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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Military Photos: A Flight of Ospreys

A sight to behold: four MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft in formation en-route from Afghanistan to the Arabian Sea.

Four MV-22 Ospreys
Four MV-22 Ospreys with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261 (Image Copyright U.S. Marine Corps)

The shot was taken from a KC-130J tanker that escorted the Ospreys from Helmand in Afghanistan to meet the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7) in the Arabian Sea.

More about the aircraft in service with the U.S. Marine Corps on their website and on the Marine Corps MV-22 fact sheet.

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Military Photos: F-35C Lightning II

Lockheed Martin F-35 C (test aircraft CF-1)

Lockheed Martin F-35C Lightning II
Lockheed Martin F-35C Lightning II armed with AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles (U.S. Navy photo courtesy Lockheed Martin/Released)

This image shows the first flight of the carrier-based variant armed with Sidewinders on the outer hard points. The test happened on 27 June out of Patuxent River AFB, Maryland.

The F-35C has larger control and wing surfaces, a reinforced landing gear and – ultimately – an arrester hook to enable operation from a conventional aircraft carrier. So far, the only customer for the F-35C is the U.S. Navy.

Find more information about the F-35 in general on Lockheed’s dedicated F-35 website and about the U.S Navy at

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BUFF at 60!

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Military Photos: F-35C Lightning II

Here a brand new shot of a F-35C (that’s the carrier version):

F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter
An F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft takes off during an evening flight (U.S. Navy photo by Andy Wolfe/Released)

The image shows a Lockheed Martin F-35C test aircraft lifting off into the evening sky from NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. The F-35C is going to be the U.S. Navy’s first real stealth-fighter, it is fitted with an arrester hook and has a strengthened cell and landing gear compared to the other versions.

More about the F-35C on the website of Lockheed Martin.

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Military Photos: Saab JAS-39 Gripen

Saab JAS-39 Gripen:

Saab JAS-39 Gripen multi-role fighter
Saab JAS-39 Gripen multi-role fighter (Image Copyright Johann Brandstätter / JB Photography)

The Swedish fighter is operated by the air forces of Sweden, Thailand, South Africa, Hungary, Czech Republic and the in UK  by the Empire  Test Pilot’s School. The aircraft above was displayed during the Bulgarian Aviation Festival 2011 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

More information about the Gripen on the Saab website, image galleries from the Bulgarian Aviation Festival 2011 at JB Photography.

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Military Photos: F-35B Lightning II

Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II

Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II
Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II (Photo Courtesy Lockheed Martin)

Head-on view of an F-35B in parking position. Note the open white-painted cover behind the cockpit: this is the air inlet for the engine used for vertical take-offs and -landings. Only the B-version has STOVL (Short Take-Off/Vertical Landing) capability. Customers for the F-35B are the U.S. Marine Corps and the Royal Navy.

More information about the F-35 in all its variants can be found on

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