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    Firestreak armed Lightning F3

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    Firestreak armed Lightning F3

    Mensagem  Cnshark em Seg Abr 25 2011, 04:26

    O Inglês Electric Lightning é um caça supersonico da era da guerra fria, com velociade de Mach 2, era um caça de interceptação. Os pilotos da RAF o descrevem como "being saddled to a skyrocket".(Como estar sentado num foguete).
    O "Lightning" era usado a serviço da Royal Air Force e Royal Saudi Air Force. A aeronave tinha regular perfomance para shows aereos e capacidade de super cruzeiro. The Lightning esta fora de seviço e em museus.
    A especificação seguida da aeronave foi cancelada pelo ministério aéreo em 1942 E.24/43 do supersonico research aircraft specification which had resulted in the Miles M.52 programme.[2] It was soon realised that the aircraft should be regarded as a prototype fighter to satisfy the British Air Ministry's 1949 specification F23/49 rather than being research aircraft. The Lightning design shared a number of innovations first planned for the Miles M.52 including the shock cone and all-moving tailplane or stabilator. The prototypes, known as P.1, were built to Ministry of Supply Operational Requirement ER.103 of 1947 for a transonic research aircraft. The first of the two P.1s WG760 flew for the first time from RAF Boscombe Down on 4 August 1954.
    The P.1's chief designer was W.E.W "Teddy" Petter, formerly chief designer at Westland Aircraft. The design was controversial and the Short SB5 was built to test wing sweep and tailplane combinations. The original combination was proved correct. The forerunner of the Lightning series was the P.1A and P.1B flying "proof-of-concept" aircraft. Looking very much like the production series, the prototypes were distinguished by the rounded-triangular intakes, short fins and lack of radar or operational equipment.[1] Initial prototypes were powered by un-reheated Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire turbojets, although the Rolls-Royce Avon was used in subsequent aircraft. On 25 November 1958, the P.1B became the first British aircraft to fly at Mach 2.[1]
    The P.1 and P.1A prototypes proved several unique features of the Lightning design: stacked/staggered engines, a notched delta wing, and a low-mounted tailplane. The most notable of these was the vertically stacked, longitudinally staggered engines. Faced with the conflicting needs of minimizing frontal area, providing undisturbed engine airflow across a wide speed range, and packaging two engines to provide sufficient thrust to meet performance goals, Petter conceived a configuration where twin engines were fed by a single nose inlet, the flow was split vertically aft of the cockpit, and the nozzles were closely stacked. This scheme effectively tucked one engine behind the cockpit. The result was a low frontal area, an efficient inlet, and excellent single-engine handling. Unfortunately, this stacked configuration also made engine maintenance difficult, and fluid leakage from the upper engine could cause fires.[3]
    The fuselage was tightly packed, leaving no room for fuel tankage or main landing gear. This left the wings. The notched delta wing did not have the volume of a standard delta, so space was a premium, and creative solutions were the rule. Each wing contained a somewhat conventional three-section main fuel tank and leading-edge tank, holding 312 gal,[nb 1] but interestingly, the wing flap also contained a 33 gal fuel tank. An additional five gal was contained in a "recuperator"--used to ensure continued fuel flow during negative-g operation—bringing the aircraft's total internal fuel capacity to 700 gal (3,180 l). The main landing gear was sandwiched outboard of the main tanks and aft of the leading edge tanks, with the flap fuel tanks behind.[4] The long main gear legs retracted toward the wingtip, necessitating an exceptionally thin main tyre inflated to high pressure (330–350 psi).[5] Little volume was wasted, but even with all this creative packaging, the Lightning prototypes had a barely usable endurance, tyre life was short, and heavy underwing stores could not be carried.[3]
    To increase the flexibility of the design, a conformal ventral store was added. This store took two forms: a rocket engine, and a fuel tank. The rocket engine store was to contain a Napier Double Scorpion motor and 200 gal of high-test peroxide (HTP) for oxidizer and to drive the rocket’s turbopump. Fuel for the rocket would have been drawn from the Lightning’s internal tankage. The rocket engine was intended to boost the Lightning’s performance against a supersonic, high altitude bomber threat, but in the end, this threat never emerged, and the Lightning’s basic performance was deemed sufficient to handle the current threat. The rocket engine store production was cancelled in 1958.[3]
    The ventral store did see wide use in the form of the fuel tank. The first version of this tank was jettisonable and held 250 gal (247 gal usable, 1,120 l).[4] This tank was carried by all early Lightnings, and in practice was only removed for aircraft maintenance. Eventually, a non-jettisonable version was designed to further address the Lightning’s enduring fuel shortage, and this version was carried by later marks of Lightning.
