Military Photos: The First ‘Lightning’

The original ‘Lightning’ was the U.S. Army Air Force’s first long-range escort fighter

Lockheed P-38 Lightning
Lockheed P-38 Lightning

Although constructed as a long-range escort fighter, the P-38’s that went into service in 1942 were a number of F-4 photo reconnaissance versions. Later, the Lightning was also used as fighter-bomber, night fighter and dive bomber. The ‘Lightning’ was retired from service in the U.S. in 1949 and in most other air forces during the fifties, but the Honduran Air Force kept operating them until 1965.

Designer was Lockheed’s famous Clarence “Kelly” Johnson who in later years was responsible for designing the U-2 and the SR-71, still the fastest plane ever operated by any air force.

You can find some information about the original ‘Lightning’ on the Lockheed website and on Aviation History. It is also worth reading the comprehensive article on Wikipedia.

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