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Lightning Air Data Computer

Technical Information

Catalogue No: C0283
Category: Air Data
Object Type: Signal/Data Processor
Object Name: Lightning Air Data Computer
Part No: 3D5606/1
Serial No: 088/62
Manufacturer: Elliott Bros
Division: Unknown
Platform(s): Lightning 
Year of Manufacture: 1962
Width (mm):
Height (mm):
Depth (mm):
Weight (g):
Location: Main Object Store

ADC Mk 1A Type B
Type No. 3D5606/1
Ser. No. 088/62
ADS No. 6, 16, 20, 29, 33, 41, 42, 43, 59, 62, 65, 70, 79, 5, 95, 100, 111, 129, 168.


The Lightning was the RAF’s first fighter capable of achieving Mach 2 in level flight but also the first designed as an integrated weapon system. The first prototype flew in August 1954. Elliott’s designed a wide range of equipment for the Lightning.
The Air Data Computer computations are done with mechanical gears and cams which translate the sensor inputs into analogue output signals.

The inputs sensed are ratio of static to dynamic pressure and static pressure, angle of attack and total temperature. The function of the computer is to form a central source of indicated airspeed, true airspeed, height, Mach number and related signals required for flight instruments, autopilots, navigation, weapon aiming and similar systems.

This unit was made in 1962 and is from the Lightning ZF581 which stood as a ‘Gate Guardian’ at Rochester for many years. Without the covers the complexity of the analogue electro-mechanical design with its four large electrical (Plessey type) connections on front panel can be seen in this early example of an Air Data Computer. Six of the related Transistor Amplifier Modules can be seen along one side of the unit.

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