- Number of Parts: 153
- Dimensions (mm): L350 x W220
Entering RAF squadron service in 1960, the Lightning represented a quantum leap in capability and performance over the RAF’s previous interceptor jets, offering Mach 2+ performance as well as a phenomenal rate of climb. Until its retirement in the 1980s, the Lightning had few rivals for outright speed and climbing ability, however it did have some shortcomings, most notably its lack of range as well as its limited armament of just two air to air missiles.
The F3 Lightning introduced an enlarged ventral tank with later versions also being equipped with overwing tanks, improving the range of the Lightning. These versions deleted the nose guns of the earlier variants, thus reducing the ability of the Lightning pilots to get in close to their opponents. They also did nothing to overcome its missile definciency, with the Lightning still having to rely on two missles.
The Lightning was eventually replaced in 1988, as it was superseded by the more capable and heavily armed Tornado. A number of these planes have survived and can be found in museums across the country, a reminder of one of the RAF’s fastest fighter jets of all time.