The Lightning F.6 was a single-seat, twin-engined, fighter interceptor, of all-metal stressed-skin construction, powered by Rolls-Royce Avon turbojets with re-heat. Its initial rate of climb was a colossal 50,000 feet per minute. Its service ceiling was 60,000 feet and its maximum speed Mach 2.27 at 40,000 feet. Its range, with ventral tanks, was 800 miles.
XS903 was built at Salmesbury and made its first flight on 17 August 1966 and joined 5 Squadron at Binbrook. It made a nosewheel-up landing at Coningsby on 14 September 1979. Following various spells with 11 Squadron, or in store, XS903 returned to 5 Squadron to go to Akrotiri in Cyprus. By July 1987, it was back with 11 Squadron and it lost a part of its rudder in flight and had to make an emergency landing on 4 August of that year.
The Lightning was flown to Elvington for preservation on 18 May 1988, by Wing Commander ‘Jake’ Jarron, Commanding Officer of 11 Squadron.