    The first operational Lightning, designated the F.1 , was designed as a point defence interceptor to defend mainland Britain from bomber attack. To best perform this intercept mission, emphasis was placed on rate-of-climb, acceleration, and speed, rather than range and combat endurance. It was equipped with two 30 mm Aden Cannon in front of the cockpit windscreen and an interchangeable fuselage weapon pack containing either an additional two ADEN cannon, 48, two inch air-to-air rockets, or two de Havilland Firestreak air-to-air missiles,[3] a heavy fit optimized for attack of large aircraft. The Ferranti A.I.23 radar supported autonomous search, automatic target tracking, and ranging for all weapons, while the pilot attack sight provided gyroscopically-derived lead angle and back-up stadiametric ranging for gun firing.[4] The radar and gunsight were collectively designated the AIRPASS: Airborne Interception Radar and Pilot Attack Sight System.
    The next two Lightning variants, the F.1A and F.2, saw steady but relatively minor refinement of the basic design; however, the next variant, the F.3, was a major departure. 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. The new engines and fin made the F.3 the highest performance Lightning yet, but with an even higher fuel consumption and resulting shorter range. The next variant, the F.6, was already in development, but there was a need for an interim solution to partially address the F.3’s shortcomings. The F.3A was that interim solution.
    The F.3A introduced two improvements: a new, non-jettisonable, 610 gal (2,770 l) ventral fuel tank,[7] and a new, kinked, conically-cambered wing leading edge—of course, incorporating a slightly larger leading edge fuel tank, raising the total usable internal fuel to 716 gal (3,250 l). The conically-cambered wing noticeably improved maneuverability, especially at higher altitudes, and the ventral tank nearly doubled available fuel. The increased fuel was very welcome, but the lack of cannon armament was felt to be a deficiency. It was thought that cannon were desirable to fire warning shots in the intercept mission.[8]
    The F.6 was the ultimate Lightning version to see British service. Originally, it was nearly identical to the F.3A with the exception that it had provisions to carry 260 gal (1,180 l) ferry tanks on pylons over the wings. These tanks were jettisonable in an emergency, and gave the F.6 a substantially improved deployment capability. There remained one glaring shortcoming: the lack of cannon. This was finally rectified in the form of a modified ventral tank with two ADEN cannon in the front. The addition of the cannon and their ammunition decreased the tank's fuel capacity from 610 gal to 535 gal (2,430 l), but the cannon made the F.6 a “real fighter” again.[7]
    The final British Lightning was the F.2A. This was an F.2 upgraded with the cambered wing, the squared fin, and the 610 gal ventral. The F.2A retained the A.I.23 and Firestreak missile, the nose cannon, and the earlier Avon 211R engines.[9] Although the F.2A lacked the thrust of the later Lightnings, it had the longest tactical range of all Lightning variants, and was used for low-altitude interception over Germany.
