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 DUXFORD

The English Electric Lightning was developed to bring the RAF into the supersonic age.

Even in its prototype stage, the Lightning broke the sound barrier. With further development, it was able to fly at twice the speed of sound.


The aircraft’s power to weight ratio meant that it could exceed the speed of sound even in a vertical climb. It was an incredible leap forward in performance and technology.


The idea behind the Lightning was that it would be used as a point interceptor, much like the Spitfires and Hurricanes in the Battle of Britain. Initially, it was designed to guard the V bomber bases that housed the Vulcan, the Victor and the Valiant.  


Duxford’s English Electric Lightning, XM135, has a particularly interesting story. In 1966 it survived a fortuitous landing at RAF Lyneham in the hands of Wing Commander Walter ‘Taffy’ Holden.


Watch the video on our YouTube channel to hear the story and learn more about the development of the English Electric Lightning.