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Why are F117's still flying? Well the Air Force has all the answers for you....

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posted on Mar, 3 2019 @ 06:11 PM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: TheHans

They're flown around the range by Lockheed pilots is the word that was posted somewhere. I can see AFRL and Lockheed using them around the range, but not SOCOM using them operationally.


Interesting. That would support the hypothesis that they are being used as aggressor targets to test stealth detection systems. Wasn’t there a photo of an F-16 from NTTR in the Star Wars canyon that had some externally-mounted optical sensor system on it?

So if the Aviationist scoop that F-117s were deployed to Syria is wrong, what do you think the chances are that there is a larger, armed version of the RQ-170 out there?

Seems like it would be an ideal stealth UCAV platform for high risk targets/missions due to commonality with the 170 that also wouldn’t be a huge loss if it crashed or were shot down due to the whole Iranian fiasco.

I mean, it doesn’t make much sense to risk a pilot in an F-117 either. Maybe the RQ-170 has a twin-engined companion that’s like an RQ-171 or something that’s armed with two 2000 lb munitions and the whole F-117 thing just disinformation to explain away where the munitions were dropped from. In other words, we want you (Russians) to think it might have been F-117s to hide something classified.
edit on 3-3-2019 by TheHans because: (no reason given)




posted on Mar, 3 2019 @ 06:18 PM
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a reply to: TheHans

The "scoop" originated with the Scramble board. There have been sightings of F-117s with F-16 chase aircraft behind them, as well as Groom F-16s with new systems on them. There's a lot more evidence of them being used as test aircraft than there is of them going to Syria or anywhere else.



posted on Mar, 3 2019 @ 06:37 PM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: TheHans

The "scoop" originated with the Scramble board. There have been sightings of F-117s with F-16 chase aircraft behind them, as well as Groom F-16s with new systems on them. There's a lot more evidence of them being used as test aircraft than there is of them going to Syria or anywhere else.


Makes sense! Hope springs eternal for top secret going’s on. Truth is probably a lot more mundane.



posted on Mar, 4 2019 @ 06:35 AM
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a reply to: TheHans

Exactly my thoughts. Only way this rumor is close to true is if this story was cover for a time critical strike performed by a platform they’d rather not talk about. Or - cover for the tech diversion of the same platform.



posted on Mar, 4 2019 @ 08:38 AM
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originally posted by: TheHans

originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: TheHans

They're flown around the range by Lockheed pilots is the word that was posted somewhere. I can see AFRL and Lockheed using them around the range, but not SOCOM using them operationally.


Interesting. That would support the hypothesis that they are being used as aggressor targets to test stealth detection systems. Wasn’t there a photo of an F-16 from NTTR in the Star Wars canyon that had some externally-mounted optical sensor system on it?


The 2 F-16’s escorting the F-117 around Death Valley last week just had a centerline fuel tank installed, no visible sign of isr pod on either aircraft.



posted on Mar, 5 2019 @ 07:01 AM
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originally posted by: bigbadbird
This is a pretty weird, but I think not entirely implausible story. Could it be F117s were used not just for their radar stealth but suppressed IR signatures? If the Russians had advanced Su-27/MiG-29 derivatives in theater with IRSTs, maybe it was deemed too risky to fly F-22s/35s with big heat plumes on certain missions targeting mobile targets. I assume mobile as why not just use cruise missiles? Maybe we didn’t want to reveal our hand with some IR suppression tech with the newer platforms?

There have also been rumors on some threads that the Israelis had/have some F117s. Maybe these were theirs?

Another farfetched idea is that maybe the long-rumored, ATS-favorite-topic, F117 companion aircraft, the R119 Manta (or whatever it’s called if even real), was used in its bird-dog companion role. Maybe it’s technology/datalink system for communicating with the 117s isn’t compatible with the newer birds. Maybe these old warbirds were pressed into service due to the presence of high-end Russian sensor systems and the US not wanting to expose the F-35s datalink and networking secrets until absolutely necessary. Hell maybe the Chinese had sensors in theater. Who knows?

Seems a bit outlandish and improbable to me... but I bet stranger things have happened.



