Entering RAF squadron service in 1960, the Lightning represented a quantum leap in capability and performance over the RAF’s previous interceptor jets, offering Mach 2+ performance as well as a phenomenal rate of climb. Until its retirement in the 1980s, the Lightning had few rivals for outright speed and climbing ability. However it was hampered by short range and a poor selection of armament. Its accident rate was also alarming. Replaced by the Tornado F3, the Lightning however remains the ultimate Cold War interceptor.