Tag Archives: F-117A Night Hawk

Warbirds – F-117A Night Hawk

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 December 1989 with strikes by two Nighthawks against targets in Panama during Operation Just Cause.  The true test of its capabilities really began during Desert Storm.  Comprising only 2% of the aircraft deployed for operations against Iraqi forces, the F-117A accounted for more than a third of all bombing runs on the first day.  And though they were the only aircraft allowed to strike inside the limits of Baghdad, none of the 36 deployed for the conflict were touched by hostile fire.  After the end of the Gulf War, the Nighthawk continued to operate in the region to enforce compliance with U.N. programs designed to deny weapons of mass destruction to Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Only one F-117A has been lost to enemy action.  On March 27, 1999 during Operation Allied Force, an Army of Yugoslavia SA-3 detonated near an F-117A piloted by Lt. Col. Dale Zelko.  The aircraft had been targeted using ground observation beginning from take-off in Italy and long-wave radar that detected the plane when the bomb bay doors were open.  The pilot ejected safely and was quickly recovered by Marine Corps combat search and rescue.  the wreckage was not bombed because of the proximity of civilians.  This allowed  Russian personnel to inspect and examine the remains.  Technology from this wreck has proved useful to both China and Russia in the development of their own stealth aircraft.

Though they were supposed to remain operational through 2011, early deployment of the F-22 Raptor led to early retirement of the F-117A in 2008.  Because of the sensitivity of the technology, Nighthawks were deemed inappropriate for export sales.  However, the fleet of F-117A’s has not been scrapped.  Instead, they remain in climate controlled hangars at the Tenopah Test Range in “mothballed” condition – possibly awaiting later reactivation or sale.  F-117A’s have been sighted in flight as recently as 2010.

If you want to see more great photos of the Nighthawk, check out the archives at AviationSpectator.com .  Details on specifications and capabilities can be found on the Federation of American Scientists website.

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Warbirds – F-117A Night Hawk

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 December 1989 with strikes by two Nighthawks against targets in Panama during Operation Just Cause.  The true test of its capabilities really began during Desert Storm.  Comprising only 2% of the aircraft deployed for operations against Iraqi forces, the F-117A accounted for more than a third of all bombing runs on the first day.  And though they were the only aircraft allowed to strike inside the limits of Baghdad, none of the 36 deployed for the conflict were touched by hostile fire.  After the end of the Gulf War, the Nighthawk continued to operate in the region to enforce compliance with U.N. programs designed to deny weapons of mass destruction to Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Only one F-117A has been lost to enemy action.  On March 27, 1999 during Operation Allied Force, an Army of Yugoslavia SA-3 detonated near an F-117A piloted by Lt. Col. Dale Zelko.  The aircraft had been targeted using ground observation beginning from take-off in Italy and long-wave radar that detected the plane when the bomb bay doors were open.  The pilot ejected safely and was quickly recovered by Marine Corps combat search and rescue.  the wreckage was not bombed because of the proximity of civilians.  This allowed  Russian personnel to inspect and examine the remains.  Technology from this wreck has proved useful to both China and Russia in the development of their own stealth aircraft.

Though they were supposed to remain operational through 2011, early deployment of the F-22 Raptor led to early retirement of the F-117A in 2008.  Because of the sensitivity of the technology, Nighthawks were deemed inappropriate for export sales.  However, the fleet of F-117A’s has not been scrapped.  Instead, they remain in climate controlled hangars at the Tenopah Test Range in “mothballed” condition – possibly awaiting later reactivation or sale.  F-117A’s have been sighted in flight as recently as 2010.

If you want to see more great photos of the Nighthawk, check out the archives at AviationSpectator.com .  Details on specifications and capabilities can be found on the Federation of American Scientists website.

Lost and Found – June 18th Edition

What to remember about June 18th…

  • 1778  British troops abandon their almost nine month occupation of Philadelphia after French entry into war made city indefensible
  • 1798  President John Adams signs Naturalization act – part of the Alien and Sedition Acts; so controversial that Adams never enforces
  • 1812  President James Madison signs Declaration of War passed by Congress, War of 1812 with Britain begins
  • 1815  Wellington defeats Napoleon at Waterloo; forces his final abdication
  • 1873  Susan B. Anthony fined $100 for voting in 1872 Presidential election; she vows to and never does pay the fine
  • 1940  Hitler and Mussolini meet in Munich to discuss plans and the late entry of Italy into the war; Mussolini leaves berated and dissatisfied
  • 1953  8 day struggle to hold Outpost Harry ends; 4 American and 1 Greek infantry companies hold off over 13,000 Chinese troops
  • 1965  Strategic Air Command (SAC) B-52 bombers are used in Vietnam for 1st time; Operation Arc Light is under way
  • 1981  1st flight of Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter
  • 1983  1st female American Astronaut – Dr. Sally K. Ride – is launched into space aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger (STS-7)
  • 2009  NASA launches Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to create 3D map of the lunar surface, identify potential resources and landing sites

