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Retired from service close to a quarter century ago the English Electric (BAC) Lightning has become a cult subject with aviation enthusiasts, especially those who, like the author, remember seeing this mighty interceptor take to the air. As its Avons roared, it rotated on take-off, snaped in the main undercarriage like a flash, and then sat on its tail to go into a vertical climb disappearing to in the deep blue above, all within a few seconds.On its introduction into service, Royal Air Force squadrons faced a leap of several generations in technology, from the cannon-armed, subsonic Hunter and Javelin to the Mach 2, missile-armed Lightning. Its major task was the defence of Britain’s airspace, while for many years, it became the frontline interceptor in RAF Germany, operating from a base less than 100 miles away from the Iron Curtain. Further afar, Lightning squadrons were based in Cyprus and Singapore.
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