Army issued specification X-608, called for heavily armed interceptor.
13 April 1937
Lockheed submit their Model 22 Pursuit Plane
23 June 1937
USAAF issues contract for construction of the XP-38 prototype.
Model 22 altered to use engines that rotated in opposite directions.
XP-38 completed at Lockheed’s Burbank plant, then disassembled for move to March Field
Roll-out of re-assembled XP-38 at March Field
27 January 1939
First flight of the XP-38 nearly ends in disaster due to flap failure, but aircraft is saved by the test pilot, Lt. Ben Kelsey
11 February 1939
XP-38 lost at end of record breaking trans-continental flight
27 April 1939
Contract awarded to construct thirteen YP-38s
20 September 1939
Order placed for the first sixty six production aircraft.
British first to call the P-38 the Lightning
5 June 1940
British take over a French order for 667 P-38s
First YP-38 rolled out
17 September 1940
First test flight of the YP-38
Flight tests of the YP-38 begin.
Deliveries of P-38-LO begins
Deliveries of P-38D begin.
P-38E enters service
Three Lightning Mk Is reach Britain for tests, but are rejected by the RAF
P-38-LO redesignated as restricted duties RP-38
P-38F enters service
First missions for the F-4-1 Photo Lighting, with the 8th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron, based in Australia
P-38G enters service
F-5A-1 enters service
4 August 1942
First combat victory for the P-38, over a Mavis flying boat in the Aleutian Islands
14 August 1942
First combat victory over the Luftwaffe, when a P-38D based on Iceland shot down a Fw 200 Condor over the Atlantic.
11 November 1942
14th Fighter Group goes operational with P-38 (North Africa)
P-38H-5 enters services
c. July 1943
P-38H appears in Pacific
P-38J becomes standard model.
P-38L deliveries begin.
5 January 1945
First flight of an operational P-38M Night Lightning