Friday, October 6, 2017

F-117 Stealth Fighter Set for Permanent Retirement

The F-117A Nighthawk, the world's first operational stealth combat jet, was officially retired in 2008. Although the plane is occasionally sighted in the skies over Nevada and elsewhere, the F-117A is now poised to fade away for good. The fleet of what were once the most advanced jets in the world is set to be grounded permanently.

The F-117A Nighthawk was developed in the early 1980s after extensive research and development into the new field, of "stealth," or making aircraft difficult to detect by radar. The Air Force and Lockheed designed, manufactured, and flew 59 Nighthawks in total secrecy. The stealth "fighter," which was actually a high-altitude bomber, was meant to penetrate advanced Soviet air defenses and destroy high-value targets with laser-guided bombs.

The F-117A first flew in Operation Just Cause, the Invasion of Panama, in 1989, dropping two 2,000 pound bombs on the Panamanian Defense Forces in the opening minutes of the invasion. Later the planes flew against Iraq in 1991, against Yugoslavia in 1999, Afghanistan in 2001, and over Iraq again in 2003.

The Nighthawk fleet was sent into retirement in 2008, largely due to the fielding of bomb-carrying F-22A Raptors. The planes were stored in "flyable storage" condition, meaning they could be rapidly reassembled and brought back to the flight line if necessary.
F-117 Stealth Fighter Set for Permanent Retirement Rating: 4.5 Posted by: Minato Namikaze