Lost and Found – April 22nd Edition

What to remember about April 22nd…

Earth Day Celebrated (United States)

  • 1861  Robert E. Lee is named commander of Confederate forces in Virginia
  • 1863  Union cavalry led by Colonel Benjamin Grierson begin daring two-week raid through central Mississippi
  • 1890  At high noon the Great Land Rush begins in Oklahoma with nearly 50,000 people hoping to grab their own parcel of land
  • 1915  German forces launch unprecedented chemical artillery attack near Ypres, France; chlorine gas devastates allied forces
  • 1948  Jewish Haganah forces win Battle of Haifa; 30-hour battle gives them control of port city and vital supply line to the West
  • 1954  Senator Joseph McCarthy begins hearings investigating the United States Army and their supposed “soft” stance on communism
  • 1970  Earth Day celebrated for 1st time in United States
  • 1978  Blues Brothers make their television debut on Saturday Night Live; Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi bring blues back into style
  • 1994  Former 37th President of the United States Richard Nixon dies after suffering a stroke (b. 1913)
  • 2000  Six-year-old Elián González is seized from his relatives’ home in Miami, Florida by federal agents; boy is sent to Cuba to live with his father
  • 2008  U.S. Air Force retires its fleet of F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighters; replaced by F-22 Raptor and upcoming F-35 Lightning II

Warbirds – F-117A Night Hawk

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 December 1989 with strikes by two Nighthawks against targets in Panama during Operation Just Cause.  The true test of its capabilities really began during Desert Storm.  Comprising only 2% of the aircraft deployed for operations against Iraqi forces, the F-117A accounted for more than a third of all bombing runs on the first day.  And though they were the only aircraft allowed to strike inside the limits of Baghdad, none of the 36 deployed for the conflict were touched by hostile fire.  After the end of the Gulf War, the Nighthawk continued to operate in the region to enforce compliance with U.N. programs designed to deny weapons of mass destruction to Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Only one F-117A has been lost to enemy action.  On March 27, 1999 during Operation Allied Force, an Army of Yugoslavia SA-3 detonated near an F-117A piloted by Lt. Col. Dale Zelko.  The aircraft had been targeted using ground observation beginning from take-off in Italy and long-wave radar that detected the plane when the bomb bay doors were open.  The pilot ejected safely and was quickly recovered by Marine Corps combat search and rescue.  the wreckage was not bombed because of the proximity of civilians.  This allowed  Russian personnel to inspect and examine the remains.  Technology from this wreck has proved useful to both China and Russia in the development of their own stealth aircraft.

Though they were supposed to remain operational through 2011, early deployment of the F-22 Raptor led to early retirement of the F-117A in 2008.  Because of the sensitivity of the technology, Nighthawks were deemed inappropriate for export sales.  However, the fleet of F-117A’s has not been scrapped.  Instead, they remain in climate controlled hangars at the Tenopah Test Range in “mothballed” condition – possibly awaiting later reactivation or sale.  F-117A’s have been sighted in flight as recently as 2010.

If you want to see more great photos of the Nighthawk, check out the archives at AviationSpectator.com .  Details on specifications and capabilities can be found on the Federation of American Scientists website.

Lost and Found – June 18th Edition

What to remember about June 18th…

  • 1778  British troops abandon their almost nine month occupation of Philadelphia after French entry into war made city indefensible
  • 1798  President John Adams signs Naturalization act – part of the Alien and Sedition Acts; so controversial that Adams never enforces
  • 1812  President James Madison signs Declaration of War passed by Congress, War of 1812 with Britain begins
  • 1815  Wellington defeats Napoleon at Waterloo; forces his final abdication
  • 1873  Susan B. Anthony fined $100 for voting in 1872 Presidential election; she vows to and never does pay the fine
  • 1940  Hitler and Mussolini meet in Munich to discuss plans and the late entry of Italy into the war; Mussolini leaves berated and dissatisfied
  • 1953  8 day struggle to hold Outpost Harry ends; 4 American and 1 Greek infantry companies hold off over 13,000 Chinese troops
  • 1965  Strategic Air Command (SAC) B-52 bombers are used in Vietnam for 1st time; Operation Arc Light is under way
  • 1981  1st flight of Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter
  • 1983  1st female American Astronaut – Dr. Sally K. Ride – is launched into space aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger (STS-7)
  • 2009  NASA launches Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to create 3D map of the lunar surface, identify potential resources and landing sites

