[35][38], Nine Lightning F.1s of No.74 Squadron display at the 1961 SBAC show, Farnborough, Despite these problems, in addition to its training and operational roles, 74 Squadron was appointed as the official Fighter Command aerobatic team for 1961, flying at air shows throughout the United Kingdom and Europe. The radar system also had the capability of automatically launching the aircraft's air to air missiles, once within range of its target. Takeoff roll is between 2,000 and 3,000 ft [600 to 900 m], depending upon military or maximum afterburner-powered takeoff. He reports that the Lightnings won all races easily with the exception of the low-level supersonic acceleration, which was a "dead heat". A smaller version of the P.1A was built by the Short Brothers for use as a flying test bed on which to experiment with different swept wing and tailplane configurations. The original combination was proved correct. About the only negative issue that some pilots report is that the short wings can be difficult to see in level flight. RAF Lightning pilot and Chief Examiner Brian Carroll 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", noting that control-wise "[it was] on a knife edge". All Lightning variants had the excess thrust to slightly exceed 700 knots (810 mph; 1,300 km/h) indicated airspeed under certain conditions,[18][24][27] and the service limit of 650 knots (750 mph; 1,200 km/h) was occasionally ignored. [53] Up to 1982 the Lightnings were mainly operated by 2 and 6 Squadron RSAF (although a few were also used by 13 Squadron RSAF), but when 6 Squadron re-equipped with the F-15 Eagle then all the remaining aircraft were operated by 2 Squadron at Tabuk. [1] Following English Electric's integration into the unified British Aircraft Corporation, the aircraft was marketed as the BAC Lightning. The shock cone would be eventually weakened due to the fatigue caused by the thermal cycles involved in regularly performing high-speed flights. The wing loading can range between 86-67 lb/ft² over the duration of a mission, depending on fuel load. It is the only all-British Mach 2 fighter aircraft and was the first aircraft in the world capable of supercruise. 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),[6] the A.I.23B radar and Red Top missile offering a limited forward hemisphere attack capability—and most notoriously—deletion of the nose cannon. Below the. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); The English Electric Lightning had over double the speed and climb rate of the aircraft that they replaced when joining front line squadrons in 1959. The aircraft was a regular performer at airshows and is one of the highest-performance aeroplanes ever used in formation aerobatics. The Lightning was quicker off the ground, reaching 50 ft [15 m] height in a horizontal distance of 1,630 feet [500m]". These hardpoints could be fitted with pylons for air-to-ground ordnance, including two 1,000 lb (450 kg) bombs or four SNEB rocket pods each carrying 18 68 mm rockets. [59], Lightning T.4 at Farnborough Airshow, England, in 1964, Lightning P.1A at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, A USAF Sikorsky HH-53C helicopter of the 67th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron lifts a Lightning at RAF Woodbridge, Suffolk, 18 December 1987, ZU-BEX Electric Lightning T5, alongside a vintage Jaguar, at Thunder City, Cape Town, South Africa, 2002, 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 Overberg Airshow held at AFB Overberg near Bredasdorp on 14 November 2009. While the OCU was the major user of the two seater, small numbers were also allocated to the front-line fighter squadrons. The English Electric Lightning stayed in service until 1988, when replaced by the Tornado. Lake, Jon. [50][56], Kuwait also ordered 14 Lightnings in December 1966, comprising 12 F.53Ks and two T.55Ks. A conformal ventral store was added to the design to house, alternatively, a fuel tank or a rocket engine. This was an F.2 upgraded with the cambered wing, the squared fin, and the 610 gal ventral. Winchester, Jim, ed. In 1962 a training version, the T. Mk 5, started being produced. [10][nb 1] Alternative, interchangeable packs in the forward fuselage carried two Firestreak missiles, two Red Top missiles, twin retractable launchers for 44× 2-inch rockets, or a reconnaissance pod fitted with five 70 mm Type 360 Vinten cameras. An F.6 equipped with Red Top missiles can climb to 36,000 ft and cruise at Mach 0.87 to a loiter or intercept area 370 NM distant. Originally, it was nearly identical to the F.3A with the exception that it had provisions to carry 260 imperial gallons (1,200 l) ferry tanks on pylons over the wings. [32], In 1984, during a major NATO exercise, Flt Lt Mike Hale intercepted a U-2 at a height which they had previously considered safe from interception (thought to be 66,000 feet). The official ceiling of the Lightning was a closely guarded secret although it is said to be in excess of 60,000 ft and it is well reknowned for its exceptional rate of climb at 20,000 ft per minute. In September 1962 Fighter Command organised several supersonic interception trials on Lockheed U-2As at heights of around 60,000-65,000 ft, which were temporarily based at RAF Upper Heyford to monitor Soviet nuclear tests. The English Electric Lightning is a supersonic jet fighter aircraft of the Cold War era, noted for its great speed.