Aircraft And Military Development & Applications
The Electric Lightening is a supersonic fighter aircraft of the Cold War era. It was designed, developed, and manufactured by English Electric, which was subsequently absorbed by the newly formed British Aircraft Corporation. It was then marketed as the BAC Lightning. The Lightning was the only all-British Mach 2 fighter aircraft. The Lightning was used by the Royal Air Force and the Royal Saudi Air Force. Although it was the RAF's primary interceptor for more than two decades it was never required to attack another aircraft.
Maiden flight: 04 Aug 1954 Length: 55.25 ft Wingspan: 34.78 ft Passengers: 2 Retired: 1988 Manufacturers: English Electric ·British Aircraft Corporation.
Britain's first Mach 2 fighter, born from a late 1940s design, was also Britain's last entirely home-grown Mach 2 aircraft. Surviving the cancellation of so many other types in 1957, it did so only through sleight of hand on the part of its makers and went on to serve the RAF for over 40 years. It was also a limited export success, kick starting a series of ever larger deals with Saudi Arabia. Fully loaded with noise and spectacle, the Lightning's primary task throughout much of its RAF career was to protect the valuable V-bomber bases from any Soviet attack. Flamboyant colour schemes and sparkling performance meant that the type became a firm favourite with the public and enthusiasts alike.
The English Electric Lightning is a supersonic jet fighter aircraft of the Cold War era, noted for its great speed. It is the only all-British Mach 2 fighter aircraft and was the first aircraft in the world capable of supercruise. The Lightning was renowned for its capabilities as an interceptor; pilots commonly described it as "being saddled to a skyrocket". Following English Electric's integration into the unified British Aircraft Corporation, the aircraft was marketed as the BAC Lightning.
While in RAF service, the Lightning never fired a shot in anger, it was possibly one of the most agressive looking aircraft ever to fly, and was certainly the backbone of the air defence of Great Britain for many years. The epitome of British fighter design - short on fuel but immensely powerful and manoeuvrable and with more character than any of its contemporaries - the Lightning was the first, and last, all-British supersonic fighter. While the Lightning's replacements (the Phantom and Tornado ADV in British service, the F-15 Eagle in Saudi service) are excellent aircraft in their own right, none compare with the sheer brute force and sparkling performance of the ultimate jet sports car - the English Electric Lightning.
The Lightning was prominently used by the Royal Air Force and the Royal Saudi Air Force. The aircraft was a regular performer at airshows and is one of the highest-performance aeroplanes ever used in formation aerobatics. Following retirement in the late 1980s, many of the remaining aircraft became museum exhibits; until 2010, three examples were kept flying at "Thunder City" in Cape Town, South Africa. In September 2008, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers conferred on the Lightning its "Engineering Heritage Award" at a ceremony at BAE Systems' site at Warton Aerodrome.
Length: 55 ft 3 in (16.8 m)
Wingspan: 34 ft 10 in (10.6 m)
Height: 19 ft 7 in (5.97 m)
Wing area: 474.5 ft² (44.08 m²)
Empty weight: 31,068 lb (14,092 kg)
Max. takeoff weight: 45,750 lb (20,752 kg)
Powerplant: 2 × Rolls-Royce Avon 301R afterburning Turbojets Dry thrust: 12,530 lbf (55.74 kN) each
Thrust with afterburner: 16,000 lbf (71.17 kN) each
National origin: United Kingdom
Manufacturer : English Electric
British Aircraft Corporation
First flight: 4 August 1954 (P.1A)
4 April 1957
Introduction: December 1959
Retired : 1988 (RAF)
Primary users: Royal Air Force
Kuwait Air Force
Royal Saudi Air Force
Number built: 337 (including prototypes)
Maximum speed: Mach 2.0 (1,300 mph, 2,100 km/h) at 36,000 ft. 700 KIAS at lower altitude
Range: 850 mi (1,370 km) Supersonic intercept radius: 155 mi (250 km)
Ferry range: 920 mi (800 NM, 1,660 km) 1,270 mi (1,100 NM, 2,040 km) with ferry tanks
Service ceiling: 54,000 ft (16,000 m) zoom ceiling >70,000 ft
Rate of climb: 20,000 ft/min (100 m/s)
Wing loading: 76 lb/ft² (370 kg/m²)
Guns: 2× 30 mm (1.18 in) ADEN cannon
Hardpoints: 2× under-fuselage for mounting air-to-air missiles, 2x overwing pylon stations for 260 gal ferry tanks and provisions to carry combinations of: Missiles: 2 De Havilland Firestreak or 2× Hawker Siddeley Red Top
Lightning F.3 in 1964
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Nigel G Wilcox
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