Lockheed F1V Sea Lightning

Gallery Article by Alvis 3.1


Assuming that the island hopping campaign of the Pacific in WW II would require extensive fighter cover, Lockheed looked at modifying their successful P-38 Lightning into a fighter on floats. 


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Designed for use by the Navy, they were rejected by the carrier-happy commanders and shuffled off onto the Marines, recipients of many a rejected Navy plane. However, the Marines loved the Sea Lighning, or C-Fork, as it had tremendous range and hitting power, and a second engine to get you home. Most were capable of jettisioning the floats should this become necessary, but it was rarely done. 

Usually loaded with all sorts of rockets and napalm, the C-Forks wreaked havoc across the south Pacific and right onto the Japanese homeland.  All were scrapped shortly after the war ended, and the only example today, hanging in the Smithsonian, is a modified P-38J with floats, not an authentic F1V.

Alvis 3.1

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Photos and text by Alvis 3.1