English Electric Lightning
Overview
 
The English Electric Lightning is a supersonic jet fighter aircraft
Fighter aircraft
A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat with other aircraft, as opposed to a bomber, which is designed primarily to attack ground targets...

 of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 era, noted for its great speed and unpainted natural metal exterior finish. It is the only all-British Mach 2 fighter aircraft. The aircraft was renowned for its capabilities as an interceptor; Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 (RAF) pilots described it as "being saddled to a skyrocket". English Electric
English Electric
English Electric was a British industrial manufacturer. Founded in 1918, it initially specialised in industrial electric motors and transformers...

 was later incorporated into the British Aircraft Corporation
British Aircraft Corporation
The British Aircraft Corporation was a British aircraft manufacturer formed from the government-pressured merger of English Electric Aviation Ltd., Vickers-Armstrongs , the Bristol Aeroplane Company and Hunting Aircraft in 1960. Bristol, English Electric and Vickers became "parents" of BAC with...

, later marques being developed and produced as the BAC Lightning.

The Lightning was used throughout much of its service life by the RAF and the Royal Saudi Air Force
Royal Saudi Air Force
The Royal Saudi Air Force , is the aviation branch of the Saudi Arabian armed forces. The RSAF has developed from a largely defensive military force into one with an advanced offensive capability...

.
Encyclopedia
The English Electric Lightning is a supersonic jet fighter aircraft
Fighter aircraft
A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat with other aircraft, as opposed to a bomber, which is designed primarily to attack ground targets...

 of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 era, noted for its great speed and unpainted natural metal exterior finish. It is the only all-British Mach 2 fighter aircraft. The aircraft was renowned for its capabilities as an interceptor; Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 (RAF) pilots described it as "being saddled to a skyrocket". English Electric
English Electric
English Electric was a British industrial manufacturer. Founded in 1918, it initially specialised in industrial electric motors and transformers...

 was later incorporated into the British Aircraft Corporation
British Aircraft Corporation
The British Aircraft Corporation was a British aircraft manufacturer formed from the government-pressured merger of English Electric Aviation Ltd., Vickers-Armstrongs , the Bristol Aeroplane Company and Hunting Aircraft in 1960. Bristol, English Electric and Vickers became "parents" of BAC with...

, later marques being developed and produced as the BAC Lightning.

The Lightning was used throughout much of its service life by the RAF and the Royal Saudi Air Force
Royal Saudi Air Force
The Royal Saudi Air Force , is the aviation branch of the Saudi Arabian armed forces. The RSAF has developed from a largely defensive military force into one with an advanced offensive capability...

. The aircraft was a regular performer at airshow
Airshow
An air show is an event at which aviators display their flying skills and the capabilities of their aircraft to spectators in aerobatics. Air shows without aerobatic displays, having only aircraft displayed parked on the ground, are called "static air shows"....

s and was the first aircraft capable of supercruise
Supercruise
Supercruise is sustained supersonic flight of an aircraft with a useful cargo, passenger, or weapons load performed efficiently and without the use of afterburners ....

. The Lightning was also one of the highest-performance planes ever used in formation aerobatics. The Lightning aircraft is now largely retired to museums, but three examples flew until 2010 at "Thunder City
Thunder City
Thunder City is an aircraft operating and maintenance company based at the Cape Town International Airport in Cape Town, South Africa. It owns the largest civilian-owned collection of former military jet aircraft in the world...

" in Cape Town
Cape Town
Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa, and the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape. As the seat of the National Parliament, it is also the legislative capital of the country. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality...

, South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

.

Design and development

The specification for the aircraft followed the cancellation of the Air Ministry's 1942 E.24/43 supersonic research aircraft specification which had resulted in the Miles M.52
Miles M.52
The Miles M.52 was a turbojet powered supersonic research aircraft project designed in the United Kingdom in the mid 1940s. Design work was undertaken in secrecy between 1942 and 1945. In 1946 the Air Ministry prudently but controversially changed the project to a series of unmanned rocket-powered...

 programme. It was soon realised that the aircraft should be regarded as a prototype fighter to satisfy the British Air Ministry's 1949 specification F23/49 rather than being research aircraft. The Lightning design shared a number of innovations first planned for the Miles M.52 including the shock cone
Inlet cone
Inlet cones are a component of some supersonic aircraft. They are primarily used on ramjets, such as the turboramjets of the SR-71 or the pure ramjets of the D-21 Tagboard and Lockheed X-7...

 and all-moving tailplane or stabilator
Stabilator
A stabilator is an aircraft control surface that combines the functions of an elevator and a horizontal stabilizer...

. The prototypes, known as P.1, were built to Ministry of Supply
Ministry of Supply
The Ministry of Supply was a department of the UK Government formed in 1939 to co-ordinate the supply of equipment to all three British armed forces, headed by the Minister of Supply. There was, however, a separate ministry responsible for aircraft production and the Admiralty retained...

 Operational Requirement ER.103 of 1947 for a transonic
Transonic
Transonic speed is an aeronautics term referring to the condition of flight in which a range of velocities of airflow exist surrounding and flowing past an air vehicle or an airfoil that are concurrently below, at, and above the speed of sound in the range of Mach 0.8 to 1.2, i.e. 600–900 mph...

 research aircraft. The first of the two P.1s WG760
United Kingdom military aircraft serials
In the United Kingdom to identify individual aircraft, all military aircraft are allocated and display a unique serial number. A unified serial number system, maintained by the Air Ministry , and its successor the Ministry of Defence , is used for aircraft operated by the Royal Air Force , Fleet...

 flew for the first time from RAF Boscombe Down on 4 August 1954.

The P.1's chief designer was W.E.W "Teddy" Petter, formerly chief designer at Westland Aircraft
Westland Aircraft
Westland Aircraft was a British aircraft manufacturer located in Yeovil in Somerset. Formed as a separate company by separation from Petters Ltd just before the start of the Second World War, Westland had been building aircraft since 1915...

. The design was controversial, and the Short SB5
Short SB5
-See also:Related development:* English Electric LightningComparable aircraft:* Handley-Page HP.115* Saab 210-References:* "Empire Test Pilots' School: Twenty Five Years". Empire Test Pilots' School Twenty-fifth Anniversary brochure. 1968....

 was built to test wing sweep and tailplane combinations. The original combination was proved correct. The forerunner of the Lightning series was the P.1A and P.1B flying "proof-of-concept" aircraft. Looking very much like the production series, the prototypes were distinguished by the rounded-triangular intakes, short fins and lack of radar or operational equipment. Initial prototypes were powered by un-reheated
AfterBurner
The AfterBurner is a lighting solution for the Game Boy Advance system that was created by Triton-Labs.Originally, portablemonopoly.net was a website created to petition Nintendo to put some kind of light in their Game Boy Advance system...

 Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire turbojets, although the Rolls-Royce Avon
Rolls-Royce Avon
|-See also:-Bibliography:* Gunston, Bill. World Encyclopaedia of Aero Engines. Cambridge, England. Patrick Stephens Limited, 1989. ISBN 1-85260-163-9-External links:**** a 1955 Flight article on the development of the Avon...

 was used in subsequent aircraft.
On 25 November 1958, the P.1B became the first British aircraft to fly at Mach 2.

The P.1 and P.1A prototypes proved several unique features of the Lightning design: stacked/staggered engines, a notched delta wing, and a low-mounted tailplane. The most notable of these was the vertically stacked, longitudinally staggered engines. Faced with the conflicting needs of minimizing frontal area, providing undisturbed engine airflow across a wide speed range, and packaging two engines to provide sufficient thrust to meet performance goals, Petter conceived a configuration where twin engines were fed by a single nose inlet, the flow was split vertically aft of the cockpit, and the nozzles were closely stacked. This scheme effectively tucked one engine behind the cockpit. The result was a low frontal area, an efficient inlet, and excellent single-engine handling. Unfortunately, this stacked configuration also made engine maintenance difficult, and fluid leakage from the upper engine could cause fires.

The fuselage was tightly packed, leaving no room for fuel tankage or main landing gear. This left the wings. The notched delta wing did not have the volume of a standard delta, so space was a premium, and creative solutions were the rule. Each wing contained a somewhat conventional three-section main fuel tank and leading-edge tank, holding 312 gal,All fuel tank volumes are listed in Imperial gallons. but interestingly, the wing flap also contained a 33 gal fuel tank. An additional five gal was contained in a "recuperator"--used to ensure continued fuel flow during negative-g operation—bringing the aircraft's total internal fuel capacity to 700 gal (3,180 l). The main landing gear was sandwiched outboard of the main tanks and aft of the leading edge tanks, with the flap fuel tanks behind. The long main gear legs retracted toward the wingtip, necessitating an exceptionally thin main tyre inflated to high pressure (330–350 psi). Little volume was wasted, but even with all this creative packaging, the Lightning prototypes had a barely usable endurance
Combat endurance
Combat endurance is the time for which a military system can remain in combat before having to withdraw due to depleted resources. The definition is not precise; for example the combat endurance of an aircraft, without qualification, is usually the time the aircraft can remain at an altitude...

