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F-117 Nighthawk Gets Ready to Retire!

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posted on Feb, 5 2007 @ 08:29 AM
The US Air Force announces plans to retire the F-117 Nighthawk from the air fleet. Marking the end of an era, the world's first operational stealth warplane is set to take it's place in aviation history. Maj. John Mihaly, chief of the 49th Fighter Wing Integration Office, said that by the end of 2008, the last F-117 will be retired from US Air Force service.
HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE — The stealth fighter once called the "hopeless diamond" because it's odd radar-dispersing geometry made it an improbable flier is on its way out at Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo, but it will be replaced by one of the forces' newest gems, the F-22 Raptor.

Although F-117 pilots defend their beloved stealth Nighthawk, which is still flying vital missions, the base's new commander, Brig. Gen. David L. Goldfein, said the F-22 can perform missions done by at least four other aircraft "equally as well, and in many cases, better."

The Raptor, he said, can engage in combat with other fighters, execute strikes deep into heavily defended target areas, perform precision bombing missions like the F-117, provide close support for ground forces and more.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

I have mixed feeling about the retirement of the F-117. The Nighthawk has always been an awe-inspiring aircraft, even if is ugly to look at. The F-117 brought an aura of mystery to the air force ever since its first major combat operation in the 1991 Gulf War. Even though I often gripe about it in the aircraft forum, I feel like aviation is loosing something special with the retirement for the Nighthawk.
Most people my age can probably remember sitting in their living room as children, hearing about the ghostly Black Jets of Desert Storm that bombed Iraqi military targets before disappearing into the night. It was these operations that made the F-117 an icon of US air power for millions.

Now that the Nighthawk is retiring to take its place in history, it feels like there is a void in the air force. Sure technology evolves, and the military moves on. However, aviation, like everything else has its legends. In the 25 years that it has served in the defense of the US, it defined for itself a unique place in the lore of aviation history. Few other planes have ever seemed as ghostly. Even at an airshow, when you stood at the rope to look upon the plane, it was distant and forbidding in nature.

Now in the twilight of it's career, the Nighthawk leaves with many secrets in tow. Things like it true top speed, and its RCS, have never been disgusting with the press announcements and fanfare, the plane seems to be pulling it's last great stealth disappearing act: Vanishing once more into the shadows, it's greatest secrets still hidden in a cloak of mystery.

Related News Links:

Related Discussion Threads:
F-117 Retired
Thought the F-117's were all headed for museums or the boneyard? Well, Think Again...

[edit on 5/2/2007 by Mirthful Me]

posted on Feb, 5 2007 @ 11:00 AM
Hope they're not being too hasty with this. After all, wasn't there only one lost (to a lucky shot) in combat over its lifetime? And none of America's potential adversaries can even begin to think about building an equivalent to the F-117. The F-22 must be really something to live up to all those claims.

posted on Feb, 5 2007 @ 11:02 AM
What are they smokin first sr71 and then f117,they better have some more black planes to unveil to the public otherwise it would prove that the US military has anti gravity planes.

posted on Feb, 6 2007 @ 07:26 AM
Why do they always rush to retire the legonds of avation:

SR-71 Blackbird
F-111 Aardvark

and now the F-117 Nighthawk. For once can't we keep something good just a bit longer?


posted on Feb, 6 2007 @ 07:32 AM
So what's gonna replace it? Anyone knows or it's a black project?

posted on Feb, 7 2007 @ 05:20 AM

Here on ATS, there is speculation about another black project, but the last time I checked, there wasn't enough to draw any firm conclusions about a sucessor. According to the US Air Force the F-22 Raptor, which has Air to Ground capability, will be taking up the slack for the time being. If you look a the link to the main article, it talks about the F-22 taking up the F-117's role in there. However, I just can't see the Raptor flying Covert Op's, it's just too well known.


posted on Feb, 13 2007 @ 10:28 AM
The simple answer is these planes are obsolete. It is obvious they have better aircraft to perform these operastion. And even if its only a marginal difference, the budget has to be maintained. The SR-71 was made obsolete by the fact that we now have satellite recon, and it was cheaper that way.

The F-117 is not very well at defending itself if it happens to be tracked down by enemy aircraft, yet the B-2 bomber, well the only time you ever actually see one of those things is in a video launching off from a base. I am under the personal belief they fly above the operational cieling of most fighters range.

According to them the F-22 can perform the same missions, and fight off any aerial threats at the same time, I give it proprs to that. So as far as I see, what it all comes down to is the money.

posted on Feb, 19 2007 @ 07:24 AM

Originally posted by DYepes
The SR-71 was made obsolete by the fact that we now have satellite recon, and it was cheaper that way.


I agree with everything you said Except the above quote. If the SR-71 was made obsolete by satellites, why weren't the Older U-2's also made obsolete? There are still U-2's flying today (even though how much longer is a question)

How did a satellite replace the Blackbird, but at the same time, we still needed the U-2 Spy Plane? Care to fill in the blank?


posted on Feb, 19 2007 @ 06:32 PM
The U-2 is being planned for retirement soon, but I would say its around now because Satellite cannot loiter around a particular target, and can be distorted by bad eather. The SR-71 had cost much more to maintain than the U-2, and therefore Clinton cut the program from the defense budget.

Now these are mostly just my best educated guesses based on facts, I would ask someone more learned in military equipment, like the regulars in the Aircraft Projects forum for a more in depth doscussion. Eiither way, its gone now, and it will be joined by the nighthawk now.

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