    The F.53 was the “Export Lightning.” It was an attempt to add multi-role capability to the optimized point defense interceptor design. The F.53 was based on the F.6 airframe and avionics, but incorporated an additional pair of hardpoints on the outer wing. These hardpoints could be fitted with pylons for air-to-ground ordnance, though in practice, they were rarely used. The Export Lightning had all of the advantages of the British Lightnings: exceptional climb rate, well-mannered maneuvering, and a hard-hitting punch. Unfortunately, the Export Lightning also retained the difficulty of maintenance, and serviceability rates suffered. Still, the F.53 was generally well regarded by its pilots, and its adaptation to multiple roles is a testimony to the exceptional talent of its designers.[10]
    In 1963, BAC Warton worked on the preliminary design of a two-seat Lightning development with a variable-geometry wing, based on the Lightning T.5 with a revised undercarriage. Initially proposed as a carrier-based aircraft, the VG Lightning concept was revised into a land-based interceptor intended for the RAF the following year.[11] However no VG Lightning was ever built.
    In September 2008, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers conferred on the Lightning its "Engineering Heritage Award". Former pilots and engineers, who were involved with the plane during the 1950s and 1960s, gathered at the BAE Systems site at Warton Aerodrome to mark the engineering feat.[12]




    The first operational aircraft, a pre-production P.1B (XG336), arrived at RAF Coltishall in Norfolk in December 1959. From 1960 the production F.1 served initially with 74 Squadron. An improved variant the F.2 first flew on 11 July 1961 and entered service with 19 Squadron at the end of 1962. The F.3 was first flown on 16 June 1962 and the longer-range F.6 on 16 June 1965. The versions sold to Saudi Arabia were essentially similar to the T.5 and F.6 models in UK service and this final production batch reverted to the classic natural metal external finish which lasted well in the drier Arabian climate.
    During the 1960s, as strategic awareness increased and a multitude of alternative fighter designs were developed by Warsaw Pact and NATO members, the Lightning's range and firepower shortcomings became increasingly apparent. The withdrawal of McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom IIs from Royal Navy service enabled these slower but much longer-ranged aircraft to be added to the RAF's interceptor force alongside those withdrawn from Germany which were being replaced by SEPECAT Jaguars in the ground attack role. Later the Tornado F3s also arrived to defend UK airspace. While slower and less agile than the Lightning, the Tornado carries a much larger armament load and much more advanced avionics. Lightnings were slowly phased out of service between 1974 and 1988, although much testing and modification was needed to keep them in air-worthy condition due to the high number of flight hours accumulated.


    Nine Lightning F.1s of No.74 Squadron display at the 1961 SBAC show, Farnborough
    The English Electric Lightning is credited with a single kill, ironically a British aircraft – a Harrier pilot ejected and the pilot-less aircraft continued to fly. The order was given to shoot down the aircraft and the Lightning did.[13]
    In their final years of UK service all RAF Lightnings were based at RAF Binbrook in Lincolnshire and many were camouflaged to make them less conspicuous when flying at low level. They tended to defend the Flamborough Head Sector of airspace above the North Sea. These later aircraft were the single-seater F.3 and F.6 and the twin seat trainer variant T.5, all constructed by British Aircraft Corporation and distinguished from earlier versions by their flat topped fins. In their last year of service their pilots regularly pushed the aircraft to their limits as they used up their remaining fatigue life.
    Many Lightnings are conserved in museum collections where their clean sleek lines are evocative of the high speeds that they once attained. The Short SB5 and a P.1A are at the RAF Museum, Cosford. The Civil Aviation Authority refused a licence for the surviving airworthy examples to perform at air shows in the UK but there are three flying in South Africa (see Operators below).
    [edit]Service in the Middle East: Saudi Arabia and Kuwait
    In December 1965, due to its involvement in the North Yemen Civil War and resulting conflict with Egypt, Saudi Arabia ordered 35 Lightning F.53s and six T.55s as part of the "Magic Carpet" programme. As an interim measure, five Lightning F.52s (ex-RAF Lightning F.2s) plus two Lightning T.54s (ex-RAF Lightning T.4s) were delivered to Saudi Arabia in July 1966, as well as a pre-production Lightning F.1 for ground instructional use.[14] From 1967 the Lightning F.53s operated from the Khamis base, served by radars based at Usram. The last Lightning was delivered in 1972, during Magic Carpet phase IV. Only one plane was lost to enemy fire; it was shot down by ground fire over Yemen on 3 May 1970, just before peace was declared.