, tyre life was short, and heavy underwing stores could not be carried.

To increase the flexibility of the design, a conformal ventral store was added. This store took two forms: a rocket engine, and a fuel tank. The rocket engine store was to contain a Napier Double Scorpion motor and 200 gal of high-test peroxide (HTP) for oxidizer and to drive the rocket’s turbopump. Fuel for the rocket would have been drawn from the Lightning’s internal tankage. The rocket engine was intended to boost the Lightning’s performance against a supersonic, high altitude bomber threat, but in the end, this threat never emerged, and the Lightning’s basic performance was deemed sufficient to handle the current threat. The rocket engine store production was cancelled in 1958.

The ventral store did see wide use in the form of the fuel tank. The first version of this tank was jettisonable and held 250 gal (247 gal usable, 1,120 l). This tank was carried by all early Lightnings, and in practice was only removed for aircraft maintenance. Eventually, a non-jettisonable version was designed to further address the Lightning’s enduring fuel shortage, and this version was carried by later marks of Lightning.

The first operational Lightning, designated
British military aircraft designation systems
British military aircraft designations are used to refer to aircraft types and variants operated by the armed forces of the United Kingdom.Since the end of the First World War, aircraft types in British military service have generally been known by a name British military aircraft designations are...

 the F.1, was designed as a point defence interceptor to defend mainland Britain from bomber attack. To best perform this intercept mission, emphasis was placed on rate-of-climb, acceleration, and speed, rather than range and combat endurance
Combat endurance
Combat endurance is the time for which a military system can remain in combat before having to withdraw due to depleted resources. The definition is not precise; for example the combat endurance of an aircraft, without qualification, is usually the time the aircraft can remain at an altitude...

. It was equipped with two 30 mm Aden Cannon
ADEN cannon
The Royal Small Arms Factory ADEN is a 30 mm revolver cannon used on many military aircraft, particularly those of the British Royal Air Force and Fleet Air Arm...

 in front of the cockpit windscreen and an interchangeable fuselage weapon pack containing either an additional two ADEN cannon, 48, two inch air-to-air rockets, or two de Havilland Firestreak  air-to-air missile
Air-to-air missile
An air-to-air missile is a missile fired from an aircraft for the purpose of destroying another aircraft. AAMs are typically powered by one or more rocket motors, usually solid fuelled but sometimes liquid fuelled...

s, a heavy fit optimized for attack of large aircraft. The Ferranti A.I.23 radar supported autonomous search, automatic target tracking, and ranging for all weapons, while the pilot attack sight provided gyroscopically derived lead angle and back-up stadiametric ranging for gun firing. The radar and gunsight were collectively designated the AIRPASS: Airborne Interception Radar and Pilot Attack Sight System.

The next two Lightning variants, the F.1A and F.2, saw steady but relatively minor refinement of the basic design; however, the next variant, the F.3, was a major departure. The F.3 had higher thrust Avon 301R engines, a larger, squared-off fin and strengthened intake bullet allowing a service clearance to Mach 2.0 (the F.1, F.1A and F.2 were limited to Mach 1.7), the A.I.23B radar and Red Top missile offering a limited forward hemisphere attack capability—and most notoriously—deletion of the nose cannon. The new engines and fin made the F.3 the highest performance Lightning yet, but with an even higher fuel consumption and resulting shorter range. The next variant, the F.6, was already in development, but there was a need for an interim solution to partially address the F.3’s shortcomings. The F.3A was that interim solution.

The F.3A introduced two improvements: a new, non-jettisonable, 610 gal (2,770 l) ventral fuel tank, and a new, kinked, conically cambered wing leading edge—of course, incorporating a slightly larger leading edge fuel tank, raising the total usable internal fuel to 716 gal (3,250 l). The conically cambered wing noticeably improved maneuverability, especially at higher altitudes, and the ventral tank nearly doubled available fuel. The increased fuel was very welcome, but the lack of cannon armament was felt to be a deficiency. It was thought that cannon were desirable to fire warning shots in the intercept mission.

The F.6 was the ultimate Lightning version to see British service. Originally, it was nearly identical to the F.3A with the exception that it had provisions to carry 260 gal (1,180 l) ferry tanks on pylons over the wings. These tanks were jettisonable in an emergency, and gave the F.6 a substantially improved deployment capability. There remained one glaring shortcoming: the lack of cannon. This was finally rectified in the form of a modified ventral tank with two ADEN cannon in the front. The addition of the cannon and their ammunition decreased the tank's fuel capacity from 610 gal to 535 gal (2,430 l), but the cannon made the F.6 a “real fighter” again.

The final British Lightning was the F.2A. This was an F.2 upgraded with the cambered wing, the squared fin, and the 610 gal ventral. The F.2A retained the A.I.23 and Firestreak missile, the nose cannon, and the earlier Avon 211R engines. Although the F.2A lacked the thrust of the later Lightnings, it had the longest tactical range of all Lightning variants, and was used for low-altitude interception over Germany.

The F.53 was the “Export Lightning.” It was an attempt to add multi-role capability to the optimized point defense interceptor design. The F.53 was based on the F.6 airframe and avionics, but incorporated an additional pair of hardpoints on the outer wing. These hardpoints could be fitted with pylons for air-to-ground ordnance, though in practice, they were rarely used. The Export Lightning had all of the advantages of the British Lightnings: exceptional climb rate, well-mannered maneuvering, and a hard-hitting punch. Unfortunately, the Export Lightning also retained the difficulty of maintenance, and serviceability rates suffered. Still, the F.53 was generally well regarded by its pilots, and its adaptation to multiple roles is a testimony to the exceptional talent of its designers.

In 1963, BAC Warton worked on the preliminary design of a two-seat Lightning development with a variable-geometry wing, based on the Lightning T.5 with a revised undercarriage. Initially proposed as a carrier-based aircraft
Carrier-based aircraft
Carrier-based aircraft are military aircraft designed specifically for operations from aircraft carriers. The term is generally applied only to fixed-wing aircraft, as naval helicopters are able to operate from a wider variety of aviation-capable ships. Carrier-based aircraft must be relatively...

, the VG Lightning concept was revised into a land-based interceptor intended for the RAF the following year. However no VG Lightning was ever built.

In September 2008, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers
Institution of Mechanical Engineers
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers is the British engineering society based in central London, representing mechanical engineering. It is licensed by the Engineering Council UK to assess candidates for inclusion on ECUK's Register of professional Engineers...

 conferred on the Lightning its "Engineering Heritage Award". Former pilots and engineers, who were involved with the plane during the 1950s and 1960s, gathered at the BAE Systems
BAE Systems
BAE Systems plc is a British multinational defence, security and aerospace company headquartered in London, United Kingdom, that has global interests, particularly in North America through its subsidiary BAE Systems Inc. BAE is among the world's largest military contractors; in 2009 it was the...

 site at Warton Aerodrome
Warton Aerodrome
Warton Aerodrome is located near to Warton village on the Fylde in Lancashire, England. The aerodrome is west of Preston, Lancashire, UK.Today the airfield is a major assembly and testing facility of BAE Systems Military Air Solutions....

 to mark the engineering feat.

Operational history

The first operational aircraft, a pre-production P.1B (XG336
Serial number
A serial number is a unique number assigned for identification which varies from its successor or predecessor by a fixed discrete integer value...

), arrived at RAF Coltishall
RAF Coltishall
The former Royal Air Force Station Coltishall, more commonly known as RAF Coltishall , was a Royal Air Force station, a military airbase, North-North-East of Norwich, in the English county of Norfolk, East Anglia, from 1938 to 2006....

 in Norfolk
Norfolk
Norfolk is a low-lying county in the East of England. It has borders with Lincolnshire to the west, Cambridgeshire to the west and southwest and Suffolk to the south. Its northern and eastern boundaries are the North Sea coast and to the north-west the county is bordered by The Wash. The county...

 in December 1959. From 1960 the production F.1 served initially with 74 Squadron
No. 74 Squadron RAF
No. 74 Squadron RAF, also known as a "Tiger Squadron" from its tiger head motif, is a squadron of the Royal Air Force. It operated fighter aircraft from 1917 to the 1990s.-First World War:...

. An improved variant the F.2 first flew on 11 July 1961 and entered service with 19 Squadron at the end of 1962. The F.3 was first flown on 16 June 1962 and the longer-range F.6 on 16 June 1965. The versions sold to Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 were essentially similar to the T.5 and F.6 models in UK service and this final production batch reverted to the classic natural metal external finish which lasted well in the drier Arabian climate.

