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The F-117 Shootdown
It did not take long for the problems connected with the air war's SEAD effort to register their first toll. On the fourth night of air operations, an apparent barrage of SA-3s downed an F-117 at approximately 2045 over hilly terrain near Budanovci, about 28 miles northwest of Belgrade- marking the first combat loss ever of a stealth aircraft. Fortunately, the pilot ejected safely and, against formidable odds, was recovered before dawn the next day by a combat search and rescue team using MH-53 Pave Low and MH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters led by a flight of A-10s.
Afterward, this unexpected event occasioned a flurry of speculation regarding how it might have taken place. Experts at Lockheed Martin Corporation, the aircraft's manufacturer, reported that- unlike earlier instances of F-117 combat operations- the missions flown over Yugoslavia required the aircraft to operate in ways that may have compromised its stealthy characteristics. By way of example, they noted that even a standard turning maneuver could increase the aircraft's radar cross section by a factor of 100 or more. Such turns were unavoidable in the constricted airspace within which the F-117s had to fly.
Another unconfirmed report suggested that the RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft monitoring enemy SAM activity may have failed to locate the SA-3 battery thought to have downed the F-117 and may not have relayed timely indications of enemy SAM activity to the appropriate C2 authorities. Lending credence to that interpretation, Gen Richard Hawley, commander of Air Combat Command at the time, commented that when you have a lot of unlocated threats, you are at risk even in a stealth airplane.
Although the Air Force has remained understandably silent about the confluence of events it believes occasioned the F-117's downing, according to press reports, Air Force assessors concluded, after conducting a formal postmortem, that a lucky combination of low-technology tactics, rapid learning, and astute improvisation had converged in one fleeting instant to enable an SA-3 not operating in its normal, radar-guided mode to down the aircraft. Undoubtedly, enemy spotters in Italy reported the aircraft's takeoff from Aviano, and IADS operators in Serbia, as well as those in Bosnia and along the Montenegrin coast, could have assembled enough glimpses of its position en route to its target from scattered radars to cue a SAM battery near Belgrade to fire at the appropriate moment. The aircraft had already dropped one laser-guided bomb (LGB) near Belgrade, offering the now-alerted air defenders yet another clue. (The Air Force is said to have ruled out theories hinging on a stuck weapons-bay door, a descent to below 15,000 feet, or a hit by AAA.)
Allegedly, at least three procedural errors contributed to the downing.
First, ELINT collectors reportedly could not track the changing location of the three or four offending SAM batteries. Three low-frequency Serb radars that could have detected the F-117's presence, at least theoretically, were not neutralized because US strike aircraft had earlier bombed the wrong aiming points within the radar complexes. Also, F-16CJs carrying HARMs and operating in adjacent airspace could have deterred the SA-3 battery from emitting, but those aircraft had been recalled before the F-117 shootdown.
The second alleged procedural error entailed an EA-6B support jammer that was operating too far away from the F-117 (80 to 100 miles) to offer much protection. Furthermore, it was out of proper alignment with the offending threat radars, resulting in inefficient jamming.
Last, F-117s operating out of Aviano had previously flown along more or less the same transit routes for four nights in a row (because of SACEUR's ban on overflight of Bosnia) to avoid jeopardizing the Dayton Accords. That would have made their approach pattern into Yugoslav airspace predictable. Knowing the direction the F-117s would take, Serb air defenders could have employed low-frequency radars for the best chance of getting a snap look at the aircraft. Former F-117 pilots and several industry experts acknowledged that the aircraft is detectable by such radars when viewed from the side or directly below. US officials also suggested that the Serbs may have gotten brief, nightly radar hits while the aircraft's weapons bay doors opened fleetingly.
I'm sorry, but that makes no sense. Why would he be flying with his gear stuck? He would have aborted the mission and just landed the AC.
Originally posted by abemaca
...well one day the f-117 got his landing gear stuck and he was spotted on radar and got shot and killed
Originally posted by abemaca
its sad how stupid we are sometimes
Originally posted by GrOuNd_ZeRo
This is what I heard:
A MiG-21 "improved" it's stealth with it's GSh-23L cannon and a SA-6 shot it down...
The MiG-21 stumbled upon the F-117 by pure luck...
This was posted on another forum at www.world.guns.ru