During the World War II, the Lockheed P-38 Lightning was an American heavy fighter aircraft used by the US Air Force. Developed to a United States Army Air Corps requirement, the P-38 had distinctive twin booms and a single, central nacelle containing the pilot and armament. The aircraft was used in a number of different roles, including dive bombing, level bombing, ground strafing, photo reconnaissance missions, and extensively as a long-range escort fighter when equipped with droppable fuel tanks under its wings. The P-38 had the same power plants as the YP-38, but armament was changed to one 37-mm cannon and four 0.50-in machine guns. Armor plate and bulletproof glass was added for pilot protection, and fluorescent instrument lighting was provided for night flying. Designed by Engineer Clarence “Kelly” Johnson, the P-38 Lightning flew for the first time on January 27 1939.
The P-38J model of Lightning, fastest of the all Lightning series, was one of the most widely used aircraft during the World War II. Compared to previous models of Lightning, P-38J has an improved propeller to help with speed and climb, more powerful pair of engines, greater armament, minor inter-generational tweaks and boosted ailerons made it much easier to handle and very effective. Used in Europe during World War II, the Germans called it the ""Forked Tail Devil.""