During the 1960s, as strategic awareness increased and a multitude of alternative fighter designs were developed by Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance , or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist states in Eastern Europe...

 and NATO members, the Lightning's range and firepower shortcomings became increasingly apparent. The withdrawal of McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom IIs from Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 service enabled these slower but much longer-ranged aircraft to be added to the RAF's interceptor force alongside those withdrawn from Germany which were being replaced by SEPECAT Jaguar
SEPECAT Jaguar
The SEPECAT Jaguar is an Anglo-French jet ground attack aircraft, originally used by the British Royal Air Force and the French Armée de l'Air in the close air support and nuclear strike role, and still in service with several export customers, notably the Indian Air Force and the Royal Air Force...

s in the ground attack role. Later the Tornado F3s also arrived to defend UK airspace. While slower and less agile than the Lightning, the Tornado carries a much larger armament load and much more advanced avionics
Avionics
Avionics are electronic systems used on aircraft, artificial satellites and spacecraft.Avionic systems include communications, navigation, the display and management of multiple systems and the hundreds of systems that are fitted to aircraft to meet individual roles...

. Lightnings were slowly phased out of service between 1974 and 1988, although much testing and modification was needed to keep them in air-worthy condition due to the high number of flight hours accumulated.
The English Electric Lightning is credited with a single kill, ironically a British aircraft – a Harrier pilot ejected and the pilot-less aircraft continued to fly. The order was given to shoot down the aircraft and the Lightning did.

In their final years of UK service all RAF Lightnings were based at RAF Binbrook
RAF Binbrook
RAF Binbrook was a Bomber Command station during World War II. After the war it was amongst others the home of the Central Fighter Establishment...

 in Lincolnshire
Lincolnshire
Lincolnshire is a county in the east of England. It borders Norfolk to the south east, Cambridgeshire to the south, Rutland to the south west, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire to the west, South Yorkshire to the north west, and the East Riding of Yorkshire to the north. It also borders...

 and many were camouflaged to make them less conspicuous when flying at low level. They tended to defend the Flamborough Head
Flamborough Head
Flamborough Head is a promontory of on the Yorkshire coast of England, between the Filey and Bridlington bays of the North Sea. It is a chalk headland, and the resistance it offers to coastal erosion may be contrasted with the low coast of Holderness to the south...

 Sector of airspace above the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

. These later aircraft were the single-seater F.3 and F.6 and the twin-seat trainer variant T.5, all constructed by British Aircraft Corporation and distinguished from earlier versions by their flat topped fins. In their last year of service their pilots regularly pushed the aircraft to their limits as they used up their remaining fatigue life.

Many Lightnings are conserved in museum collections where their clean sleek lines are evocative of the high speeds that they once attained. The Short SB5 and a P.1A are at the RAF Museum
RAF Museum
The Royal Air Force Museum London, commonly known as the RAF Museum, is a museum located on the former Hendon Aerodrome, dedicated to the history of aviation and the British Royal Air Force. The museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Ministry of Defence and a registered charity...

, Cosford. The Civil Aviation Authority refused a licence for the surviving airworthy examples to perform at air shows in the UK but there are three flying in South Africa (see Operators below).

Service in the Middle East: Saudi Arabia and Kuwait

In December 1965, due to its involvement in the North Yemen Civil War
North Yemen Civil War
The North Yemen Civil War was fought in North Yemen between royalists of the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen and factions of the Yemen Arab Republic from 1962 to 1970. The war began with a coup d'état carried out by the republican leader, Abdullah as-Sallal, which dethroned the newly crowned Imam...

 and resultant conflict with Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 ordered 35 Lightning F.53s and six T.55s as part of the "Magic Carpet" programme. As an interim measure, five Lightning F.52s (ex-RAF Lightning F.2s) plus two Lightning T.54s (ex-RAF Lightning T.4s) were delivered to Saudi Arabia in July 1966, as well as a pre-production Lightning F.1 for ground instructional use. From 1967 the Lightning F.53s operated from the Khamis
Khamis Mushait
Khamis Mushait is a city in south-west Saudi Arabia, located 35 minutes east of Abha, the provincial seat of the Asir province. It is the capital of the Shahran Tribe. Until the 1970s Khamis Mushait was a small town of less than 50,000 servicing the surrounding mild-climate agricultural region...

 base, served by radars based at Usram. The last Lightning was delivered in 1972, during Magic Carpet phase IV. Only one plane was lost to enemy fire; it was shot down by ground fire over Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

 on 3 May 1970, just before peace was declared.

Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

 also ordered 14 Lightnings in December 1966, comprising 12 F.53Ks and two T.55Ks. The Kuwaitis somewhat overestimated their ability to maintain such a complex aircraft, and the Lightnings were phased out of service very quickly; the last ones were replaced by Dassault Mirage F1
Dassault Mirage F1
The Dassault Mirage F1 is a French air-superiority fighter and attack aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation as a successor of the Mirage III family. The Mirage F1 entered service in the French Air Force in the early seventies...

s in 1977. Thanks to this mistake, Kuwait is one of the countries richest in Lightnings on static display; according to Intelligence
Intelligence (information gathering)
Intelligence assessment is the development of forecasts of behaviour or recommended courses of action to the leadership of an organization, based on a wide range of available information sources both overt and covert. Assessments are developed in response to requirements declared by the leadership...

 sources, the Al Jaber air base has three Lightnings on display. A Lightning is also currently on display at Ali Al Salem Air Base
Ali Al Salem Air Base
Ali Al Salem Air Base is a military airbase situated in Kuwait, approximately 23 miles from the Iraqi border. The airfield is owned by the Government of Kuwait, and during Operation Southern Watch and Operation Telic / Operation Iraqi Freedom hosted Royal Air Force , United States Air Force and...

 outside the Kuwaiti Headquarters building.

Performance

Speed

The maximum speed of the Lightning varied with the model. The early models, the F.1, F.1A, and F.2, had a rated top speed of Mach 1.7 at 36,000 ft in an ICAO standard atmosphere, and 650 KIAS
Indicated airspeed
Indicated airspeed is the airspeed read directly from the airspeed indicator on an aircraft, driven by the pitot-static system. IAS is directly related to calibrated airspeed , which is the IAS corrected for instrument and installation errors....

 (Knots Indicated Airspeed) at lower altitudes. The later models, the F.2A, F.3, F.3A, F.6, and F.53, had a rated top speed of Mach 2.0 at 36,000 ft, and speeds up to 700 KIAS for “operational necessity only.” These were service limits, and were exceeded on occasion, but when the bases for these limits are understood, some of the “Lightning lore” associated with higher speeds can be placed into perspective.

The first basis for these limits was excess thrust. With the Avon 200-series engines, an early model Lightning with a ventral tank and two Firestreak missiles would run out of excess thrust at Mach 1.9 on a Standard Day
Standard day
The term standard day is used throughout meteorology, aviation, and other sciences and disciplines as a way of defining certain properties of the atmosphere in a manner which allows those who use our atmosphere to effectively calculate and communicate its properties at any given time...

. With the Avon 300-series engines, a Lightning with a ventral tank and two Red Top missiles would run out of excess thrust at Mach 2.0 on a Standard Day. As excess thrust decreases toward zero, acceleration slows, and fuel to achieve the last few tenths of a Mach could be prohibitive.

Another basis was aerodynamic stability. As Mach number increases, directional stability decreases. This decrease in stability can become critical with asymmetric missile carriage or adverse yaw induced by aileron deflection. Failure of the vertical fin could occur if yaw is not rapidly corrected with the rudder. Stability degradation led to the imposition of Mach limits on missile launch and to the adoption of a larger vertical fin on later Lightning variants to provide more stability margin at high Mach numbers.

Inlet stability was also an issue as Mach number increased. At supersonic speed, the central shock cone served as a compression surface to divert air into the annular inlet. The cone would generate an oblique shock, and the angle of this shock would increase with Mach number. As the Lightning accelerated through Mach 1, the oblique shock would be positioned in front of the intake lip. This is termed a subcritical inlet condition, and although not efficient, it is stable. In a sub-critical inlet, some portion of the compressed air is diverted outside of the inlet lip, causing spillage drag. When Mach number reached the Design Mach number, the oblique shock would be positioned just in front of the inlet lip. This critical inlet condition is the most efficient, compressing all of the air in front of the inlet with no spillage. As Mach number increases beyond Design Mach, the oblique shock enters the inlet, a condition termed supercritical. In a super-critical condition, the airflow in the inlet duct becomes supersonic. The Lightning’s inlet was designed to handle only subsonic air in the duct, and a super-critical condition would reverse the normal pressure distribution, causing an adverse pressure gradient across the engines. This adverse gradient could lead to engine surge, also called compressor stall, potentially resulting in flameout and/or engine damage. In any case, if the Lightning’s inlet went supercritical, engine thrust would be drastically reduced.

A supercritical condition could be delayed by translating the shock cone forward with increasing Mach, thus holding the oblique shock ahead of the inlet lip. The goal would be to delay shock ingestion to a Mach number above the speed range of the aircraft. The Lightning’s nose bullet was fixed, however, so a supercritical condition was inevitable if excess thrust enabled the aircraft speed to exceed the inlet’s Design Mach.

