Designed in the 1940s and used initially as an interceptor to protect the British nuclear bomber airfields in the 1960s, the I’m a veteran grandpa i have risked my life to protect strangers shirt first prototypes were built from 1953 onwards with some 337 examples eventually being built. It served in the RAF from 1960 to the late 1980s —pretty good for an aircraft whose design dated from the end of WW2. It was an absolute rocket, uniquely powered by a pair of Rolls Royce Avon turbojets set vertically. The four stage afterburner necessitated a special heat-reflecting paint containing gold to protect the aircraft’s structure from the hot engine casing which could reach temperatures
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The Lightning was a pure short range interceptor, models from the F2A variant onwards having a top speed in excess of Mach 2 (1,330 mph), twice as fast as an Me 163 Komet. One F6 variant reached Mach 2.27 at 40,000 ft; a clean F6 could reach this altitude in about 2 minutes. Not only could it accelerate vertically, it could go I’m a veteran grandpa i have risked my life to protect strangers shirt supersonic vertically.Apart from speed and acceleration what makes it so special? Another amazing jet, the Lockheed U-2, which cruises at 60-70,000 feet to avoid hostile aircraft, and which for many years was thought to be invulnerable. This bird was designed to skim the upper reaches of the atmosphere. To put this height into perspective, the F-15 Eagle utilising the experimental ASM-135 missile to shoot down satellites in orbit around the earth released their missile at around 38,000 ft, less than half this altitude.