Lockheed P-38 Lightning (F-4 Lightning F-5 Lightning)
The P-38 Lightning is a large,
twin engine fighter with a unique and twin boom design and
tricycle landing gear. It was an excellent and stable gun platform.
It served in all theaters of war, and was the mount of many
U. S. Army Air Force aces in the Pacific. Richard I. Bong claimed 40 victories flying P-38s. The P-38 could not out climb the Zero, but had excellent performance
above 20,000'. Its main strength was its high speed, over 50 mph faster than the Zero and heavy armament. In 1944, it cost the U. S. Government for a P-38 manufactured an average of $97,147.
F-4 Lightning Photographic Reconnaissance Version
The F-4 Lightning was the photographic reconnaissance version of the P-38E Lightning with cameras aimed to each side and downward in the nose with the armament removed. The first models were converted at Lockheed at the factory in Burbank. The high speed and high altitude performance of the Lightning was ideally suited for unarmed photographic reconnaissance missions over enemy territory.
F-5A Lightning, F-5B Lightning and F-5E Lightning Photographic Reconnaissance Version
F-5A Lightning and F-5B Lightning were the photographic reconassiance version of the P-38G Lightning. The F-5B Lightning was the photographic reconassiance version of the P-38L Lightning. The conversions were done at a modification center in Texas.
P-38G Lightning Night Fighter
In the South West Pacific Area (SPWA) at the 5th Air Force, 4th Air Depot at Garbutt Field near Townsville, three P-38G Lighnings were converted into night fighters. They were painted overall black with radar set in the nose with antenna on the side of each gun bay. The blast tubes around the guns and cannon to reduce flashes.
Crew One (pilot)
x Allison V-1710 driving 3 bladed propeller
0" / 15.85m
10" / 11.53m
10" / 3.91m
Maximum Speed 390 mph
Range 1,300 miles
Armament (nose) 1 x Hispano 20mm cannon with 150 rounds, 4 x Browning .50 caliber machine guns with 500 rounds per weapon
Wing Hardpoints 2 x drop tanks, bombs or rockets