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originally posted by: Zaphod58
So I got to thinking the other night (yes it did kinda hurt). When the F-117 came out, as I'm sure most of us have heard, the rumor is that there was a sister that came out at the same time. Its mission was supposed to be finding and lasing targets for the Nighthawks, as well as other things.
Now I've heard that it's still flying as of this year, which makes me think it moved on to doing the same for other aircraft after the Nighthawk went away.
Soon we're going to have at least one new bomber entering the fleet. Now this aircraft could do the same mission for it, but it's getting long in the tooth, and is probably reaching the point where upgrades are going to be problematical.
Which got me to wondering, what if, in addition to developing a new bomber, they're also developing a new escort for it. It would only make sense that it would have some kind of escort that is stealthy, and you'd need something more advanced than a thirty plus year old design. It would also explain the rash of odd sightings lately (a couple I've had too).
originally posted by: Shadowhawk
a reply to: Zaphod58
The F-117A was designed to operate alone. Requiring a companion aircraft would have added vast layers of unnecessary complexity, operational risk, and unwanted expense. Alone, the F-117A was a classic Skunkworks project: cutting edge for the time, yet relatively simple; effective as designed; and a bargain at $46 million per unit. Deploying the airplane into combat with a companion would have doubled the number of targets (however stealthy) being exposed to hostile airspace. It was little short of a miracle that all of the Nighthawks came through unscathed during Desert Storm. It seems to me that adding a companion would have also violated the Skunkworks philosophy of keeping things as simple as possible and minimizing program costs.
If a companion fleet had been built, how would we have no evidence of it to this day? It would have required its own production line, basing, logistic support, and flight crews. Thus far, there is nothing to support any of this. There is no documentation, no testimony from anyone involved with such a program, no hardware, and I have yet to hear any convincing sighting reports. Has anyone tried to find a money trail (funding)?