With so many different aircraft in Strike Fighters it is often the case of selecting an aircraft and fudging it around the skies with only vague recollection of how the radar works and how it is supposed to handle because you didn’t have the time to refresh. The Last of the Lightnings is a mod that unusually for SF2 centers mainly on getting familiar with a certain type of aircraft and its systems. You might even term it DCS lite however I can’t imagine seeing any of the aircraft in this mod featuring in that sim in my lifetime.
So, what is it about?
The Last of the Lightnings (by comrpnt) is a set of scripted single missions (like YAP) that take the player through an RAF Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) training program and is based on the writings of ex Lightning and F-4 pilot Ian Black. This takes place in 1976 and you are flying the English Electric Lightning F.mk6.
The what you say? or as FastCargo once stated before being put under court martial by the USAF for blasphemy [or not].
The Lightning was the last fully designed British supersonic fighter to enter service and its only requirement seems to have been performance above everything else [especially fuel]. Strike Fighters 2 comes with all seven of the single seat variants:
Lightning F.mk1 Lightning F.mk1A Lightning F.mk2 Lightning F.mk2A Lightning F.mk3 Lightning F.mk6 Lightning F.mk53 Okay if you are wondering where your Lightnings are then you didn’t buy SF2 Expansion Pack 2 did you, in which case you are one of the reasons TK is now doing crappy phone games only………[hey his words] not to make you feel too guilty!
Shame really because it comes with some of the best 3D pits Thirdwire ever did, and probably unique as far as combat sims go with the Lightning:
The centrepiece of the mod is a pdf guide that must have taken some time to do and is quite detailed in places.
So the point of this is that you will be learning to fly the Lightning or at least be better at it. On Hard flight model (~SFM in DCS) it can be tricky to handle so you will be dragged through formation landings, flying, A-A refueling and even learn how to use the radar to properly intercept targets and actually read the radar symbology. Some of this should be useful for other aircraft at least.
So yes you need SF2E and SF2 Exp 2 to run this minimum. I was running this from a full merged install, of which I created a separate install by copying the game exe file and running that to create a new Mod folder called LastOfTheLightnings for it.
Full instructions are on the PDF and is mostly drag and drop with some ini file editing. For the training rounds I created new folders in the weapons folder and not the old-fashioned way recommended.
So once up and running I added mods and changed them as I went through the course. Because of the changes that come with the mod I only changed the terrain tiles, runway, and sky using Better Widesky (Cellisky/Orsin). I have also put in mods to give more head movement and darker nights.
Up and running
Firstly, you go to single mission only and choose the missions using the date code e.g.  then ignore the text the game puts in because it is wrong [only go by the date code to get the correct mission per the guide].
Check your loadout - obviously the training rounds should be there otherwise don’t touch or change anything just look at the map and then launch.
So you start either on the runway or the taxi way on these missions.
At the beginning the tricky parts are landing on formation with your Qualified Flying instructor (QFI) and playing chase the QFI. Especially at night you need to be on your feet to keep track of the guy initially!
You are then given instruction on how A-A refueling should be done, e.g. fly in formation on the port side before refueling then fly formation on the starboard wing. You then have to try it at night and in clouds.
Yes the amazing Ravenclaw Bucc is in this pack.
The Intercept phase is interesting and you will be going after low and high targets before flying in formation with them, so you will need to learn what those dots and lines mean
After basic intercepts you get to do ACM against the pesky aggressor F-4Ms, although don’t pay too much attention to the instruction for this because they will spam those AIM-7s at you, luckily they are only training rounds [if you installed them properly] and wont kill you.
Next live weapons are used to intercept remote controlled unmanned drones (Hunters). The early ones fly straight but the later ones give you problems by turning a lot.
After basic strafing there is a pretty cool finale for your graduation, firstly you fly an F-4M as a photo chase plane:
Then you get to fly position 9 in a graduation formation fly over of RAF Jever.
Final salute to comrpnt for a fine job six years later.