Actually, there were at least six gray F-117A stealth fighters.
The first five Full-Scale Development airframes (Articles 780, 781, 782, 783, and 784) were painted overall light gray during early testing. FSD-1
(Article 780) made its initial flights in a desert camouflage scheme before being painted in the proposed production gray scheme. Ben Rich, head of
Lockheed's Skunk Works, personally preferred gray and would have delivered the entire fleet in gray, but chief of Tactical Air Command, Gen. William
Creech, wanted black since he felt it would better mask the faceting and their shadows during the day. "You don't ask the commander of TAC why he
wants to do something. He pays the bills," Rich later recalled. "The Skunk Works plays by the Golden Rule: he who has the gold sets the rules! If
the general had wanted pink, we'd have painted them pink."
In July 1993, FSD-3 (Article 782) was painted once again in a gray scheme for daylight visibility tests. During the trials, known as Project Evening
Shade, the pilots used the call sign GRAY GHOST. The airplane was repainted overall black in October 1993.
In December 2003, Article 835 was painted in the same scheme as the F-22A for another set of daylight visibility tests undertaken by the Dragon Test
Team OT&E group at Holloman. Known as "The Gray Dragon, " it wore this paint scheme until its retirement in March 2007.
During 2005, FSD-4 (Article 783) was repainted in an overall gray scheme for similar tests at Palmdale.