Originally posted by gariac
At 1500ft AGL, you would need acoustic stealth. ;-)
I had mode-s gear and have caught the FBI doing surveillance/mobile-repeater work at 1500 AGL in a Cessna. Very audible.
I have my doubts about risking a plane as unique as the F-117a for that stupid of a mission.
I'm not sure the Chinese / Eastern Russian peasantry would have cared or really noticed
that some aircraft was loudly flying above them. They would have been so under the local
political thumbscrews that they would have likely thought it was local military or even
commercial aircraft. SOME acoustic mitigation WOULD have taken place which is
WHY that fancy desktop model shown in Aviation Leak magazine in the early 1990's
had larger intakes PROBABLY used to REDUCE intake airflow speed, probably uses
larger and SLOWER turbine blades and PROBABLY LARGER exit nozzles for lower
acoustic signature at SOME cost of radar stealth but at the gain of HIGHER PAYLOAD
capacity and higher acoustic stealth. Flying in at 1500 feet down to treetop level using
mountain terrain hugging techniques to mask infra-red and acoustic signature
would have DEFINITELY been in each mission flight plan.
The Have Blue aircraft is a TEST platform. The F-117 Nighthawk was used more as an
operational stealth BOMBER rather than a true fighter. AND finally, I SUSPECT that there
was (still is?) a longer/heavier/more payload RECON version of the F-117 (lets call it the
SR-117a) that PROBABLY uses multiple fixed lenses with CDD imagers for panoramic
style low-level optical photography.
I BELIEVE IT PROBABLY was operational as soon as 1984.
I ALSO BELIEVE IT MAY STILL BE OPERATING in secret after all these years!
I also BELIEVE that the now publicly de-commissioned F117's will now
be re-purposed for the SAME task since modern photographic technology
could now FIT inside their bomb bays and thus make it feasible to CREATE
and use an "SR-117b" series of re-purposed aircraft as a low-level photography
platform for high-threat environments where radio signals from Remote Operator
Drone Control would be a problematic AND DETECTABLE radio-emissions signature.
Thus making it ideal for Pakistan, Afghanistan, Mongolia/China, Yemen, Somalia, etc.
The aircraft STILL WORK, they're STILL pretty good at what they do
and most modern day threats are NOT coming from Russia or even China,
it's the many whatever-'STANS that are causing the problem...and going
REALLY LOW and SLOW would make for IDEAL in-yer-face photographic
evidence for counter-insurgency or simple troop patrols.
In the 1980's, the THREAT environment was a WHOLE LOT DIFFERENT...
A true Cold War where all sides were on Hair Trigger Alert and RECON
was the MOST IMPORTANT and HIGHEST PRIORITY TASK possible.
It makes PERFECT SENSE, to me at least!, that a low-and-slow
piloted STEALTH RECON craft would have been constructed and
the SR-117a...IMHO... would have fit that bill PERFECTLY !!!!!
ALL the USA/Canadian/British/German/French military people
I know are TODAY all so gung-ho on STEALTH DRONES
(i.e. XB-47b, BAE Tyranus and their ilk) or the ultra long-and-high
flyers (Global Hawk and it descendants) that the RECON SR-117a
(I like that new made-up-by-me moniker!) is QUIETLY flying in under
the radar letting all the others hog the spotlight while it uses it's
antiquated but STILL USEFUL tech to do tactical/strategic-level
low-level stealth photo recon.
I'll Bet Ya Two-Bits that one of the craft loitering around during
Bin Laden raid in Pakistan was an SR-117a STEALTH RECON craft!
We know about the drone video....but i'll bet there was some lower
and much wider-angle views being recorded for LATER review in
future high-threat tactical training scenarios.
This next one is a conjecture on a PROBABLE LATE 1980's MISSION SCENARIO.
a) Take three or four Navy LCAC (Land Carrier Air Cushion - i.e. Hovercraft)
landing craft and HIDE one SR-117a RECON craft each. Use a training
exercise as cover and deliver to Midway island. Set up refueling base
and hide aircraft under cammo-tents... do three missions in three days
from Midway Island where each RECON aircraft takes off at 3:00 pm
or whenever the Soviet or Chinese spy satellites weren't overhead...
Do at-dusk low-level photo mission by 7:00pm in China/Russia territory
then high-tail it back to Midway...after 3 days stuff the SR-117a's
back onto LCAC's and no one will be the wiser thinking it was a
training exercise on an abandoned island. Send craft onwards to
Guam and do the same thing except THIS time use the CIVILIAN
airfield as cover which the Chinese/Russian spysats cover only
intermittently. By 1987/88/89 it was mostly a semi-public
secret that F-117's were available for use and the STEALTH RECON
SR-117a wouldn't have attracted that much attention since it looked
enough alike that it would be MISTAKEN for the true F-117 Nighthawk!
edit on 2013/2/26 by StargateSG7 because: spell
edit on 2013/2/26 by StargateSG7 because: spelling