    Kuwait also ordered 14 Lightnings in December 1966, comprising 12 F.53Ks and two T.55Ks. The Kuwaitis somewhat overestimated their ability to maintain such a complex aircraft, and the Lightnings were phased out of service very quickly; the last ones were replaced by Dassault Mirage F1s in 1977. Thanks to this mistake, Kuwait is one of the countries richest in Lightnings on static display; according to Intelligence sources,[15] the Al Jaber air base has three Lightnings on display.
    [edit]Performance


    Lightning XM215 at Farnborough Air Show, England, in 1964
    [edit]Speed
    The maximum speed of the Lightning varied with the model. The early models, the F.1, F.1A, and F.2, had a rated top speed of Mach 1.7 at 36,000 ft in an ICAO standard atmosphere, and 650 KIAS (Knots Indicated Airspeed) at lower altitudes.[4][16] The later models, the F.2A, F.3, F.3A, F.6, and F.53, had a rated top speed of Mach 2.0 at 36,000 ft, and speeds up to 700 KIAS for “operational necessity only.”[6][7][9][17] These were service limits, and were exceeded on occasion, but when the bases for these limits are understood, some of the “Lightning lore” associated with higher speeds can be placed into perspective.
    The first basis for these limits was excess thrust. With the Avon 200-series engines, an early model Lightning with a ventral tank and two Firestreak missiles would run out of excess thrust at Mach 1.9 on a Standard Day.[18] With the Avon 300-series engines, a Lightning with a ventral tank and two Red Top missiles would run out of excess thrust at Mach 2.0 on a Standard Day.[5] As excess thrust decreases toward zero, acceleration slows, and fuel to achieve the last few tenths of a Mach could be prohibitive.
    Another basis was aerodynamic stability. As Mach number increases, directional stability decreases. This decrease in stability can become critical with asymmetric missile carriage or adverse yaw induced by aileron deflection. Failure of the vertical fin could occur if yaw is not rapidly corrected with the rudder.[nb 2] Stability degradation led to the imposition of Mach limits on missile launch[nb 3] and to the adoption of a larger vertical fin on later Lightning variants to provide more stability margin at high Mach numbers.[10]
    Inlet stability was also an issue as Mach number increased. At supersonic speed, the central shock cone served as a compression surface to divert air into the annular inlet. The cone would generate an oblique shock, and the angle of this shock would increase with Mach number. As the Lightning accelerated through Mach 1, the oblique shock would be positioned in front of the intake lip. This is termed a subcritical inlet condition, and although not efficient, it is stable. In a sub-critical inlet, some portion of the compressed air is diverted outside of the inlet lip, causing spillage drag. When Mach number reached the Design Mach number, the oblique shock would be positioned just in front of the inlet lip. This critical inlet condition is the most efficient, compressing all of the air in front of the inlet with no spillage. As Mach number increases beyond Design Mach, the oblique shock enters the inlet, a condition termed supercritical. In a super-critical condition, the airflow in the inlet duct becomes supersonic. The Lightning’s inlet was designed to handle only subsonic air in the duct, and a super-critical condition would reverse the normal pressure distribution, causing an adverse pressure gradient across the engines. This adverse gradient could lead to engine surge, also called compressor stall, potentially resulting in flameout and/or engine damage. In any case, if the Lightning’s inlet went supercritical, engine thrust would be drastically reduced.
    A supercritical condition could be delayed by translating the shock cone forward with increasing Mach, thus holding the oblique shock ahead of the inlet lip. The goal would be to delay shock ingestion to a Mach number above the speed range of the aircraft. The Lightning’s nose bullet was fixed, however, so a supercritical condition was inevitable if excess thrust enabled the aircraft speed to exceed the inlet’s Design Mach.