The final bases for the service limits were thermal and structural. When air is compressed by the passage of a high-speed aircraft, that air is heated. This heating increases considerably when the aircraft is traveling at supersonic speed. The front of the aircraft is exposed to the heated air, and the heat is convectively transferred to the airframe. The hottest portion of the aircraft is the nose tip, and in the Lightning’s case, this tip, the inlet shock cone, was constructed of fiberglass. Fiberglass was necessary because the shock cone was also the Lightning’s radome, and a metal shock cone would not pass the AI 23’s radar energy.

At supersonic speed, the Lightning’s shock cone would be heated, weakening the resin in the fiberglass, and exposing the material to fatigue with the thermal cycles of repetitive high-speed flights. At 36,000 ft and Mach 1.7, the heating conditions on the shock cone would be almost identical to those at Sea Level and 650 KIAS,On a standard day, the temperature of the air at the tip of the shock cone (stagnation temperature) was 156 deg F (68.7 deg C) at Mach 1.7 and 36,000 ft. At Sea Level and 650 KIAS, this temperature was 151 deg F (70.6 deg C). but if the speed were increased to Mach 2.0 at 36,000 ft, the shock cone would be exposed to temperatures more than 70% higherThis percentage relates to the approximate increase in deg F/C. At Mach 2.0, the stagnation temperature would be 242 deg F, an increase of 78%, or 117 deg C, an increase of 70%. The reason for the different percentage is because the actual temperature increase is in terms of absolute temperatures, using the Rankine or Kelvin scales. The percent increase in absolute temperature is identical, in English or SI units. than those at Mach 1.7. This increase dictated a strengthening of the shock cone to support regular use at speeds up to Mach 2.0 in the Lightning F.2A, F.3, F.6, and F.53. If the shock cone failed in flight, it could result in pressurization lossThe nose bullet containing the radar was pressurized to prevent arcing of the high voltage components of the radar. or, worse, foreign object ingestion and engine damage.

With the bases for the Lightning’s service limits considered, it is apparent that these limits reasonably accurately reflect the performance of the aircraft itself. The small-fin variants could certainly exceed Mach 1.7, but the stability limits and shock cone thermal/strength limits would make such operation risky. The large-fin variants, especially those equipped with Avon 300-series engines could safely reach Mach 2, and given the right atmospheric conditions, might even achieve a few more tenths of a Mach. It is noteworthy, however, that the same cold conditions that might provide the excess thrust to achieve higher Mach numbers would also decrease the true airspeed at which the airframe and inlet could become unstable.

All variants of Lightning had the excess thrust to slightly exceed 700 KIAS under certain conditions, and the service limit of 650 KIAS was occasionally ignored, even when not driven by operational necessity. With the strengthened shock cone, the large-tail Lightning variants could safely approach their thrust limit, but fuel burn at high indicated airspeeds was prodigious, and the Lightning might very well run short before eking-out the last few knots. In all variants of the Lightning, the airspeed indicator scale stopped at 700 KIAS.

Climb

The Lightning possessed a remarkable climb rate, and its time to reach an altitude, or time-to-climb, was exceptional. To achieve this short time-to-climb, Lightnings employed a particular climb profile, which was more shallow in angle compared to that demonstrated at air shows. The Lightning was famous for its ability to rapidly rotate at the end of the runway and climb almost vertically away, but although this near-vertical climb was impressive, it did not yield the best time to altitude, nor was it a demonstration of the ability to sustain a vertical climb. When Lightning pilots performed their trademark tail-stand, they were actually trading airspeed for altitude. The Lightnings would seemingly zoom “out of sight,” accelerating away, when in fact they would slow to near stall before pushing over into level flight. During the optimum time-to-climb profile, the maximum climb angle never exceeded 30 degrees.

The Lightning’s optimum climb profile began with an afterburner takeoff. Immediately after takeoff, the landing gear would be retracted and the nose held down to allow rapid acceleration to 430 KIAS, then a climb initiated and stabilized at 450 KIAS. At this IAS, the climb rate would be constant at approximately 20,000 ft/min.,(Indicated airspeed is a function of true air airspeed and air density.), As air density decreases with altitude, true airspeed must increase to maintain a constant indicated airspeed. The Lightning would therefore accelerate in forward velocity during the constant-IAS climb, and the climb angle would lessen from about 27 deg to 19 deg at 13,000 ft. The Lightning would reach Mach 0.87 at 13,000 ft. The pilot would then maintain Mach 0.87 until the tropopause
Tropopause
The tropopause is the atmospheric boundary between the troposphere and the stratosphere.-Definition:Going upward from the surface, it is the point where air ceases to cool with height, and becomes almost completely dry...

, 36,000 ft. on a standard day. The climb rate would decrease during the constant-Mach portion of the profile.Climbing at a constant Mach 0.87, the Lightning would gradually slow from 550 KTAS to 500 KTAS, and the indicated airspeed would decrease from 450 KIAS to about 270 KIAS. Both effects would decrease specific excess thrust and climb rate. If further climb were required, the Lightning would accelerate to supersonic speed at the tropopause prior to resuming the climb at supersonic speed.

A Lightning flying its optimum climb profile would reach 36,000 ft less than 3 minutes after brake release. This was—and is—impressive performance. That the Lightning never reached the climb rates of some of its contemporaries during this profile was not important; that it reached altitude quickly, was.

The official ceiling was a secret to the general public and low security RAF documents simply stated 60,000+ ft (18 000+ m), although it was well known within the RAF to be capable of much greater heights; the official maximum altitude mainly being determined by cockpit pressurisation reliability and safety. In September 1962 Fighter Command
RAF Fighter Command
RAF Fighter Command was one of three functional commands of the Royal Air Force. It was formed in 1936 to allow more specialised control of fighter aircraft. It served throughout the Second World War, gaining recognition in the Battle of Britain. The Command continued until 17 November 1943, when...

 organized a series of trial supersonic overland interceptions of Lockheed U-2A
Lockheed U-2
The Lockheed U-2, nicknamed "Dragon Lady", is a single-engine, very high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft operated by the United States Air Force and previously flown by the Central Intelligence Agency . It provides day and night, very high-altitude , all-weather intelligence gathering...

s, temporarily based at RAF Upper Heyford
RAF Upper Heyford
RAF Upper Heyford was a Royal Air Force station located north-west of Bicester near the village of Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire, England. The base was brought into use for flying in July 1918 by the Royal Flying Corps. During World War II it was used by many units of the RAF, mainly as a training...

 to monitor resumed Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 nuclear tests, at heights of around 60,000-65,000 ft. The trials took place in two stages, the second series consisting of 14 interceptions, including four successful and four abortive ones at 65,000. The late Brian Carroll, a former RAF Lightning pilot and ex-Lightning Chief Examiner, reported taking a Lightning F.53 up to 87,300 feet (26 600 m) over Saudi Arabia at which level "Earth curvature was visible and the sky was quite dark" but control-wise it was "on a knife edge".

In 1984, during a major NATO exercise, Flt Lt Mike Hale intercepted an American U-2
Lockheed U-2
The Lockheed U-2, nicknamed "Dragon Lady", is a single-engine, very high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft operated by the United States Air Force and previously flown by the Central Intelligence Agency . It provides day and night, very high-altitude , all-weather intelligence gathering...

 at a height which they had previously considered safe from interception. Records show that Hale climbed to 88,000 ft (26,800 m) in his Lightning F.3 XR749. This was not sustained level flight, but in a ballistic climb or a zoom climb, in which the pilot takes the aircraft to top speed and then puts the aircraft into a climb, trading speed for altitude. The normal service ceiling for this aircraft was 60,000 feet in level flight. Hale also participated in time-to-height and acceleration trials against F-104 Starfighter
F-104 Starfighter
The Lockheed F-104 Starfighter is a single-engine, high-performance, supersonic interceptor aircraft originally developed for the United States Air Force by Lockheed. One of the Century Series of aircraft, it served with the USAF from 1958 until 1969, and continued with Air National Guard units...

s from Aalborg
Aalborg
-Transport:On the north side of the Limfjord is Nørresundby, which is connected to Aalborg by a road bridge Limfjordsbroen, an iron railway bridge Jernbanebroen over Limfjorden, as well as a motorway tunnel running under the Limfjord Limfjordstunnelen....

. He reports that the Lightnings won all races easily with the exception of the low-level supersonic acceleration, which was a "dead heat".

Carroll reports in a side-by-side comparison of the Lightning and the F-15C Eagle (which he also flew) that "acceleration in both was impressive, you have all seen the Lightning leap away once brakes are released, the Eagle was almost as good, and climb speed was rapidly achieved. Takeoff roll is between 2,000 and 3,000 ft [600 to 900 m], depending upon military or maximum afterburner-powered takeoff. The Lightning was quicker off the ground, reaching 50 ft [15 m] height in a horizontal distance of 1,630 feet [500m]".

