The English Electric Lightning
was Britain's first supersonic fighter. The
Lightning had a maximum speed and climbing rate
that exceeded everything but was limited by it's
short range and average weaponry.
The Lightning was the result of
the P.1A which was designed after the demand in
1947 for a supersonic research aircraft.
The first of the three prototypes
flew in August 1954, and later showed supersonic
capabilities thanks to two Bristol Siddeley
turbojets without afterburners. It was clear
that this type had the qualities of an
interceptor-fighter and the name was changed
into P.1B witch flew first in April 1957 with
two Rolls-Royce Avon turbojets.
After a long development period
with 20 pre-production aircraft the Lightning
F.Mk1 came in use in 1960 with two 30 mm.
cannon's and two Firestreak air to air missiles.
Later versions were:
F.Mk1A with air to air refueling
F.Mk 2 with improved electronics
and adjustable afterburners
F.Mk 3 with Avon Mk 300 engines
of 73,62 kN and underwing brackets for
disposable fuel tanks, and a straight "cut-off"
tail, improved radar, removed machine-guns, and
two Red Top air to air missiles.
The last version was the
Lightning F.Mk 6 (initially the F.Mk 3A) with a
redesigned wing, and a fuel tank in the fuselage
witch practically doubled the fuel-capacity.