Ian Black explains why the Lightning was fitted with cannon and what it was like pressing the firing button



Live armed F.6s hold formation. The gun pack is located in the forward part of the ventral tanks.

The English Electric Lightning had a turbulent affair with the air-to-air cannon. The aircraft was conceived in an era of rocket technology and was often described as a ‘missile with a man in it’. From the outset, designers sought the best way to incorporate a gun as part of an overall weapons package.

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