In British Airways
British Airways
British Airways is the flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom, based in Waterside, near its main hub at London Heathrow Airport. British Airways is the largest airline in the UK based on fleet size, international flights and international destinations...

 trials in April 1985, Concorde
Concorde
Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde was a turbojet-powered supersonic passenger airliner, a supersonic transport . It was a product of an Anglo-French government treaty, combining the manufacturing efforts of Aérospatiale and the British Aircraft Corporation...

 was offered as a target to NATO fighters including F-15 Eagles, F-16 Fighting Falcons, F-14 Tomcats, Mirage
Mirage (aircraft)
Mirage is the name of a series of delta-winged fighters and bombers that have been produced by the French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation, flown by the French Air Force, and widely exported to foreign counties.* Dassault Mirage III...

s, F-104 Starfighters - but only Lightning XR749, flown by Mike Hale and described by him as "a very hot ship, even for a Lightning", managed to overtake Concorde on a stern conversion intercept. The XR749 now resides at the entrance of Score Group plc
Score Group plc
Score Group plc is an international engineering business based in Peterhead . It was founded by chairman Charles Ritchie in 1982. Headquarters of the organisation are in Peterhead, Scotland...

's gas turbine testing and servicing facility in Peterhead
Peterhead
Peterhead is a town in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It is Aberdeenshire's biggest settlement , with a population of 17,947 at the 2001 Census and estimated to have fallen to 17,330 by 2006....

, Scotland.

Despite its acceleration, altitude and top speed, the Lightning found itself outclassed by newer fighters in terms of radar, avionics, weapons load, range, and air-to-air capability. More of a problem was the obsolete avionics and weapons fit, particularly the 30 mile (very short) range 1950s radar sets: the avionics were never upgraded in RAF service, since the Lightning was always supposedly just about to be replaced by something better.

Roland Beamont
Roland Beamont
Wing Commander Roland Prosper "Bee" Beamont CBE, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar was a British fighter pilot and test pilot for the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, and the years that followed...

 (Lightning development-programme chief test pilot), after flying most of the second-generation "Century series" US fighters of that era, made it clear that in his opinion, nothing at that time had the inherent stability and control and docile handling characteristics of the P 1 series prototypes and Lightning derivatives throughout the full flight envelope. Its turn performance and buffet boundaries were well in advance of anything known to him, the Mirage III included. This remained so right up until the next generation of fighter/interceptors was developed worldwide, with underbelly intakes and straked leading edges, or canards
Canard (aeronautics)
In aeronautics, canard is an airframe configuration of fixed-wing aircraft in which the forward surface is smaller than the rearward, the former being known as the "canard", while the latter is the main wing...

.

Variants


English Electric P.1A
  • Single-seat supersonic research aircraft.
  • Two prototypes built and one static test airframe


English Electric P.1B
  • Single-seat operational prototypes to meet Specification F23/49.
  • Three prototypes built
  • 20 development aircraft ordered in February 1954, (so-called pre-production or development batch) Type was officially named 'Lightning' in October 1958.


Lightning F.1
  • Single-seat fighter
  • Delivered in 1960
  • A total of 19 built (and one static test airframe)
  • Two × Rolls-Royce Avon
    Rolls-Royce Avon
    |-See also:-Bibliography:* Gunston, Bill. World Encyclopaedia of Aero Engines. Cambridge, England. Patrick Stephens Limited, 1989. ISBN 1-85260-163-9-External links:**** a 1955 Flight article on the development of the Avon...

     200R engines
  • VHF Radio
  • Two × 30 mm ADEN cannon
    ADEN cannon
    The Royal Small Arms Factory ADEN is a 30 mm revolver cannon used on many military aircraft, particularly those of the British Royal Air Force and Fleet Air Arm...

    s in nose
  • Two × Firestreak missiles
  • Ferranti
    Ferranti
    Ferranti or Ferranti International plc was a UK electrical engineering and equipment firm that operated for over a century from 1885 until it went bankrupt in 1993. Known primarily for defence electronics, the Company was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index but ceased trading in 1993.The...

     AI-23 "AIRPASS" radar


Lightning F.1A
  • Single-seat fighter
  • Delivered in 1961
  • Now the "BAC Lightning"
  • Avon 210R engines
  • Addition of in-flight refuelling probe
  • UHF Radio
  • A total of 28 built


Lightning F.2
  • Single-seat fighter (an improved variant of the F.1)
  • Delivered in 1962
  • A total of 44 built with 31 later modified to F.2A standard
  • Five later modified to F.52 for export to Saudi Arabia


Lightning F.2A
  • Single-seat fighter (F.2s upgraded to near F.6 standard)
  • A total of 31 converted from F.2
  • Avon 211R engines
  • Retained ADEN cannon and Firestreak of F.2 (The Firestreak Pack could be replaced with an Aden Cannon Pack to give the aircraft four Aden Cannon)
  • Larger Ventral Tank and Arrester Hook
  • About two hours endurance


Lightning F.3
  • Single-seat fighter
  • Upgraded radar - AI-23B
  • Avon 301R engines
  • Firestreak changed for Red Top
    Hawker Siddeley Red Top
    The Hawker Siddeley Red Top was the third indigenous British air-to-air missile to enter service, following the de Havilland Firestreak and limited-service Fairey Fireflash.-Development:...

     missiles
  • Enlarged and clipped tailfin due to aerodynamics of carriage of Red Top
  • ADEN cannon removed
  • A total of 70 built (at least nine were converted to F.6 standard)


Lightning F.3A
  • Single-seat fighter
  • Extended range, 800 miles with large ventral tank
  • New cambered wings
  • A total of 16 built at the end of F.3 production, known also as an F.3 Interim version or F.6 Interim Version
  • A total of 15 modified later to full F.6 standard


Lightning T.4
  • Two-seat side-by-side training version, based on the F.1A.
  • Two prototypes and 20 production built
  • Two aircraft later converted to T.5 prototypes
  • Two aircraft later converted to T.54


Lightning T.5
  • Two-seat side-by-side training version, based on the F.3.
  • 22 production aircraft built
  • One former RAF aircraft later converted to T.55 for Saudi Arabia (crashed before delivery)
  • Two former RAF aircraft later civilian operated


Lightning F.6
  • Single-seat fighter (an improved longer-range variant of the F.3)
  • New wings with better efficiency and subsonic performance, increased fuel storage
  • Overwing fuel tanks and larger ventral fuel tank
  • Change back to 30 mm cannons (initially no cannons but later in the forward part of ventral pack rather than in nose).
  • Two x Red Top
    Hawker Siddeley Red Top
    The Hawker Siddeley Red Top was the third indigenous British air-to-air missile to enter service, following the de Havilland Firestreak and limited-service Fairey Fireflash.-Development:...

     missile
  • A total of 39 built (also 9 converted from F.3 and 15 from F.3A)


Lightning F.52
  • Slightly modified ex-RAF F.2 single-seat fighters for export to Saudi Arabia (five converted).


Lightning F.53
  • Export version of the F.6 with pylons for bombs or unguided rocket pods, 44 × 2 in (50 mm)
  • A total of 46 built and one converted from F.6 (12 F.53Ks for the Kuwaiti Air Force, 34 F.53s for the Royal Saudi Arabian Air Force, one aircraft crashed before delivery)
  • Used air-to-ground in dispute near border with South Yemen in 1969 with great success


Lightning T.54
  • Ex-RAF T.4 two-seat trainers supplied to Saudi Arabia (two converted).


Lightning T.55
  • Two-seat side-by-side training aircraft (export version of the T.5).
  • Eight built (six T.55s for the Royal Saudi Arabian Air Force, two T.55Ks for the Kuwaiti Air Force and one converted from T.5 that crashed before delivery)


Sea Lightning FAW.1
  • Proposed two-seat Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm carrier capable variant with variable-geometry wing; not built.


Total production was 277 single-seat fighters and 52 two-seater trainers, including RAF and export aircraft.

