F-117: A long, storied history that is about to end

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Captain
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Nov 9, 2005
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10/28/2006 - HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFPN) -- After 25 years of storied service, the F-117 Nighthawk, the Air Force's first stealth fighter, is about to retire. The technology that once made it a unique weapon system has now caught up to it and newer fighter aircraft are now joining the fleet. Still, the Nighthawk was the first of its kind, a fact anyone who has spent time around the aircraft is quick to point out.

Many of these people were gathered here Oct. 29 to commemorate 25 years of Nighthawk history at the Silver Stealth ceremony. Members of the F-117 community, past and present, were on hand to pay homage to the aircraft's illustrious history, a history that contains as many secrets as it does legends.

More info and pics:http://www.af.mil/news/story_media.a...ryID=123030185
 

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10/28/2006 - HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFPN) -- After 25 years of storied service, the F-117 Nighthawk, the Air Force's first stealth fighter, is about to retire. The technology that once made it a unique weapon system has now caught up to it and newer fighter aircraft are now joining the fleet. Still, the Nighthawk was the first of its kind, a fact anyone who has spent time around the aircraft is quick to point out.

Many of these people were gathered here Oct. 29 to commemorate 25 years of Nighthawk history at the Silver Stealth ceremony. Members of the F-117 community, past and present, were on hand to pay homage to the aircraft's illustrious history, a history that contains as many secrets as it does legends.

More info and pics:http://www.af.mil/news/story_media.a...ryID=123030185


Often being the first is not the best position to be in. Just like the USS Monitor and the HMS Dreadnought, which were revolutionary but overshadowed quickly by technology, the F-117 was too limited and inflexible in what it could do and RCS technology quickly made the F-117 stealth techniques obsolete. The plane is revolutionary and historic and lived up to its promise with devastating accuracy and will always be the representive of stealth. The F-35, with similar stealth and much greater capability will perform its tasks.
 
That second pic is by Tyson Rininger. He is quite a good shooter. Hell of a good attack airplane. I don't know how it ever got the F designation. I am glad that I got a chance to get some good shots of it. I think I will get a few more before they are completely gone.
 

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I think it could launch an AAM from the weapons-bay. I think that is why it got the F- designation. I think it was intended to have a dual-purpose of attacking high priority air-defence targets as well as being able to sneak in and take out enemy AWACs capability. When the aircraft flew in the 1980s it was still possible that the Cold War could turn into a Hot War. I have heard that the B-2 Spirit can also launch AAMs from the weapons-bay too. I know that the B-2s and F-117s are intended to neutralize any ground-based threats from vehicle-launched ICBMs... I think though that being able to launch an AAM is a matter of having the right electronics and I know that the electronics of the F-117 and B-2 are intended to be able to launch a large variety of weapons...
 
I think it could launch an AAM from the weapons-bay. I think that is why it got the F- designation. I think it was intended to have a dual-purpose of attacking high priority air-defence targets as well as being able to sneak in and take out enemy AWACs capability. When the aircraft flew in the 1980s it was still possible that the Cold War could turn into a Hot War. I have heard that the B-2 Spirit can also launch AAMs from the weapons-bay too. I know that the B-2s and F-117s are intended to neutralize any ground-based threats from vehicle-launched ICBMs... I think though that being able to launch an AAM is a matter of having the right electronics and I know that the electronics of the F-117 and B-2 are intended to be able to launch a large variety of weapons...


The F-117 was designed as a "bomber" from the beginning, there was never any serious thought in giving the aircraft air-to-air capability - I worked on the program briefly in the early 80s.

After the first F-117s were rolling down the line, Lockheed really wanted the "ASB" or "ATB" contract. They were teamed with Rockwell, as we know a team of Northrop, Boeing and LTV got the program and thus the B-2 was born.

It is folklore that the F-117 got it's designation as the result of an error made when the first -1 (flight manual) was produced. It seems the office that released the document had a chronological file and the document number for the F-117 was "F-117." A week later a presentation was made to the USAF and F-117 was the title. Again this is Lockheed folklore and I'm sure someday we'll hear the real story.

When I was on the program it was just known as "the article."
 
YEP! :lol: Actually I heard the term "aerial asset." I guess it went from "article" to "aerial asset" after it flew!!! :rolleyes:
 
The story I heard was that at the time fighters were the latest political fad and attack aircraft got lower funding so the AF decided on the "F" to aid in procurement.
 
Could be, but I really did think that there was something in the avionics that meant it could launch ATA missiles if necessary. I mean there are certain air targets you might want to get secretly... Such as Soviet Air Command Assets at the time the F-117 was procured and first flown...
 
Could be, but I really did think that there was something in the avionics that meant it could launch ATA missiles if necessary.

Absolutely not - if there was they (The USAF) never let any one from the factory in on it, and tech reps would of had to know that to do the required PDMs and avionics upgrades that were being done up to 3 years ago...
 
Okay, I can remember reading that somewhere but it sounds to be just misinformation although what is the difference between launching a ATG missile and an ATA besides the accuracy required for the ATA?
 

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