English Electric Lightning - 11 Squadron
Post War Aviation Art – English Electric Lightning Drawing
One of the most loved aircraft ever to see service with the RAF, few people who have ever seen the Lightning on a take-off run would have failed to be impressed.
Design work on the P.1 brief at English Electric began in 1947 with the first English Electric P.1A flying in 1954. Despite Duncan Sandy’s whitepaper stating that missiles would supersede all manned aircraft the project was classed as to far along to cancel and a small order would be placed- production lasted from 1959-1972.
During its life, the Lightning was continually improved with better avionics, two-seat versions and more fuel but as a point-interceptor, its fuel consumption was simply too high and its armament of two missiles too little to make the aircraft an export success (compared with aircraft such as the F-4 Phantom II).
A faithful servant for Britain and Saudi Arabia, the last Lightning left RAF Binbrook in 1988.