Military operators

  • Kuwait Air Force
    Kuwait Air Force
    The Kuwait Air Force is the air arm of the State of Kuwait. The Air Force headquarters is located at Al Mubarak Air Base, with the remaining forces stationed at Air Defence Brigade, Ali Al Salem Air Base and Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base...

     operated both the F.53K (12) single-seat fighter and the T.55K (2) training version from 1968 to 1977


  • Royal Saudi Air Force
    Royal Saudi Air Force
    The Royal Saudi Air Force , is the aviation branch of the Saudi Arabian armed forces. The RSAF has developed from a largely defensive military force into one with an advanced offensive capability...

     operated the Lightning from 1967 to 1986
    • RSAF Squadrons
      • 2 Squadron operated the F.53 and T.55
      • 6 Squadron operated the F.52 and F.53
      • 13 Squadron operated the F.52, F.53 and T.55
      • RSAF Lightning Conversion Unit


  • Royal Air Force
    Royal Air Force
    The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

     operated the Lightning from 1959 to 1988.
    • RAF Aerial display teams
      • The Tigers of No 74 Squadron. Lead RAF aerial display team from 1962 and first display team with Mach 2 aircraft.
      • The Firebirds of No 56 Squadron from 1963 in red and silver.
    • RAF Squadrons
      • 5 Squadron
        No. 5 Squadron RAF
        No. 5 Squadron of the Royal Air Force is the operator of the new Sentinel R1 Airborne STand-Off Radar aircraft and is based at RAF Waddington.-History:As No...

         operated the F.1A and F.6 (1965–1987)
      • 11 Squadron operated the F.3 and F.6 (1967–1988)
      • 19 Squadron operated the F.2 and F.2A (1962–1976)
      • 23 Squadron
        No. 23 Squadron RAF
        No. 23 Squadron was a squadron of the Royal Air Force. Until October 2009, it operated the Boeing Sentry AEW1 Airborne Warning And Control System aircraft from RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire.-First World War:...

         operated the F.3 an F.6 (1964–1975)
      • 29 Squadron
        No. 29 Squadron RAF
        No. 29 Squadron of the Royal Air Force was first raised in 1915, and is one of the world's oldest fighter squadrons. The second British squadron to receive the Eurofighter Typhoon, it is currently the Operational Conversion Unit for the RAF's newest fighter.-Service in World War I:This unit was...

         operated the F.3 (1967–1974)
      • 56 Squadron
        No. 56 Squadron RAF
        Number 56 Squadron is one of the oldest and most successful squadrons of the Royal Air Force, with battle honours from many of the significant air campaigns of both World War I and World War II...

         operated the F.1, F.1A, F.3 and F.6 (1960–1976)
      • 65 Squadron
        No. 65 Squadron RAF
        No. 65 Squadron was a squadron of the Royal Air Force.-World War I:The squadron was first formed at Wyton on 1 August 1916 as a squadron of the Royal Flying Corps with a core provided from the training ground at Norwich. By the end of World War I, it had claimed over 200 victories...

         operated as No. 226 OCU with the F.1, F.1A and F.3 (1971–1974)
      • 74 Squadron
        No. 74 Squadron RAF
        No. 74 Squadron RAF, also known as a "Tiger Squadron" from its tiger head motif, is a squadron of the Royal Air Force. It operated fighter aircraft from 1917 to the 1990s.-First World War:...

         operated the F.1, F.3 and F.6 (1960–1971)
      • 92 Squadron
        No. 92 Squadron RAF
        No. 92 Squadron, also known as No 92 Squadron, of the Royal Air Force was formed as part of the Royal Flying Corps at London Colney as a fighter squadron on 1 September 1917. It deployed to France in July 1918 and saw action for just four months, until the end of the war. During the conflict it...

         operated the F.2 and F.2A (1963–1977)
      • 111 Squadron
        No. 111 Squadron RAF
        No. 111 Squadron of the Royal Air Force operated the Panavia Tornado F3 from RAF Leuchars, Scotland until March 2011, when the squadron was disbanded, ending the Tornado F3's RAF service.-In World War I:...

         operated the F.1A, F.3 and F.6 (1961–1974)
      • 145 Squadron
        No. 145 Squadron RAF
        No. 145 Squadron was a Royal Air Force squadron that operated during World War I, World War II and the Cold War. Its motto was Diu noctuque pugnamus .-History:...

         operated as No. 226 OCU with the F.1, F.1A and F.3 (1963–1971)
      • 226 Operational Conversion Unit operated the F.1A, F.3, T.4 and T.5 (1963–1974)
      • Air Fighting Development Squadron
      • Lightning Conversion Squadron (1960–1963)
    • RAF Flights
      • Binbrook Target Facilities Flight (1966–1973)
      • Leuchars Target Facilities Flight (1966–1973)
      • Wattisham Target Facilities Flight (1966–1973)
      • Lightning Training Flight (1975–1987)
    • RAF Bases
      • RAF Akrotiri
        RAF Akrotiri
        Royal Air Force Station Akrotiri, more commonly known as RAF Akrotiri , is a large Royal Air Force station, on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. It is located in the Western Sovereign Base Area, one of two areas which comprise Akrotiri and Dhekelia, a British Overseas Territory, administered as a...

      • RAF Binbrook
        RAF Binbrook
        RAF Binbrook was a Bomber Command station during World War II. After the war it was amongst others the home of the Central Fighter Establishment...

      • RAF Coltishall
        RAF Coltishall
        The former Royal Air Force Station Coltishall, more commonly known as RAF Coltishall , was a Royal Air Force station, a military airbase, North-North-East of Norwich, in the English county of Norfolk, East Anglia, from 1938 to 2006....

      • RAF Geilenkirchen
        RAF Geilenkirchen
        The former Royal Air Force Station Geilenkirchen, more commonly known as RAF Geilenkirchen, was a Royal Air Force military air field in the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany, built by the British who used the facility mainly as an airfield for RAF fighter squadrons from May 1953 until 21...

      • RAF Gütersloh
        RAF Gütersloh
        The former Royal Air Force Station Gütersloh, more commonly known as RAF Gütersloh, was a Royal Air Force Germany military airbase, the nearest Royal Air Force airbase to the East/West German border, in the vicinity of the town of Gütersloh. It was constructed by the Germans prior to World War II...

      • RAF Leconfield
        RAF Leconfield
        The former RAF Leconfield, or 'Leconfield Camp' was a Royal Air Force airbase in Leconfield , East Riding of Yorkshire, England. The site is now used by the MoD Defence School of Transport Leconfield .-History:...

      • RAF Middleton St. George
        RAF Middleton St. George
        RAF Middleton St. George was a Royal Air Force Bomber Command station during World War II. It was located in County Durham, five miles east of Darlington, England....

      • RAF Leuchars
        RAF Leuchars
        RAF Leuchars is the most northerly air defence station in the United Kingdom. It is located in Leuchars, Fife, on the east coast of Scotland, near to the university town of St Andrews.-Operations:...

      • RAF Tengah
      • RAF Wattisham
        RAF Wattisham
        RAF Wattisham was a Royal Air Force station located in East Anglia just outside the village of Wattisham, south of Stowmarket in Suffolk, England. During the Cold War it was a major front-line air force base...


Civil operators

  • Thunder City
    Thunder City
    Thunder City is an aircraft operating and maintenance company based at the Cape Town International Airport in Cape Town, South Africa. It owns the largest civilian-owned collection of former military jet aircraft in the world...

    , a private company based at Cape Town International Airport
    Cape Town International Airport
    Cape Town International Airport is the primary airport serving the city of Cape Town, and is the second busiest airport in South Africa and third busiest in Africa. Located approximately from the city centre, the airport was opened in 1954 to replace Cape Town's previous airport in the suburb of...

    , South Africa
    South Africa
    The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

     operated one Lightning T.5 and two single-seat F.6 (but is no longer in business, current January 2011).


A Lightning T.5, XS451 (civil registration ZU-BEX) belonging to Thunder City crashed after developing mechanical problems during its display at the biennial South African Air Force
South African Air Force
The South African Air Force is the air force of South Africa, with headquarters in Pretoria. It is the world's second oldest independent air force, and its motto is Per Aspera Ad Astra...

 Overberg Airshow held at AFB Overberg
AFB Overberg
AFB Overberg is an airbase of the South African Air Force and is the host of the 525 squadron and the Test Flight and Development Centre. It is placed under command of the Air Office in Pretoria, Gauteng....

 near Bredasdorp
Bredasdorp
Bredasdorp is a town in the Southern Overberg region of the Western Cape, South Africa, and the main economic and service hub of that region. It lies on the northern edge of the Agulhas Plain, about south-east of Cape Town and north of Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa.-History:The...

 on 14 November 2009. The Silver Falcons
Silver Falcons
The Silver Falcons is the aerobatic display team of the South African Air Force. Based at Air Force Base Langebaanweg near Cape Town, the Silver Falcons fly the Pilatus PC-7 Mk II Astra, the basic trainer of the SA Air Force in a 5-ship routine...

, the SA Air Force's official aerobatic team, flew a missing man formation
Missing man formation
The missing man formation is an aerial salute performed as part of a flyover of aircraft at a funeral or memorial event, typically in memory of a fallen pilot. The missing man formation is often called "the missing man flyby"...

 after it was announced that the pilot, Dave Stock, had died in the crash.

This aircraft was also shown and flown in the BBC's "Wonders of the Solar System : The Thin Blue Line" originally run 7 March 2010 – 4 April 2010, where host Brian Cox
Brian Cox (physicist)
Brian Edward Cox, OBE , is a British particle physicist, a Royal Society University Research Fellow and a professor at the University of Manchester. He is a member of the High Energy Physics group at the University of Manchester, and works on the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at...

 is flown by pilot and Thunder City owner, Mike Beachy Head to an altitude between 55 and 60 thousand feet where the atmosphere could be observed transitioning from light blue to dark blue to black in the middle of the day.