    The final bases for the service limits were thermal and structural. When air is compressed by the passage of a high-speed aircraft, that air is heated. This heating increases considerably when the aircraft is traveling at supersonic speed. The front of the aircraft is exposed to the heated air, and the heat is convectively transferred to the airframe. The hottest portion of the aircraft is the nose tip, and in the Lightning’s case, this tip, the inlet shock cone, was constructed of fiberglass. Fiberglass was necessary because the shock cone was also the Lightning’s radome, and a metal shock cone would not pass the AI 23’s radar energy.
    At supersonic speed, the Lightning’s shock cone would be heated, weakening the resin in the fiberglass, and exposing the material to fatigue with the thermal cycles of repetitive high-speed flights. At 36,000 ft and Mach 1.7, the heating conditions on the shock cone would be almost identical to those at Sea Level and 650 KIAS,[nb 4] but if the speed were increased to Mach 2.0 at 36,000 ft, the shock cone would be exposed to temperatures more than 70% higher[nb 5] than those at Mach 1.7. This increase dictated a strengthening of the shock cone to support regular use at speeds up to Mach 2.0 in the Lightning F.2A, F.3, F.6, and F.53.[10] If the shock cone failed in flight, it could result in pressurization loss[nb 6] or, worse, foreign object ingestion and engine damage.
    With the bases for the Lightning’s service limits considered, it is apparent that these limits reasonably accurately reflect the performance of the aircraft itself. The small-fin variants could certainly exceed Mach 1.7,[nb 7] but the stability limits and shock cone thermal/strength limits would make such operation risky. The large-fin variants, especially those equipped with Avon 300-series engines could safely reach Mach 2, and given the right atmospheric conditions, might even achieve a few more tenths of a Mach. It is noteworthy, however, that the same cold conditions that might provide the excess thrust to achieve higher Mach numbers would also decrease the true airspeed at which the airframe and inlet could become unstable.
    All variants of Lightning had the excess thrust to slightly exceed 700 KIAS under certain conditions,[5][18][21] and the service limit of 650 KIAS was occasionally ignored, even when not driven by operational necessity. With the strengthened shock cone, the large-tail Lightning variants could safely approach their thrust limit, but fuel burn at high indicated airspeeds was prodigious, and the Lightning might very well run short before eking-out the last few knots.[nb 8] In all variants of the Lightning, the airspeed indicator scale stopped at 700 KIAS.
    [edit]Climb
    The Lightning possessed a remarkable climb rate, and its time to reach an altitude, or time-to-climb, was exceptional. To achieve this short time-to-climb, Lightnings employed a particular climb profile, which was more shallow in angle compared to that demonstrated at air shows. The Lightning was famous for its ability to rapidly rotate at the end of the runway and climb almost vertically away, but although this near-vertical climb was impressive, it did not yield the best time to altitude, nor was it a demonstration of the ability to sustain a vertical climb. When Lightning pilots performed their trademark tail-stand, they were actually trading airspeed for altitude. The Lightnings would seemingly zoom “out of sight,” accelerating away, when in fact they would slow to near stall before pushing over into level flight. During the optimum time-to-climb profile, the maximum climb angle never exceeded 30 deg.
    The Lightning’s optimum climb profile began with an afterburner takeoff. Immediately after takeoff, the landing gear would be retracted and the nose held down to allow rapid acceleration to 430 KIAS, then a climb initiated and stabilized at 450 KIAS. At this IAS, the climb rate would be constant at approximately 20,000 ft/min.,[5][nb 9] The Lightning would reach Mach 0.87 at 13,000 ft.[nb 10] The pilot would then maintain Mach 0.87 until the tropopause, 36,000 ft. on a standard day. The climb rate would decrease during the constant-Mach portion of the profile.[nb 11] If further climb were required, the Lightning would accelerate to supersonic speed at the tropopause prior to resuming the climb at supersonic speed.[5][7]
    A Lightning flying its optimum climb profile would reach 36,000 ft less than 3 minutes after brake release.[5] This was—and is—impressive performance. That the Lightning never reached the climb rates of some of its contemporaries during this profile was not important; that it reached altitude quickly, was.
