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Lightning Mk.III's with RAF SEAC

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Lockheed P-38J Lightning Mk.III - No.33 Squadron, RAF South East Asia Command, 1944


In April 1940, the Anglo-French Purchasing Committee ordered from Lockheed 667 examples of the Model 322 P-38 Lightning but, foolishly, asked for the aircraft to be fitted with Allison V-1710-15 engines with right-hand rotation and without turbo-superchargers so as to make the engines interchangeable with those fitted to the Curtiss P-40 Tomahawks which had also been purchased by both nations in large numbers. The Anglo-French Purchasing Committee were also aware of the problems being experienced by the U.S. War Department by the slow delivery of turbo-superchargers and did not want to introduce any delays due to the urgency of the war situation in Europe. 


Within a few weeks France had fallen so the entire contract for the Model 322 Lightnings was taken over by Britain who soon realised their mistake and amended their order to 143 Lightning Mk.I's with Allison V-1710-15 engines and 524 Lightning Mk.II's with Allison turbo-supercharged V-1710-F5L and -F5R engines. However, early flight-testing of the Lightning Mk.I's at Boscombe Down revealed poor performance and tricky handling and the RAF flatly refused to accept any more deliveries. Whilst the early Lightning Mk.I's were absorbed into USAAF service as fighter trainers the non-acceptance of the 524 Lightning Mk.II's became a long-running contractual issue at Government level.


During 1942 Lockheed became aware of the collaborative efforts of North American and Rolls-Royce to fit the two-stage Merlin 61 engine to the P-51B Mustang and soon offered a Merlin-powered Lightning to an eager USAAF as the P-38K and large production orders were placed for this new variant powered by the Packard V-1650-3 engine based on the Merlin 68 and rated at 1,670 hp (1,245 kW) at 3,000 rpm. By early 1943 massive production of two-stage Merlin engines was underway at both Packard at Detroit and at Continental at Muskegon and Lockheed confidently offered the British Government this new Lightning variant as a multi-role fighter for the RAF in the Far East and the British Government quickly agreed to accept 524 examples as the Lightning Mk.III to settle the simmering contractual dispute.


Entering service as the Lightning Mk.III with No.45 Squadron in Burma in January 1944 the aircraft served with a total of nine squadrons in the Far East and continued in service well past VJ-Day playing an important role in the Malaya emergency where two squadrons (No.33 and No.45) were sent to Kuala Lumper to operate against Communist terrorists as part of 'Operation Firedog' during 1948 and 1949 before being replaced by Meteor FB.6's during 1950.














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nice, can you nrelease the decals? i realize it is a dat model.

Sorry mate, but it's a bit more complicated than that.

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Everything but their proprietary lods can be uploaded. As can be seen in the WW2 aircraft downloads here.


of course, that's exceedingly unfair to those without DAT access.


then again, anyone with a modicum of skill could add those decals to Wolf's Lightning (mind you, some data ini work to create a nation specific version would be required. )

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