  • The Anglo American Lightning Organisation, a group based at Stennis Airport, Kiln, Mississippi
    Kiln, Mississippi
    Kiln is a census-designated place in Hancock County, Mississippi, United States. It is part of the Gulfport–Biloxi, Mississippi Metropolitan Statistical Area...

    , are returning to flight EE Lighting T.5, XS422. The aircraft was formerly with the Empire Test Pilots' School
    Empire Test Pilots' School
    The Empire Test Pilots' School is a British training school for test pilots and flight test engineers of fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft at MoD Boscombe Down in Wiltshire, England. It was established in 1943, the first of its type...

     (ETPS) at Boscombe Down
    MoD Boscombe Down
    MoD Boscombe Down is an aircraft testing site located at Idmiston, south of Amesbury, in Wiltshire, England. It is run and managed by QinetiQ, the company created as part of the breakup of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency in 2001 by the UK Ministry of Defence...

     in Wiltshire, UK.

Aircraft on display

The following aircraft are on public display:
  • WG760 P.1A at the RAF Museum Cosford, England
  • WG763 P.1A at the Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester, England
  • XG329 Lightning F.1/3 at the Norfolk & Suffolk Aviation Museum, Flixton, England
  • XG337 Lightning F.1/3 at the RAF Museum Cosford, England.
  • XM135 Lightning F.1 at the Imperial War Museum Duxford
    Imperial War Museum Duxford
    Imperial War Museum Duxford is a branch of the Imperial War Museum near the village of Duxford in Cambridgeshire, England. Britain's largest aviation museum, Duxford houses the museum's large exhibits, including nearly 200 aircraft, military vehicles, artillery and minor naval vessels in seven...

    , England.
  • XM192 Lightning F.1 at the [Thorpe Camp preservation Group], Tattershall Thorpe, Linc, England
  • XN730 Lightning F.2A at the Luftwaffe Museum, Gatow, Germany
  • XN769 Lightning F.2A at the Malta Aviation Museum, Ta'qali
    Ta'Qali
    Ta' Qali is a village in Malta, a wide open space in the middle of Malta containing the national stadium, Ta' Qali National Park and a national vegetable market which is locally known as the Pitkalija....

    , Malta
  • XN776 Lightning F.2A at the National Museum of Flight, East Fortune, Scotland.
  • XN782 Lightning F.2A at the Luftfahrtausstellung Museum, Hermeskeil, Germany.
  • XR728 Lightning F.6 with LPG, Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome
    Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome
    Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome and Proving Ground is a privately owned airport in Leicestershire near the village of Bruntingthorpe. It was opened as RAF Bruntingthorpe in 1942.- United States Air Force use:...

    , Leicestershire, England (taxi-able).
  • XR749 Lightning F.3 outside Score Group
    Score Group plc
    Score Group plc is an international engineering business based in Peterhead . It was founded by chairman Charles Ritchie in 1982. Headquarters of the organisation are in Peterhead, Scotland...

    's Integrated Valve and Gas Turbine Plant, Peterhead
    Peterhead
    Peterhead is a town in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It is Aberdeenshire's biggest settlement , with a population of 17,947 at the 2001 Census and estimated to have fallen to 17,330 by 2006....

    , Scotland.
  • XR771 Lightning F.6 at the Midland Air Museum
    Midland Air Museum
    The Midland Air Museum is situated just outside the village of Baginton in Warwickshire, England, and is adjacent to Coventry Airport. The museum includes the Sir Frank Whittle Jet Heritage Centre , where many exhibits are on display in a large hangar...

    , Coventry, England.
  • XS417 Lightning T.5 at the Newark Air Museum
    Newark Air Museum
    right|thumb|200px|[[Handley Page Hastings]] T5 TG517 at the Newark Air Museum.Newark Air Museum is an air museum located on a former Royal Air Force station at Winthorpe, near Newark on Trent in Nottinghamshire, England. The museum contains a variety of aircraft...

    , Newark, England.
  • XS420 Lightning T.5 on loan to the Farnborough Air Sciences Trust
    Farnborough Air Sciences Trust
    The Farnborough Air Sciences Trust museum holds a collection of aircraft, wind tunnel and Royal Aircraft Establishment related material. It is based in Farnborough, Hampshire immediately adjacent to Farnborough Airfield....

    , Farnborough, England.
  • XS459 Lightning T.5 at the Fenland and West Norfolk Aviation Museum, Wisbech
    Wisbech
    Wisbech is a market town, inland port and civil parish with a population of 20,200 in the Fens of Cambridgeshire. The tidal River Nene runs through the centre of the town and is spanned by two bridges...

    , England.
  • XS897 Lightning F.6 at Aeroventure
    AeroVenture
    AeroVenture is an aviation museum located at Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England. It occupies the former site of RAF Doncaster.-Aircraft collection:...

    , Doncaster, England.
  • XS903 Lightning F.6 at the Yorkshire Air Museum
    Yorkshire Air Museum
    The Yorkshire Air Museum & Allied Air Forces Memorial, , is an air museum in England. The museum was founded, and first opened to the public, in the early 1980s....

    , Elvington, England.
  • XS904 Lightning F.6 with LPG, Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome
    Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome
    Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome and Proving Ground is a privately owned airport in Leicestershire near the village of Bruntingthorpe. It was opened as RAF Bruntingthorpe in 1942.- United States Air Force use:...

    , Leicestershire, England (taxi-able).
  • XS925 Lightning F.6 stand mounted at Castle Motors on the A38 near Liskeard
    Liskeard
    Liskeard is an ancient stannary and market town and civil parish in south east Cornwall, England, United Kingdom.Liskeard is situated approximately 20 miles west of Plymouth, west of the River Tamar and the border with Devon, and 12 miles east of Bodmin...

    , Cornwall, England.
  • XS936 Lightning F.6 at the RAF Museum
    RAF Museum
    The Royal Air Force Museum London, commonly known as the RAF Museum, is a museum located on the former Hendon Aerodrome, dedicated to the history of aviation and the British Royal Air Force. The museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Ministry of Defence and a registered charity...

    , London, England.
  • XN770 Lightning F.52 at the Royal Saudi Air Force Museum
    Royal Saudi Air Force Museum
    The Royal Saudi Air Force Museum or Saqr Al-Jazira is located on the East Ring Road of Riyadh between exits 10 and 11. A Saudia Lockheed L-1011 Tristar serves as a gateguard visible from the ring road. Admission is Sr.10 for adults & Sr.5 for children...

    , Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • ZF578 Lightning F.53 as XR753 at the Tangmere Military Aviation Museum, Tangmere, England.
  • ZF579 Lightning F.53 at the Gatwick Aviation Museum
    Gatwick Aviation Museum
    The Gatwick Aviation Museum is located on the boundary of London Gatwick Airport in the village of Charlwood, Surrey. Originally started in 1987 as a private collection by local businessman Peter Vallance, it became a registered charity in 1999 with the objective of providing awareness of local...

    , Charlwood
    Charlwood
    Charlwood is a village and civil parish in the Mole Valley district of Surrey, England. It is immediately northwest of London Gatwick Airport in West Sussex, close west of Horley and north of Crawley. The historic county boundary between Surrey and Sussex ran to the south of Gatwick Airport...

    , near Gatwick Airport, England.
  • ZF580 Lightning F.53 outside BAE Systems, Samlesbury
    Samlesbury
    Samlesbury is a small village and civil parish in the South Ribble borough of Lancashire, England. Samlesbury Hall, a historic house, is located in the village as well as Samlesbury Aerodrome...

    , England
  • ZF581 Lightning F.53 at the Bentwaters Cold War Museum, Suffolk
    Suffolk
    Suffolk is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in East Anglia, England. It has borders with Norfolk to the north, Cambridgeshire to the west and Essex to the south. The North Sea lies to the east...

    , England.
  • ZF582 Lightning F.53 (nose-section only) at the Bournemouth Aviation Museum
    Bournemouth Aviation Museum
    The Bournemouth Aviation Museum is an aviation museum located next to Bournemouth International Airport, near the village of Hurn in Christchurch. It houses a number of aircraft, aero engines, cockpits and a double-decker bus...

    , England.
  • ZF583 Lightning F.53 at the Solway Aviation Museum
    Solway Aviation Museum
    The Solway Aviation Museum is an independently run aircraft museum located at Carlisle Lake District Airport in Cumbria.-About the Museum:The Museum is run by The Solway Aviation Society and staffed by unpaid volunteers. It is a registered charity supported by entrance charges to the Museum, and...

    , Carlisle Airport Cumbria England.
  • ZF588 Lightning F.53 at the East Midlands Airport Aeropark, Castle Donington, England.
  • ZF592 Lightning F.53 as 53-686 at the City of Norwich Aviation Museum
    City of Norwich Aviation Museum
    The City of Norwich Aviation Museum is a volunteer run museum and charitable trust dedicated to the preservation of the aviation history of the county of Norfolk, England. The museum is located on the northern edge of Norwich International Airport and is reached by road through the village of...

