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The decision to produce the F-117A was made on 1 November 1978, and a contract was awarded to Lockheed Advanced Development Projects, popularly known as the Skunk Works, in Burbank, California. The program was led by Ben Rich, who called on Bill Schroeder, a Lockheed mathematician, and Denys Overholser, a computer scientist, to exploit Ufimtsev's work. The three designed a computer program called "Echo", which made it possible to design an airplane with flat panels, called facets, which were arranged so as to scatter over 99% of a radar's signal energy "painting" the aircraft. The first YF-117A, serial number 79-0780, made its maiden flight from Groom Lake, Nevada on 18 June 1981, only 31 months after the full-scale development decision. The first production F-117A was delivered in 1982, and operational capability was achieved in October 1983. The Air Force denied the existence of the aircraft until 1988
The F-117 was born after combat experience in the Vietnam War when increasingly sophisticated Soviet surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) downed heavy bombers. It was a black project, an ultra-secret program for much of its life, until the late 1980s. The project began in 1975 with a model called the "Hopeless Diamond" (a wordplay on the Hope Diamond because of its appearance). The following year, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency issued Lockheed Skunk Works a contract to build and test two Stealth Strike Fighters, under the code name "Have Blue"
In the desert you can't just build based without showing some signs that construction has gone on..
So, the decision to produce was made in 1978, and the airforce denied its existence until 1988. ( I think that is where the source got the ten years from
Just because they have a website doesnt mean that they could not test things or take part in things the public are not privy to. For example the NSA has a website
About 70 miles northwest of Area 51 is a place so secret, even people in the U.S. intelligence community rarely talk about it.
Originally posted by Zaphod58
reply to post by Stealthbomber
Pine Gap is a good place to test airborne systems out. There are mountains (ok, hills), so they can fly them low level through the mountains (ok, hills) and see how they do. As well as test their ability to avoid radar and other detection methods.
As opposed to devoting your life to 'stomping out nonsense' online, when you & I both know there are plenty of people paid to do that - and what is more, they don't need your amateurish assistance.
Originally posted by Pressthebutton
Great thread! My father did intelligence at Homestead before Hurricane Amdrew. He said it was quite an unusual place
Originally posted by Zaphod58
reply to post by gariac
All that may be true, but at least one (the one my buddy saw) was tested down there (per the company). It also has the advantage of being in the middle of nowhere, similar to Nellis and other locations like that. I've also heard that a number of other odd aircraft were tested down there.
Originally posted by gariac
I think Glenn Campbell was the person who used the phrase "the desert doesn't heal." I don't know if he coined it. The classic example is the wagon wheel tracks that are found in Death Valley.
If you hike off the trail in the desert, there are all sorts of places where you can see trauma to the land, though not really identifiable. That is, you don't know what happened, but something happened. The next time I visit the Jeremiah Weed F-4 crash, I will photograph such a spot.