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- Type: SPH
- Class: aircraft
- Part Count: 62
- Mods: 7
Summary: British Mach 2 interceptor developed in the late 50s, introduced in 1959, and in use until 1988, serving as the RAF’s main interceptor for more than two decades. Exceptional rate of climb, and speed, but with limited range. Exported to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
The English Electric Lightning was developed during the 1950s by the English Electric Company, which was later absorbed into the newly formed British Aircraft Corporation (after which the aircraft was referred to as the BAC Lightning). The Lightning was the only all-British Mach 2 fighter aircraft, and although it served as the RAF’s main interceptor for more than two decades it was never required to attack another aircraft.
The Lightning was powered by two Rolls-Royce Avon turbojets in a unique staggered stacked arrangement, which allowed the plane to have exceptional thrust for a very small frontal area (equivalent to 1.5 engines mounted conventionally), thus being hugely aerodynamic. However, this configuration made maintenance extremely difficult.
The Lightning had an exceptional rate of climb, service ceiling, and speed, and pilots described it as
being saddled to a skyrocket. The Lightning was famous for its ability to take off to climb almost vertically (although this did not yield best time-to-altitude). A Lightning flying at optimum climb profile would reach 36,000 ft in under 3 minutes.
Another noteable feature was the notched delta wing (NOT swept) which, despite high loading, was remarkably thin for its time. The low slung all-flying tailplane allowed for great maneuverability, but the thin wing provided little room for fuel - later versions had bulging belly tanks to increase range, albeit at the price of poorer aerodynamics.
The Lightning quickly replaced older, early supersonic interceptors such as the Gloster Javelins, and was Britain’s main interceptor by 1965. However, equipped with a rarely used canon and only two air-to-air misses, and with limited range, the Lightning was outclassed by the conemporaneous, more successful but arguably less elegant F4 Phantom II, which partially replaced the Lightning when they were themselves supplanted from their ground-attack role by the new SEPECAT Jaguar. The last remaining Lightnings were replaced by the Panavia Tornado F3 - an interceptor variant of the revolutionary strike-aircraft. The Lightning was phased out of service from 1974-1988.
Saudi Arabia acquired a number of Lightnings from 1965, along with a number of Hawker Hunters, and continued to receive deliveries of special multi-role Lightning versions from BAC until 1972. The F53s were used as ground-attackers during the South Yemen conflict of 1969-70. In 1985 the last Saudi Lightnings were returned to BAe in part-exchange for new Tornados.
Kuwait’s Lightnings were ordered in 1966 and delivered in 1968-70. However, Kuwait underestimated the complexity of the aircraft and overestimated their competence to maintain them without BAC’s help, and struggled to keep the planes in serviceable condition. After unsuccessfully attempting to sell them to Egypt in 1974, Kuwait put them into storage and bought the Dassault Mirage F1. These relic Lightnings were mostly destroyed during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990.
A mod aircraft called English Electric Lightning. Built with 62 parts, closely to scale, and using appropriate weapons, systems and colour scheme wherever possible.
Built in the SPH in KSP version 1.1.3.
- B9 Aerospace Parts Pack
- B9 Procedural Wings Modified
- Procedural Parts
- Squad (stock)
- TweakScale - Rescale Everything!
- ZZZ Flags
AedsPlanes are replicas of historic aircraft built as accurately as possible, and usually to 1:1 scale. Enjoy the experience of being a real Kerbal Airforce pilot!
(For added immersion, install flag mod World Aircraft Insignia by ChaseAEd and add real airforce roundels to your planes).