Lockeed P-38 Lightning
- Crew: One
- Length: 37 ft 10 in (11.53 m) (11.53 m)
- Wingspan: 52 ft 0 in (15.85 m) (15.85 m)
- Height: 12 ft 10 in (3.91 m) (3.91 m)
- Powerplant: 2 × Allison V-1710-111/113 V-12 piston engine, 1,725 hp
- Maximum speed: 443 mph (713 km/h) (712 km/h)
- Range: 1,300 mi (2,100 km) combat (1,770 km / 3,640 km)
- Service ceiling: 44,000 ft (13,000 m) (13,400 m)
- Armament 1× Hispano M2(C) 20 mm cannon, 4× Browning MG53-2 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns,. 4× M10 three-tube 4.5 in (112 mm) rocket launchers
The Lockheed P-38 Lightning was a World War II American fighter aircraft built by Lockheed. Developed to a United States Army Air Corps requirement, the P-38 had distinctive twin booms and a single, central nacelle containing the cockpit and armament.
Named “fork-tailed devil” by the Luftwaffe and “two planes, one pilot” by the Japanese, the P-38 was used in a number of roles, including dive bombing, level bombing, ground-attack, photo reconnaissance missions, and extensively as a long-range escort fighter when equipped with drop tanks under its wings.
The Lockeed P-38 Lightning was used most successfully in the Pacific Theater of Operations and the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations. In the South West Pacific theater, the P-38 was the primary long-range fighter of United States Army Air Forces until the appearance of large numbers of P-51D Mustangs toward the end of the war.
The Lockeed P-38 Lightning was unusually quiet for a fighter, the exhaust muffled by the turbo-superchargers. It was extremely forgiving, and could be mishandled in many ways, but the rate of roll was too slow for it to excel as a dogfighter. The P-38 was the only American fighter aircraft in production throughout American involvement in the war, from Pearl Harbor to Victory over Japan Day.