?lb (max) 34ft 10in 55ft 3in

English Electric Lightning T5

Speed Weight Span Length
Mach 2.2 (1,500 mph) 27,000lb (empty), ?lb (max) 34ft 10in 55ft 3in

English Electric Lightning F6

Speed Weight Span Length
Mach 2.2 (1,500 mph) 28,042lb (empty), 41,700lb (max) 34ft 10in 55ft 3in

English Electric Lightning F53 (F6 export)

Speed Weight Span Length
Mach 2.2 (1,500 mph) 28,042lb (empty), 41,700lb (max) 34ft 10in 55ft 3in

English Electric Lightning T55 (F5 export)

Speed Weight Span Length
Mach 2.2 (1,500 mph) 27,000lb (empty), ?lb (max) 34ft 10in 55ft 3in

Users

Country Service Model Dates
UK RAF F1/A, F2/A, F3, F6, T4/5 1960 to 1988
Saudi Arabia RSAF F52, F53, F54 1967 to 1986
Kuwait KAF F53, T55 1968 to 1977

Sources

Books

Web

YouTube

RAF Lightning Jet fighter promo 60s