Wow. That’s the first time since I’ve seen the publication that I’ve seen someone use the correct designation for the companion.



posted on Mar, 5 2019 @ 11:48 AM
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a reply to: B2StealthBomber
Im not sure if its a good idea to talk about that.



posted on Mar, 5 2019 @ 11:54 AM
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Yeah if that is the real designation maybe the mods should delete the thread/posts. However, is there any consensus that this is even a real plane? I always assumed the Black Manta F-19/119 stuff was a Popular Mechanics creation and kind of a misinterpretation of the F-117 program. Again, why would a 1970s/80s era gen 1 stealth be classified today? They released the Bird Of Prey, Tasit Blue’s in a museum, etc.



originally posted by: mightmight
a reply to: B2StealthBomber
Im not sure if its a good idea to talk about that.


edit on 5-3-2019 by TheHans because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 5 2019 @ 12:09 PM
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Now this got me googling black manta and f-119.

Came across an old 94 article from Wired.

www.wired.com...

Seems that Steve Douglas may, might, have captured this aircraft.



Now, in the living room of his ranch-style home in Amarillo, Texas, the country's top military monitor shows his tape. Beavis and Butt-head disappear from the screen, and from a powdery mix of colors emerges a dot, a dot growing larger, a dot becoming a winged bat, a ray-shaped airplane swooping overhead - then the image dissolves to gray grit. He flicks the machine off. "Seven seconds," he says. "You live for those moments. You listen all those hours for that kind of gold nugget."


It's a long article but interesting.



posted on Mar, 5 2019 @ 12:39 PM
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Now we are back to the bat plane theory. I think if it existed, it was an electronic warfare or wild weasel aircraft like an EF-111 Raven or RF-4 Phantom, so probably an EF-119 or RF-119. Typically Black Manta was the rumored nick name for the TR-3, which again, most people dismiss out of hand.

The real problem I have accepting its existence is the all-over-the-place nature of sightings. You have old Aviation Week reports of a quieter plane with a larger wingspan than an F-117 flying along with it, you have the Steve Douglas stuff but I’ve never seen that video, you have people on here implying it looked like the F-19 models, which look like fighter jets and wouldnt be quieter or have broader planforms than the F-117, then you have people implying it’s not delta shaped at all but totally unique - even a star or frisbee shape. Then you have Boomer suggesting it’s something like the Lockheed VS-07 - which again doesn’t really comport with sightings of a quiet spanloader-type airframe. Then you’ve got all the deltas and dorotos - the manned Ryan THAAP camp or McDonald Douglas Kestrel on Deviant Art. All with inward canted tails like the SR-71. It’s all very recursive and circular.

Then you have Tacit Blue which pretty much fits the rumored mission profile of battle field surveillance, timeframe, and by all accounts was successful, but people say that’s not it either. Why not produce 10 of those, paint em black and call it a day.

Hence if I had to bet money it’s a red herring. Why give it a name at all? I think it’s like the Aurora, a distraction for various real high speed research projects. I’m going to refer to the companion aircraft as the Blob.


originally posted by: grey580
Now this got me googling black manta and f-119.

Came across an old 94 article from Wired.

www.wired.com...

Seems that Steve Douglas may, might, have captured this aircraft.



Now, in the living room of his ranch-style home in Amarillo, Texas, the country's top military monitor shows his tape. Beavis and Butt-head disappear from the screen, and from a powdery mix of colors emerges a dot, a dot growing larger, a dot becoming a winged bat, a ray-shaped airplane swooping overhead - then the image dissolves to gray grit. He flicks the machine off. "Seven seconds," he says. "You live for those moments. You listen all those hours for that kind of gold nugget."


It's a long article but interesting.

edit on 5-3-2019 by TheHans because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 5 2019 @ 12:47 PM
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a reply to: TheHans


Typically Black Manta was the rumored nick name for the TR-3, which again, most people dismiss out of hand.


I've heard from good sources TR-3 was a mishearing of the Tier-3 UAV. This was going to be a B-2 sized stealthy, persistent UAV. It ran waaaay past its budget and the Tier 2+ (Global Hawk) and Tier 3- (Dark Star) were the response. The Dark Star crashed and was cancelled almost immediately afterwards.

The RQ-170 and RQ-180 (plus possibly others) are the real successors.

The Companion is a mythical, nonsensical aircraft.



posted on Mar, 5 2019 @ 01:13 PM
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a reply to: anzha

Then boomer135 has a picture of a flying unicorn.

I trust that he wasn't lying.



posted on Mar, 5 2019 @ 01:35 PM
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a reply to: grey580
He most certainly was not.



posted on Mar, 5 2019 @ 03:18 PM
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a reply to: grey580

it may not be what you think it is.



posted on Mar, 5 2019 @ 10:09 PM
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a reply to: TheHans

Who do you think may have been the main contractor for it, if it did exist?
Were there any specific roles that seemed to go unfilled prior to the introduction of the F-35?


originally posted by: bigbadbird
Maybe these old warbirds were pressed into service due to the presence of high-end Russian sensor systems and the US not wanting to expose the F-35s datalink and networking secrets until absolutely necessary. Hell maybe the Chinese had sensors in theater. Who knows?


