reply to post by Shadowhawk
The coatings are not just a maintainance issue...it TAKES TIME to recoat
the F117...weeks! It's also EXPENSIVE so I expect that a service life extension
was requested by OTHER AGENCIES who wanted their little grubby hands
on that "obsolete" tech for their OWN PURPOSES.
ON a general note...I think we can ACCEPT it as "Fact" that the USAF
probably has its recon hands filled with Aurora's, Black Diamonds,
Globalstars, or even SpacePlane technology...and the USAF being
what it is...IS NOT going to SHARE it with ANY OTHER DOD BRANCH!
Ergo...the spy agencies DIA/NSA/CIA/NRO WANT their own stuff
and if they can get their hands on some functional (if well used!)
STEALTH PLANES...heck YEAH! they'll want those retired F117's
and even that supposedly obsolete "SR-117a" .....!!!!!
They're obsolete and antiquated only by USAF standards...but for the
NRO (National Reconnaissance Office), the CIA and the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency)
they are PERFECTLY GOOD vehicles for "Other Tasks". I wouldn't be surprised
that a few intel honchos at the CIA especially has a few in their SEPARATE hangars
in Afghanistan, Uzbhekistan and other "friendlier" 'stans for localized missions where
pilotless drones aren't available or require HUMAN PILOTS for certain recon missions.
The CIA ESPECIALLY uses whatever they can get their hands on...they LITERALLY
SCAVENGE old-tech, civilian tech and even FOREIGN tech for their missions which
have a budget completely separate from the DOD branches. And for some personal
history on how expensive gear (i.e. F117) (or inexpensive gear) can be repurposed,
I CAN tell you ONE SMALL EXAMPLE of this resourcefulness by indicating that
I've seen items that YOU would think is simple Home Depot or Best Buy/Radio Shack
"miscellaneous" items being currently used (or misused?) for the most INGENIOUS
of purposes and tasks. ... So a basically fully PAID FOR 120+ million dollar plane
ain't just gonna be "retired" and sent to the BoneYard in Arizona (i.e. Airplane Graveyard)
to die a slow death by dust storms....NOPE! I'd say there's at least 20 repurposed F117's
being used by the CIA/NRO/DIA for mostly Middle East specialty recon operations!
Those retired F117's may not be stealthy enough to counter Russian or Chinese
radar...but they're DEFINITELY GOOD ENOUGH for the type of counter-insurgency
operations needed in Yemen, almost any other STAN or for southeast ASIA
where insurgents, arms or weapons technology is being smuggled or transported.
They SPY agencies NEED to know about them and drones JUST aren't
politically palatable for many of THOSE areas...BUT a stealth fighter with
cameras on-board is STILL STEALTHY ENOUGH for those
edit on 2013/3/7 by StargateSG7 because: xtra info