    The official ceiling was a secret to the general public and low security RAF documents simply stated 60,000+ ft (18 000+ m), although it was well known within the RAF to be capable of much greater heights; the official maximum altitude mainly being determined by cockpit pressurisation reliability and safety. In September 1962 Fighter Command organized a series of trial supersonic overland interceptions of Lockheed U-2As, temporarily based at RAF Upper Heyford to monitor resumed Soviet nuclear tests, at heights of around 60,000-65,000 ft.[22][23] The trials took place in two stages, the second series consisting of 14 interceptions, including four successful and four abortive ones at 65,000.[24] The late Brian Carroll, a former RAF Lightning pilot and ex-Lightning Chief Examiner, 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" but control-wise it was "on a knife edge".[25]
    In 1984, during a major NATO exercise, Flt Lt Mike Hale intercepted an American U-2 at a height which they had previously considered safe from interception. Records show that Hale climbed to 88,000 ft (26,800 m) in his Lightning F.3 XR749. This was not sustained level flight, but in a ballistic climb or a zoom climb, in which the pilot takes the aircraft to top speed and then puts the aircraft into a climb, trading speed for altitude. The normal service ceiling for this aircraft was 60,000 feet in level flight. Hale also participated in time-to-height and acceleration trials against F-104 Starfighters from Aalborg. He reports that the Lightnings won all races easily with the exception of the low level supersonic acceleration, which was a "dead heat".[26]
    Carroll reports in a side-by-side comparison of the Lightning and the F-15C Eagle (which he also flew) that "acceleration in both was impressive, you have all seen the Lightning leap away once brakes are released, the Eagle was almost as good, and climb speed was rapidly achieved. Takeoff roll is between 2,000 and 3,000 ft [600 to 900 m], depending upon military or maximum afterburner-powered takeoff. The Lightning was quicker off the ground, reaching 50 ft [15 m] height in a horizontal distance of 1,630 feet [500m]".
    In British Airways trials in April 1985, Concorde was offered as a target to NATO fighters including F-15 Eagles, F-16 Fighting Falcons, F-14 Tomcats, Mirages, F-104 Starfighters - but only Lightning XR749, flown by Mike Hale and described by him as "a very hot ship, even for a Lightning", managed to overtake Concorde on a stern conversion intercept.[26] The XR749 now resides at the entrance of Score Group plc's gas turbine testing and servicing facility in Peterhead, Scotland.
    Despite its acceleration, altitude and top speed, the Lightning found itself outclassed by newer fighters in terms of radar, avionics, weapons load, range, and air-to-air capability. More of a problem was the obsolete avionics and weapons fit, particularly the 30 mile (very short) range 1950s radar sets: the avionics were never upgraded in RAF service since the Lightning was always supposedly just about to be replaced by something better.[citation needed]
    Roland Beamont (Lightning development-programme chief test pilot), after flying most of the 2nd generation "Century series" US fighters of that era, made it clear that in his opinion, nothing at that time had the inherent stability and control and docile handling characteristics of the P 1 series prototypes and Lightning derivatives throughout the full flight envelope. Its turn performance and buffet boundaries were well in advance of anything known to him, the Mirage III included.[27] This remained so right up until the next generation of fighter/interceptors was developed worldwide, with underbelly intakes and straked leading edges, or canards.
    [edit]Variants



    Lightning T.4 at Farnborough Airshow, England, in 1964


    Lightning F Mk 6


    English Electric Lightning P.1A at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester


    A U.S. Air Force Sikorsky HH-53C Super Jolly Green Giant helicopter from the 67th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron lifts a derelict former Royal Air Force BAC Lightning fighter at RAF Woodbridge, Suffolk (UK), on 18 December 1987.
    English Electric P.1A
    Single-seat supersonic research aircraft.
    Two prototypes built and one static test airframe
    English Electric P.1B
    Single-seat operational prototypes to meet Specification F23/49.
