Stormbringer: The English Electric Lightning

Blessed with power in abundance, the English Electric Lightning was the only all-British Mach 2 fighter. The revered and famously noisy jet served the UK well for almost 30 years, as Bertie Simmonds reveals

 

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In this image, captured at an Armament Practice Camp in Akrotiri, Cyprus, armourers prepare the aircraft’s Firestreak missile
MOD/CROWN COPYRIGHT 1963

Few British aircraft since the Supermarine Spitfire have inspired such love and devotion as the English Electric Lightning. Designed in the 1950s, at a time of urgent need for faster interceptors, the Lightning was a long-lived servant of the UK during the Cold War period. Only 337 examples were built, but its legacy lives on in the relatively large number of survivors, a few of which are kept in ground running condition.

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