    , Norwich
    Norwich
    Norwich is a city in England. It is the regional administrative centre and county town of Norfolk. During the 11th century, Norwich was the largest city in England after London, and one of the most important places in the kingdom...

    , England
  • ZF593 Lightning F.53 at the Warner-Robins Museum of Aviation, Georgia, USA.
  • ZF594 Lightning F.53 at the North East Aircraft Museum
    North East Aircraft Museum
    The North East Aircraft Museum is a volunteer-run aviation museum situated on the site of the former RAF Usworth/Sunderland Airport, between Washington and Sunderland, England. The museum has the largest aviation collection between Yorkshire and Scotland and houses over 30 aircraft and a wide...

    , Sunderland, England.
  • XM989 Lightning T.54 at the main entrance to King Abdul-Aziz Air Base, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
  • ZF597 Lightning T.55 at the Olympic Flight Museum
    Olympic Flight Museum
    The Olympic Flight Museum is an aviation museum at the Olympia Airport in Olympia, Washington, USA. The museum has more than 20 vintage planes and helicopters on display, most of which are in airworthy condition. Children can climb in such as the mobile Huey and T-28 Trojan. There is a scale...

    , Washington, USA.
  • ZF598 Lightning T.55 as 55-713 at the Midland Air Museum
    Midland Air Museum
    The Midland Air Museum is situated just outside the village of Baginton in Warwickshire, England, and is adjacent to Coventry Airport. The museum includes the Sir Frank Whittle Jet Heritage Centre , where many exhibits are on display in a large hangar...

    , Coventry, England.
  • 55-716 Lightning T.55 at the Royal Saudi Air Force Museum
    Royal Saudi Air Force Museum
    The Royal Saudi Air Force Museum or Saqr Al-Jazira is located on the East Ring Road of Riyadh between exits 10 and 11. A Saudia Lockheed L-1011 Tristar serves as a gateguard visible from the ring road. Admission is Sr.10 for adults & Sr.5 for children...

    , Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
  • XL629 Lightning T.4 inside the main gate at MoD Boscombe Down
    MoD Boscombe Down
    MoD Boscombe Down is an aircraft testing site located at Idmiston, south of Amesbury, in Wiltshire, England. It is run and managed by QinetiQ, the company created as part of the breakup of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency in 2001 by the UK Ministry of Defence...

    , Wiltshire, England.

Specifications (Lightning F.6)

Saudi Mk 53s and Mk 55s were sold on the basis of having "multi-role" capability. As a consequence the armament fit within the RSAF included provision for two wing-mounted Matra rocket pods and a single nose-mounted (drop-down door) SNEB
SNEB
The SNEB rocket is an unguided air-to-ground rocket projectile manufactured by the French company TDA Armements, designed for launch by combat aircraft and helicopters. Two other rockets were developed in the and caliber...

 rocket pack. Additionally the underwing mounting points were also "bomb capable" up to 500 lb per wing. In an innovative extension of the multi-role capability, the Red Top missile pack could be detached and replaced with a modified version which incorporated a rotating Vinten Vicon camera reconnaissance pod. This pod was configurable to both high- and low-level roles, where in "high level", it used two "split vertical" Vinten F95 cameras and in "low level", it used a five-camera, wide-angle configuration (one forward facing, two split vertical and two horizontal oblique). Most elements of the multi-role capability, although not known to have been used in anger, did feature prominently within periodic RSAF training programmes. The one exception being the reconnaissance role at Dharhan air base which was used to obtain "sitrep" during civil disturbances around Qatif in the Eastern Province of Saudi in the late 1970s during the overthrow of the Shah of Iran.

Notable appearances in Media

  • British journalist and TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson
    Jeremy Clarkson
    Jeremy Charles Robert Clarkson is an English broadcaster, journalist and writer who specialises in motoring. He is best known for his role on the BBC TV show Top Gear along with co-presenters Richard Hammond and James May...

     borrowed a Lightning (serial
    United Kingdom military aircraft serials
    In the United Kingdom to identify individual aircraft, all military aircraft are allocated and display a unique serial number. A unified serial number system, maintained by the Air Ministry , and its successor the Ministry of Defence , is used for aircraft operated by the Royal Air Force , Fleet...

     XM172) which was temporarily placed in his garden and documented on Clarkson's TV show Speed
    Speed (TV series)
    Speed was a BBC television series about the history of fast vehicles, including aeroplanes, boats and cars. The show was presented by Jeremy Clarkson and consisted of six episodes. Each focused on a different aspect of speed...

    .
  • The cockpit sections from four scrapped Lightnings were used to construct the full-scale mock-ups of the CF-117b Rapier starfighter
    Starfighter
    "Starfighter" is a science fiction term used to describe small, fast, usually one-manned craft designed for armed combat .The appearance and use of fictional starfighters is often modeled on fighter aircraft, with little regard for the actual physics of spaceflight...

    s in the film Wing Commander.
  • Professor Brian Cox
    Brian Cox (physicist)
    Brian Edward Cox, OBE , is a British particle physicist, a Royal Society University Research Fellow and a professor at the University of Manchester. He is a member of the High Energy Physics group at the University of Manchester, and works on the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at...

     uses one of the South African Lightnings (XS451) in his "Wonders of the Solar System
    Wonders of the Solar System (TV series)
    Wonders of the Solar System is an award-winning 2010 television series co-produced by the BBC and Science Channel, and hosted by physicist Brian Cox. Wonders of the Solar System was first broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC Two on 7 March 2010...

    " BBC TV programme - episode 3 of 5, "The Thin Blue Line". The broadcast features a "vertical" ascent, and allows the Professor to show the curvature of the Earth and the relative dimensions of the atmosphere. More than five minutes of the episode are devoted to the Lightning, with a large number of close-ups. Coincidentally, this was the aircraft that crashed only about a month later at the Overberg Airshow, after developing mechanical problems.
  • British author Jan Mark
    Jan Mark
    Jan Mark was a British author, best known as a writer for children. She was christened Janet Marjorie Brisland in Welwyn Garden City in 1943 and was raised and educated in Kent. She was a secondary school teacher between 1965 and 1971, and became a full-time writer in 1974. She wrote over fifty...

    's children's book Thunder and Lightnings
    Thunder and Lightnings
    Thunder and Lightnings is a children's book, the first novel written by Jan Mark. It won the Penguin Guardian Award for a first children’s book and the Carnegie Medal for 1976...

    (1976) tells the story of two boys living near RAF Coltishall
    RAF Coltishall
    The former Royal Air Force Station Coltishall, more commonly known as RAF Coltishall , was a Royal Air Force station, a military airbase, North-North-East of Norwich, in the English county of Norfolk, East Anglia, from 1938 to 2006....

     in Norfolk
    Norfolk
    Norfolk is a low-lying county in the East of England. It has borders with Lincolnshire to the west, Cambridgeshire to the west and southwest and Suffolk to the south. Its northern and eastern boundaries are the North Sea coast and to the north-west the county is bordered by The Wash. The county...

    , who share an interest in aeroplanes, at the time when the RAF is phasing out its Lightning fighters and introducing the Jaguar
    SEPECAT Jaguar
    The SEPECAT Jaguar is an Anglo-French jet ground attack aircraft, originally used by the British Royal Air Force and the French Armée de l'Air in the close air support and nuclear strike role, and still in service with several export customers, notably the Indian Air Force and the Royal Air Force...

    .
  • An old, destroyed Lightning, now used for target practice on a Northumberland military range, is featured on the cover of the Suede
    Suede
    Suede is a type of leather with a napped finish, commonly used for jackets, shoes, shirts, purses, furniture and other items. The term comes from the French "gants de Suède", which literally means "gloves of Sweden"....

     album Sci-Fi Lullabies
    Sci-Fi Lullabies
    Sci-Fi Lullabies is a compilation album by English alternative rock band Suede, consisting of B-sides from the singles that were released from the band's first three albums.-Overview:...

    .
  • A haunted Lightning, previously attached to a fictional 666 Squadron
    No. 666 Squadron RAF
    No. 666 Squadron was a Royal Air Force Air Observation Post squadron associated with the Canadian 1st Army and later part of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force. Numbers 651 to 663 Squadron of the RAF were Air Observation Post units working closely with British Army units in artillery spotting and...

     and was officially listed as destroyed, is kept at the aircraft museum at RAF Cosford
    RAF Cosford
    RAF Cosford is a Royal Air Force station in Cosford, Shropshire, just to the northwest of Wolverhampton and next to Albrighton.-History:...

     in the Charles Stross
    Charles Stross
    Charles David George "Charlie" Stross is a British writer of science fiction, Lovecraftian horror and fantasy. He was born in Leeds.Stross specialises in hard science fiction and space opera...

     novel The Fuller Memorandum
    The Fuller Memorandum
    The Fuller Memorandum is the third novel by Charles Stross in his "Laundry" series of Lovecraftian spy thrillers. The previous novels in the series were The Atrocity Archives and The Jennifer Morgue...

    .


See also

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK