Aircraft on Display

English Electric Lightning/BAC Lightning T.5 XS420

XS 420 in service

XS 420 in service

The Lightning was the first and only interceptor/fighter designed and built in Britain capable of achieving supersonic speeds in level flight. Powered by two Rolls-Royce Avon turbojets, this was a complex machine with an armament of twin cannons and de Havilland Firestreak or Red Top missiles. Its primary role was to defend against hostile sub/supersonic bombers during the Cold War. In this capacity, it contributed to the nation’s Quick Reaction Alert until the last two squadrons, 5 and 11, were retired from RAF Binbrook in December 1987 and April 1988, respectively.

A unique feature of the Lightning is the vertically staggered configuration of its engines within the fuselage, designed to reduce the frontal area necessary for supersonic flight. To best perform interceptions, emphasis was placed on high rate-of-climb, acceleration and speed.

The Lightning at FAST is T.5 XS420, a two seat training variant of the F.3. It is on loan to the museum from Richard Hall.

Technical Specifications

Crew : 2
Length : 16.84m (55ft 3in)
Wingspan : 10.62m (34ft 10in)
Height : 5.97m (19ft 7in)
Engine : 2 Rolls Royce Avon Mk.302 afterburning turbojet
Thrust (each engine) : 28.3KN (12,600 lbf) dry 36.6kN (16,300 lbf) reheat
Maximum Speed : 2,414 km/h (1500mph) at 40,000ft
Service Ceiling : 18,000m (60,000ft)
Empty Weight : 14,092 kg (31,069)lb
Loaded Weight : 18,632 kg (41,076 lb)
Range : 1,367km (849 miles)

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