Lost and Found – April 22nd Edition

What to remember about April 22nd…

Earth Day Celebrated (United States)

  • 1861  Robert E. Lee is named commander of Confederate forces in Virginia
  • 1863  Union cavalry led by Colonel Benjamin Grierson begin daring two-week raid through central Mississippi
  • 1890  At high noon the Great Land Rush begins in Oklahoma with nearly 50,000 people hoping to grab their own parcel of land
  • 1915  German forces launch unprecedented chemical artillery attack near Ypres, France; chlorine gas devastates allied forces
  • 1948  Jewish Haganah forces win Battle of Haifa; 30-hour battle gives them control of port city and vital supply line to the West
  • 1954  Senator Joseph McCarthy begins hearings investigating the United States Army and their supposed “soft” stance on communism
  • 1970  Earth Day celebrated for 1st time in United States
  • 1978  Blues Brothers make their television debut on Saturday Night Live; Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi bring blues back into style
  • 1994  Former 37th President of the United States Richard Nixon dies after suffering a stroke (b. 1913)
  • 2000  Six-year-old Elián González is seized from his relatives’ home in Miami, Florida by federal agents; boy is sent to Cuba to live with his father
  • 2008  U.S. Air Force retires its fleet of F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighters; replaced by F-22 Raptor and upcoming F-35 Lightning II

Warbirds – F-117A Night Hawk

Remembering today the 1981 first-flight of the F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter.

The Clockwork Conservative

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…

View original post 330 more words

Lost and Found – April 22nd Edition

What to remember about April 22nd…

Earth Day Celebrated (United States)

  • 1861  Robert E. Lee is named commander of Confederate forces in Virginia
  • 1863  Union cavalry led by Colonel Benjamin Grierson begin daring two-week raid through central Mississippi
  • 1890  At high noon the Great Land Rush begins in Oklahoma with nearly 50,000 people hoping to grab their own parcel of land
  • 1915  German forces launch unprecedented chemical artillery attack near Ypres, France; chlorine gas devastates allied forces
  • 1948  Jewish Haganah forces win Battle of Haifa; 30-hour battle gives them control of port city and vital supply line to the West
  • 1954  Senator Joseph McCarthy begins hearings investigating the United States Army and their supposed “soft” stance on communism
  • 1970  Earth Day celebrated for 1st time in United States
  • 1978  Blues Brothers make their television debut on Saturday Night Live; Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi bring blues back into style
  • 1994  Former 37th President of the United States Richard Nixon dies after suffering a stroke (b. 1913)
  • 2000  Six-year-old Elián González is seized from his relatives’ home in Miami, Florida by federal agents; boy is sent to Cuba to live with his father
  • 2008  U.S. Air Force retires its fleet of F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighters; replaced by F-22 Raptor and upcoming F-35 Lightning II

Warbirds – F-117A Night Hawk

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 December 1989 with strikes by two Nighthawks against targets in Panama during Operation Just Cause.  The true test of its capabilities really began during Desert Storm.  Comprising only 2% of the aircraft deployed for operations against Iraqi forces, the F-117A accounted for more than a third of all bombing runs on the first day.  And though they were the only aircraft allowed to strike inside the limits of Baghdad, none of the 36 deployed for the conflict were touched by hostile fire.  After the end of the Gulf War, the Nighthawk continued to operate in the region to enforce compliance with U.N. programs designed to deny weapons of mass destruction to Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Only one F-117A has been lost to enemy action.  On March 27, 1999 during Operation Allied Force, an Army of Yugoslavia SA-3 detonated near an F-117A piloted by Lt. Col. Dale Zelko.  The aircraft had been targeted using ground observation beginning from take-off in Italy and long-wave radar that detected the plane when the bomb bay doors were open.  The pilot ejected safely and was quickly recovered by Marine Corps combat search and rescue.  the wreckage was not bombed because of the proximity of civilians.  This allowed  Russian personnel to inspect and examine the remains.  Technology from this wreck has proved useful to both China and Russia in the development of their own stealth aircraft.

Though they were supposed to remain operational through 2011, early deployment of the F-22 Raptor led to early retirement of the F-117A in 2008.  Because of the sensitivity of the technology, Nighthawks were deemed inappropriate for export sales.  However, the fleet of F-117A’s has not been scrapped.  Instead, they remain in climate controlled hangars at the Tenopah Test Range in “mothballed” condition – possibly awaiting later reactivation or sale.  F-117A’s have been sighted in flight as recently as 2010.

If you want to see more great photos of the Nighthawk, check out the archives at AviationSpectator.com .  Details on specifications and capabilities can be found on the Federation of American Scientists website.