    Three prototypes built
    20 development aircraft ordered in February 1954, (so-called pre-production or development batch)[28] Type was officially named 'Lightning' in October 1958.
    Lightning F.1
    Single-seat fighter
    Delivered in 1960
    A total of 19 built (and one static test airframe)
    Two × Rolls-Royce Avon 200R engines
    VHF Radio
    Two × 30 mm ADEN cannons in nose
    Two × Firestreak missiles
    Ferranti AI-23 "AIRPASS" radar
    Lightning F.1A
    Single-seat fighter
    Delivered in 1961
    Now the "BAC Lightning"
    Avon 210R engines
    Addition of in-flight refuelling probe
    UHF Radio
    A total of 28 built
    Lightning F.2
    Single-seat fighter (an improved variant of the F.1)
    Delivered in 1962
    A total of 44 built with 31 later modified to F.2A standard
    Five later modified to F.52 for export to Saudi Arabia
    Lightning F.2A
    Single-seat fighter (F.2s upgraded to near F.6 standard)
    A total of 31 converted from F.2
    Avon 211R engines
    Retained ADEN cannon and Firestreak of F.2 (The Firestreak Pack could be replaced with an Aden Cannon Pack to give the aircraft four Aden Cannon)
    Larger Ventral Tank and Arrester Hook
    About two hours endurance
    Lightning F.3
    Single-seat fighter
    Upgraded radar - AI-23B
    Avon 301R engines
    Firestreak changed for Red Top missiles
    Enlarged and clipped tailfin due to aerodynamics of carriage of Red Top
    ADEN cannon removed
    A total of 70 built (at least nine were converted to F.6 standard)
    Lightning F.3A
    Single-seat fighter
    Extended range, 800 miles with large ventral tank
    New cambered wings
    A total of 16 built at the end of F.3 production, known also as an F.3 Interim version or F.6 Interim Version
    A total of 15 modified later to full F.6 standard[28]
    Lightning T.4
    Two-seat side-by-side training version, based on the F.1A.
    Two prototypes and 20 production built
    Two aircraft later converted to T.5 prototypes
    Two aircraft later converted to T.54
    Lightning T.5
    Two-seat side-by-side training version, based on the F.3.
    22 production aircraft built
    One former RAF aircraft later converted to T.55 for Saudi Arabia (crashed before delivery)
    Two former RAF aircraft later civilian operated
    Lightning F.6
    Single-seat fighter (an improved longer-range variant of the F.3)
    New wings with better efficiency and subsonic performance, increased fuel storage
    Overwing fuel tanks and larger ventral fuel tank
    Change back to 30 mm cannons (initially no cannons but later in the forward part of ventral pack rather than in nose).
    Two x Red Top missile
    A total of 39 built (also 9 converted from F.3 and 15 from F.3A)
    Lightning F.52
    Slightly modified ex-RAF F.2 single-seat fighters for export to Saudi Arabia (five converted).
    Lightning F.53
    Export version of the F.6 with pylons for bombs or unguided rocket pods, 44 × 2 in (50 mm)
    A total of 46 built and one converted from F.6 (12 F.53Ks for the Kuwaiti Air Force, 34 F.53s for the Royal Saudi Arabian Air Force, one aircraft crashed before delivery)
    Used air-to-ground in dispute near border with South Yemen in 1969 with great success
    Lightning T.54
    Ex-RAF T.4 two-seat trainers supplied to Saudi Arabia (two converted).
    Lightning T.55
    Two-seat side-by-side training aircraft (export version of the T.5).
    Eight built (six T.55s for the Royal Saudi Arabian Air Force, two T.55Ks for the Kuwaiti Air Force and one converted from T.5 that crashed before delivery)
    Sea Lightning FAW.1
    Proposed two-seat Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm carrier capable variant with variable-geometry wing; not built.
    Total production was 277 single-seat fighters and 52 two-seater trainers, including RAF and export aircraft.

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