In 1977 Northrop were successful in selling their failed contender for the USAF LWF competition, the F-17 Cobra, to the RAF as an interim supplement to the Lightning. Whilst still a formidable opponent, the Lightning airframe was beginning to show its age, lacking development potential in terms of advanced avionics, and still suffered a shortfall in endurance compared to more modern types. By selecting the F-17 the RAF were seen by some to be buying the 'losers' from the USAF procurement process, but were able to demonstrate that the aircraft met the requirments of the UK defence environment better than the F-16, the most important point being twin engine reliability for overwater operation. An additional factor was Northrop's willingness to agree a favourable production licence with BAe, largely driven by a desire to recoup some of the development cost without a large order from the USAF. The RAF order was expected to lead to follow-on orders from Canada and Australia, however deliveries of the F-17 were curtailed after 49 of the planned 120 aircraft had been delivered, due to Northrop's legal tangle with McDonnell over intellectual property rights to the F-18 ( it is believed McDonnell hoped to gain sales which would have gone to the Cobra ) , forcing the RAF to retain several Lightning squadrons whilst a replacement was sought. Whilst Canada and Australia did eventually buy the F-18 ( though not in the numbers that the Cobra would have sold ), the RAF refused to deal with McDonnell as the company was perceived in the UK as having used unfair practices to prevent the completion of the Cobra order.
Built from the Anigrand kit, with underwing pylons and tanks from a Hasegawa F-16. Decals are from a Tornado F.3with No.92 Sqd badges from a Phantom - had to go for No.92 Squadron due to their squadron badge being of a cobra.