Remembering today the 1981 first-flight of the F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter.
Today’s Warbirds article is on a decidedly ugly aircraft – the Lockheed Martin F-117A Night Hawk. Pilots and aviation enthusiasts know the aircraft as “Nighthawk”, “woblin’ goblin”, or just plain “goblin”. Arab troops nicknamed the aircraft “Shabah” (ghost) during the Gulf War.
Developed at the infamous Skunk Works, the F-117 ushered in a new era in “stealth” aviation with her first flight on June 18, 1981. The goal was to create a single-seat, ground-attack aircraft with the ability to evade radar through use of innovative shapes and materials versus active jamming. Rapid delivery beginning in 1982 led to operational capability by October 1983. The Air Force denied the existence of the aircraft until a grainy photo surfaced in 1988. The public debut finally occurred in 1990 when 2 were flown to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada and placed on display for a crowd of tens of thousands.
The combat history of the F-117A begins in…
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