English Electric/BAC Lightning F.6 XR728/JS, RAF Binbrook Station Commander's aircraft, liveried as Lightning Training Flight. Now preserved by the Lightning Preservation Group, Bruntingthorpe Airfield Leicestershire.
If the Supermarine Spitfire is considered to be Britain's most famous piston engined fighter, then its direct jet powered counterpart was certainly the superlative English Electric Lightning. Representing a huge leap in aviation technology the Lightning introduced the concept of an integrated weapons system, whereby its Ferranti radar acquired hostile targets and fed this information to the pilot to launch its air to air missiles with the optimum profile. It possessed incredible performance, becoming the most capable interceptor fighter in the world when first introduced in 1960 and Britain's primary interceptor for the following two decades. Nine RAF squadrons were equipped with the type and defended UK, Near and Far East and the former West German airspace. With unique vertically stacked Rolls Royce Avon engines, the Lightning could boast speed and climb performance statistics which would eclipse most of today's fighter aircraft and was the World's first aircraft capable of supercruise (supersonic flight without using reheat). It was likened by pilots lucky enough to fly this aviation hot-rod as being, 'saddled to a skyrocket'. As the only all-British built Mach 2 plus/1500mph capable fighter aircraft, this Cold War warrior occupies a unique place in aviation history and remains as one of the finest achievements of the British aviation industry. It was exported to both Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. At the time, the Saudi contract represented the UK's largest ever export order. The Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) bestowed the Lightning with its coveted Engineering Heritage Award which recognises innovation and excellence in engineering.
The Lightning Preservation Group is an organisation dedicated to preserving the Cold War legacy of the magnificent English Electric Lightning at their Bruntingthorpe Airfield site. The custodians of Lightning F.6 XR728/JS for over 29 years, the LPG team managed to keep the aircraft in ground running condition, which stands as testament to their professionalism and steadfast dedication. This aviation icon of Britain's air defence capability during the most volatile period since the end of the Second World War was stored for many years in the open air, which is never ideal for a historic aircraft. In 1994, the group secured a genuine Cold War Quick Reaction Alert Q shed, which was formerly stationed at RAF Wattisham, where it housed a pair of Lightnings. Following a successful fund raising campaign, the newly erected Q shed was opened in 2010 and now protects Lightning XR728 and her stablemate XS904 from the elements, as well as being the focal point for many of the popular LPG enthusiast events arranged each year.
In 2017 XR728 celebrates her 50th anniversary of entering RAF service in 1967 with 23 Squadron at RAF Leuchars.
Model features include detailed crew ladder, blanking plates for intakes and jet pipes, accurate missiles, optional undercarriage up or down and optional open canopy.