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