The main wings were designed with a cambered leading edge. Thirty-one F.
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Mk 2 models were converted up to the F. Mk 2A standard. Many Lightning pilots have referred to this mark as the best of the Lightning series. Power was derived from 2 x Avon R series engines with 13,lb thrust dry and 16,lb thrust afterburning output. Red Top missiles offered all-aspect engagement with limited head-on qualities over the tail-chasing Firestreaks. The inclusion of the larger Red Tops also forced a revision of the vertical tailfin aerodynamics by the addition of greater surface area and squared-off top edge.
At least 62 some sources state 70 F. Mk 3 models were produced and formed the mounts of Nos.
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Mk 3A was of a similar design but with improved range thanks to an enlarged ventral tank and cambered wings. Mk 3A was essentially tied to the development of the upcoming F. Mk 6 - the definitive Lightning. Sixteen F. Mk 3A models appeared at the end of the F.
Mk 3 model production. Minister of Defense Duncan Sandys initiative of to cancel or curtail the development of manned fighters was finally overturned.
As such, funding became available to develop and further new and existing systems to their fullest potential. Once such system was the Lightning in which its engineers now took to bettering the platform for increased performance, range and lethality. The new revised design took to add new wings with cambered leading edges, an increased fuel capacity and the re-integration of the twin 30mm ADEN cannons into a ventral gun station as part of the enlarged ventral fuel tank.
Mk 6 became the final production Lightning and was essentially based on the F.
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Mk 3 - and for a time was referred to as the F. Mk 3A - model featuring better range now up to an impressive 2 hours of unrefueled flight time the new wing design including those changes and additions as made between the F. Mk 2 and F.
Mk 2A production models. Surprisingly enough, these changes led to little-or-no penalty in overall performance. A total of 39 F.
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Mk 6 production models appeared. Nine conversions were brought about from existing F. Mk 3 models known as F. Mk 6 interim and having no provisions for the overwing fuel tanks or the new AIS radar system and a further 15 conversions appeared from existing F. Mk 3A models. First flight of the F. Mk 6 was achieved on June 16th, Mk 6 later that year while full production F. Mk 6 models reached No. Mk 6 went on to serve with Nos. Lightning trainer aircraft were also supplied. Trainers were identified by their side-by-side cockpit seating for student and trainer alike complete with dual controls.
English Electric Lightning
Trainer versions were built by English Electric out of necessity for original training of Lightning pilots was accomplished by using Hawker Hunter two-seat aircraft with an experienced Lightning pilot as the instructor. Outwardly, these systems maintained their Lightning qualities and - despite the revision of the cockpit - trainer Lightnings retained their awesome performance specifications. Trainer versions could also be modified back to their single-seat combat-ready forms if need be. Trainers were identified by the use of "T" in their designations.
The T. Mk 4 was based on the F. Mk 1A production fighter but fitting a second instructors cockpit in a side-by-side arrangement with dual controls. Two prototypes appeared initially followed by 18 some sources state 20 production examples. The first prototype crashed into the Irish Sea during a test flight due to a collapsed vertical fin.
The second prototype fared better and completed the test program. Two T. Mk 4 trainers eventually served as conversion prototypes for the development of the improved T. Mk 5 trainer.
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Mk 5 first flew on July 17th, and was based on the F. Mk 3 production fighter. Mk 5's were delivered to the OCU to which 22 total examples were ultimately constructed. A dedicated high-altitude version known as the P. This model featured a revised canopy and wingtip mounts for air-to-air missiles but this specialized Lightning form was eventually dropped. Additionally, the Lightning was considered in a dedicated Royal Navy role complete with arrestor hook, revised undercarriage, folding wings and a folding vertical tail fin. Operationally, the Lightning was given a powerful ability via its radar to scan the forward horizon above and below.
The aircraft could automatically take itself within missile range of its intended target and let loose its missile armament with little action required on the part of the pilot. This evolved RAF fighter aircraft from being "cannon-only" platforms to fully-integrated weapons delivery platforms from here on out.
The major crutch of the series was always its limited capacity of fuel limiting its effective operational range during the series entire reign. As such, subsequent designs found newer ways to increase the types endurance through more onboard fuel and in-flight refueling but the drawback was never fully conquered.
Additionally, armament was severely limited by the few hardpoints the Lightning maintained. Despite this, the Lightning showcased performance specs that few aircraft of the time would ever top - making up for its deficiencies through sheer power, speed and ability. Likewise, mainland Lightning interceptor groups were re-stocked with the new Panavia Tornado F. All of these aircraft brought with them better range specifications as well as better armament loads over that of the Lightning.
The Jaguar and the Tornado in particular allowed for strike fighters qualities with air-to-air capabilities making them true multirole performers when compared to the Lightning. The last Lightning squadrons were disbanded in with many being turned over for scrap. In its time aloft, the Lightning was credited with only a single air-to-air kill - this being a "runaway" Harrier.
The Harrier pilot had successfully ejected but his aircraft continued on course. A Lightning was sent to intercept and destroy the aircraft which it accomplished. Foreign orders were in short supply for the Lightning production line. Main export customers were Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Mk 53 was utilized by both Kuwait as the F.
Mk 53K and Saudi Arabia. These featured provisions for drop bombs and unguided rockets launched from rocket pods. This model was based on the production F. Essentially, export Lightning weapon options covered three arrangements. The first being two 30mm ADEN cannons in a center underfuselage position, two drop bombs held underwing and two rocket packs in forward fuselage mounts. Greatly renowned for its capabilities as an interceptor, RAF pilots described it as "being saddled to a skyrocket".
The aircraft was a stunning performer at airshows. It broke the world air-speed record and was the first aircraft capable of supercruise. The Lightning was also one of the highest performance planes ever used in formation aerobatics.
English Electric Lightning, New Corgi Aviation Archive Catalogue
The Lightning prototype, known as P. This specification followed the cancellation of the Air Ministry's E. The P1's designer was W. Petter, formerly chief designer at Westland Aircraft. The design was controversial and the Short SB. The original combination was proved correct. The forerunner of the Lightning series was the P. IB flying "proof-of-concept" aircraft.