Definitely an interesting theory, everyone and their mom seems to have set up shop in Syria for SIGINT (for obvious reasons).
edit on 3/5/2019 by Masisoar because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 5 2019 @ 11:56 PM
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If it existed outside of a prototype (I don’t think it did - and agree with ANZHA), I’d guess the companion was related to one of the following projects:

1. General Dynamics product derived from the Model 100 Sneaky Pete. “Originally a company-funded effort, the programme reportedly gained USAF support under the code name Have Key, and may have been developed in response to a 1983 Air Force requirement for a stealth aircraft capable of both reconnaissance and strike.” www.urbanghostsmedia.com...

2. Northrop THAP: Interestingly, Northrop had a weird Naval hybrid flying wing concept design that looked like mixture of an A-6 and flying wing with inward canted tails called the N-381 Manta (hmmm that’s weird). If you look at it and the THAP studies, a common design DNA emerges that could be the basis for companion and fits various witness descriptions as described on the old Quellish site:

web.archive.org...

3. Lockheed VS-07-type design. Doubt it.

4. McDonald Douglas/Boeing: Something dorito-shaped like this maybe: www.pinterest.com...

If I had to guess, it would be Northrop. They seemed to have the engineering wherewithal to pull it off and a lot of sightings seem to be in their general design wheelhouse. Again, a big conjecture and what if. I can’t think of any role today that something like an F-35, RQ-170, RQ-180, and/or MQ-11 Avenger couldn’t pull off or be modified to pull off.



originally posted by: Masisoar
a reply to: TheHans

Who do you think may have been the main contractor for it, if it did exist?
Were there any specific roles that seemed to go unfilled prior to the introduction of the F-35?


originally posted by: bigbadbird
Maybe these old warbirds were pressed into service due to the presence of high-end Russian sensor systems and the US not wanting to expose the F-35s datalink and networking secrets until absolutely necessary. Hell maybe the Chinese had sensors in theater. Who knows?


Definitely an interesting theory, everyone and their mom seems to have set up shop in Syria for SIGINT (for obvious reasons).

edit on 6-3-2019 by TheHans because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 6 2019 @ 01:38 AM
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a reply to: TheHans
nope

And anzha is wrong. Well not technically, but on the merits.



posted on Mar, 6 2019 @ 07:44 AM
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originally posted by: mightmight
a reply to: TheHans
nope

And anzha is wrong. Well not technically, but on the merits.



I’m open minded and agnostic as to whether it exists; however, more on the skeptical/doubt it side. Remember, if it’s still flying today, we are talking about a plane that is as old as a P-51 Mustang was in the 1980s. That doesn’t mean it’s irrelevant or not good, just an old, state-of-the-art 1970s/1980s design.

Assuming for a moment it exists, it sounds like we have stumbled onto the name. We don’t know what it looks like, how it performs (high/low, subsonic/supersonic, loitering/fast, quiet/loud, etc.), who built it, what powers it, what mission it would still perform (good idea of what it did, tactical recon/strike, battlefield surveillance, and/or wild weasle), and if it was Air Force or Navy operating it.

So the best we have is the R-119 Manta/Phantasm is likely a stealth generation one, subsonic triangular spanloader design with inward canted tail planes, probably made by Northrop, that flew along with F-117s as a battlefield surveillance platform in the 1980s - 2010s. That basic mission can be done by drones like the RQ-170 and now by F-35s too. Maybe not the wild weasel part. Maybe it’s an RQ-119 now?

Pretty thin evidence for it still existing and lurking out there as we approach the 2020s. Let’s say this, I hope for our sakes we have newer and better stuff out there. Who would want to go at with China with 70s and 80s tech? There might be some specific missions where you’d want the analog option due to adversary sensors and cyber, but enough to afford and maintain a force of let’s say 10 ancient, flyable airframes into the 2020s? That just doesn’t stand to reason when you could almost 3D print an RQ-170 and pack it full of vacuum tubes or RadioShack transistors if you wanted something analog or you didn’t care about a rival snooping on it.
edit on 6-3-2019 by TheHans because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 6 2019 @ 08:28 AM
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a reply to: TheHans
It's probably been retired around the same time the 117 was. And maybe kept in a similar status. But thats it.

Your assumptions are not accurate for the most part IMO.



posted on Mar, 6 2019 @ 08:39 AM
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edit on 6-3-2019 by TheHans because: (no reason given)



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