Lockheed P-38F Lightning

Last revised June 19, 1999

The P-38F version of late 1942 was the first Lightning version that was considered fully combat-ready. It included 377 US-ordered aircraft, plus 150 planes that had originally been ordered under British and French contracts. The P-38F was powered by 1325 hp turbosupercharged Allison V-1710-49/53 engines and had the same armament as did the E-version--one 20-mm cannon and four 0.50-in machine guns. The weight of the P-38F was significantly higher than that of previous versions--empty weight was 12,264 lbs, gross weight was 15,900 lbs, and maximum takeoff weight was 18,000 pounds. Maximum speed was 395 mph at 25,000 feet. An altitude of 20,000 feet could be reached in 8.8 minutes, a bit slower than the climb rate of earlier versions.

There were five separate production batches of the P-38F, differing from each other mainly in internal equipment.

The initial F-version was the P-38F-LO (company designation Model 222-60-09). 128 of these were built.

The next F-version was the P-38F-1-LO (Model 222-60-15), which differed from the P-38F-LO in being modified after delivery to carry a pair of drop tanks or a pair of 1000-lb bombs under the wing center sections. Each rack could also carry a Smoke Curtain Installation or a 22-inch torpedo. This version had SCR-525 and SCR-522 radio. 149 of the P-38F-1-LO version were built.

The P-38F-5-LO (Model 222-60-12) version, of which 100 were built, was built from the onset with provision for drop tanks. It also had revised landing lights, desert equipment, identification lights, and various other minor improvements.

The twenty-nine P-38F-13-LOs and the 212 P-38F-15-LOs were ex-British contract aircraft and were designated Model 322-60-19s by the company. The P-38F-13-LO had modified instruments meeting the British Approved Specification No. 2338. The P-38F-15-LO introduced combat flaps which could be rapidly extended to 8 degrees during maneuvers to tighten the turning radius.

Twenty P-38F-1-LO airframes with 1325 hp V-1710-49/53 engines were completed as F-4A-1-LO (Model 222-60-13) unarmed photo-reconnaissance aircraft with four K-17 cameras in a modified nose. Serials of the F-4A-1-LOs were 41-2362/2381.

The serial numbers of the P-38F/F-4A production batch were as follows:

41-2293/2321 	Lockheed P-38F-LO Lightning 
41-2322 	Lockheed P-38F-1-LO Lightning 
41-2233/2358 	Lockheed P-38F-LO Lightning 
41-2359/2361 	Lockheed P-38F-1-LO Lightning 
41-2362/2381 	Lockheed F-4A-1-LO Lightning 
41-2382/2386 	Lockheed P-38F-LO Lightning 
41-2387 	Lockheed P-38F-1-LO Lightning 
41-2388/2392 	Lockheed P-38F-LO Lightning 
41-7484/7485 	Lockheed P-38F-1-LO Lightning 
41-7486/7496 	Lockheed P-38F-LO Lightning 
41-7497 	Lockheed P-38F-1-LO Lightning 
41-7498/7513 	Lockheed P-38F-LO Lightning 
41-7514/7515 	Lockheed P-38F-1-LO Lightning 
41-7516/7524 	Lockheed P-38F-LO Lightning 
41-7525 	Lockheed P-38F-1-LO Lightning 
41-7526/7530 	Lockheed P-38F-LO Lightning 
41-7531 	Lockheed P-38F-1-LO Lightning 
41-7532/7534 	Lockheed P-38F-LO Lightning 
41-7535 	Lockheed P-38F-1-LO Lightning 
41-7536/7538 	Lockheed P-38F-LO Lightning 
41-7539/7541 	Lockheed P-38F-1-LO Lightning 
41-7542/7543 	Lockheed P-38F-LO Lightning 
41-7544 	Lockheed P-38F-1-LO Lightning 
41-7545/7547 	Lockheed P-38F-LO Lightning 
41-7548/7550 	Lockheed P-38F-1-LO Lightning 
41-7551 	Lockheed P-38F-LO Lightning 
41-7552/7680 	Lockheed P-38F-1-LO Lightning 
42-12567/12666 	Lockheed P-38F-5-LO Lightning 
43-2035/2063 	Lockheed P-38F-13-LO Lightning 
43-2064/2184 	Lockheed P-38F-15-LO Lightning 


  1. Lockheed Aircraft Since 1913, Rene J. Francillon, Naval Institute Press, 1987

  2. The P-38J-M Lockheed Lightning, Profile Publications, Le Roy Weber Profile Publications, Ltd, 1965.

  3. War Planes of the Second World War, Fighters, Volume Four, William Green, Doubleday, 1964.

  4. Famous Fighters of the Second World War, William Green, Doubleday, 1967.

  5. The American Fighter, Enzo Anguluci and Peter Bowers, Orion Books, 1987.

  6. Wings of the Weird and Wonderful, Captain Eric Brown, Airlife, 1985.

  7. United States Military Aircraft since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989.