Air Force mothballing the F-117 Stealth Fighter (1 Viewer)

DadsDream

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MSNBC
Pioneering stealth fighter slips into history
After patrolling skies from Panama to Iraq, last F-117s will be mothballed


DAYTON, Ohio - The world's first attack aircraft to employ stealth technology is slipping quietly into history.

The inky black, angular, radar-evading F-117, which spent 27 years in the Air Force arsenal secretly patrolling hostile skies from Serbia to Iraq, will be put in mothballs next month in Nevada.

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, which manages the F-117 program, will have an informal, private retirement ceremony Tuesday with military leaders, base employees and representatives from Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.

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superchuck500

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Is that because its mission utility is now being accomplished by other aircraft (i.e. F-22)?
 
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DadsDream

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The "F" for "Fighter" designation was never really appropriate for this aircraft.

"F/A" for "Fighter/Attack" was more appropriate, with the "Attack" meaning "Ground Attack."

It's actually a radar evading light bomber, designed to carry and deliver precision munitions.
 

geauxboy

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Already? WOW! It's kinda like computers. Outdated when they go out the door. I hope we got our moneys worth.
 

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The "F" for "Fighter" designation was never really appropriate for this aircraft.

"F/A" for "Fighter/Attack" was more appropriate, with the "Attack" meaning "Ground Attack."

It's actually a radar evading light bomber, designed to carry and deliver precision munitions.

Right, but are they retiring it b/c we have other aircraft for the stealth/attack mission?

(F-22 can carry those munitions right? Isn't it F/A-22 now? Or was at one point).
 

Devildog

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Right, but are they retiring it b/c we have other aircraft for the stealth/attack mission?

(F-22 can carry those munitions right? Isn't it F/A-22 now? Or was at one point).


Yes.

Actually, the best person to answer this would be Staphory, since he's worked on the F/A-22.
 

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When a F-117 was lost during Allied Force the whole program was compromised with wreckage being sold to the highest bidders in China and Russia . With the advent of the F-22 it made this one mission acft obsolete.
Its only defense was its stealth and if caught by the always effective markII eyeball of a enemy gunner the stealth was negated.

I'm sure the F-117 loss had a small hand it in, but I believe the F-22 virtually ended the program for the F-117. Plus with the new F-35s coming on the line, and then you have the B-2, there isn't really a need for the F-117 anymore. However, I shall miss them.
 

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Nearly every aircraft retirement has been fought by somebody with some clout, and the opposition is the loudest when there is no direct replacement. It is for the same reason programs within governments and (to a lesser degree) major corporations are so dang hard to kill. It is because people are generally afraid of change, and have interests to protect. The fact that the SR-71 went out without a whimper from anyone was very unusual, this is often seen as evidence that some classified replacement("Aurora") exists.

There are systems now days that can make a go at tracking stealth aircraft, usually by having multiple radar transmitters and recievers at seperate locations. These radars then combine and analyse their data using sophisticated computer programs. This does NOT make stealth obsolete since these systems are pricy, rare, and not foolproof. It does mean that the days that stealth ALONE can insure penetration of a sophisticated air defense system are almost over. The F-22, B2 and stand-off weapons provide the additional capabilities needed.

As for guns guided by eyeball - there isn't really much we can do about that. There will always be some losses from massed gunfire. But a well-planned air attack minimizes exposure to such opposition, and keeps losses at an acceptible level. The level of losses from ground gunfire is almost always going to be low enough to be only a political concern. The political risk is there since there will always be some people in the media who expect that no war should have ANY air losses. The only time ground fire causes heavy losses to an competent modern air force is when that air force is engaged in close support of ground forces for long periods of time.
 

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Right, but are they retiring it b/c we have other aircraft for the stealth/attack mission?

(F-22 can carry those munitions right? Isn't it F/A-22 now? Or was at one point).


I think thats true. The F117 is pretty old technology. The F22 I think has stealth capability with all the new technology. Its a fighter with ground attack capability and there are all kinds of crazy accurate and deadly munitions with which it can be loaded.

I am glad we have these things to protect us but its sad we live in a world where so much time and ingenuity has to be devoted to inventing these killing machines. Its amazing how much destruction can be delivered with one of these aircraft.
 

Joe OKC

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Has it been 27 years already?

Joe
 

Joe OKC

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Where does time go?

In the pyramids I'm telling ya. ;)

Joe
 

RiverCitySaint

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Does all this mean I can have one now? You know, military surplus and all....there are stores all over the place...

"Coming soon to a gun show near you, the F-117 Stealth Bomber ! Surprise your friends, shock and awe your enemies ! Get that gal on YOUR radar ! So MACH 6 yerself to the fair grounds this sunday SUNday SUNDAY ! for the flight that changes lives !"

Ad paid for by JoeBob's Shootin Shak right there off the highway. Y'all come see us !


Ok, I'll stop now.
 

Joe OKC

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and the c130 just keep working.. day after day after day after day......
 

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Nearly every aircraft retirement has been fought by somebody with some clout, and the opposition is the loudest when there is no direct replacement. It is for the same reason programs within governments and (to a lesser degree) major corporations are so dang hard to kill. It is because people are generally afraid of change, and have interests to protect. The fact that the SR-71 went out without a whimper from anyone was very unusual, this is often seen as evidence that some classified replacement("Aurora") exists.
The SR-71 didn't go out without a whimper. In fact it was brought out of retirement for several years and is still in use by "NASA". By time it was "officially" retired for a 2nd time, the airframe was around 40 years old.

There are systems now days that can make a go at tracking stealth aircraft, usually by having multiple radar transmitters and recievers at seperate locations. These radars then combine and analyse their data using sophisticated computer programs. This does NOT make stealth obsolete since these systems are pricy, rare, and not foolproof. It does mean that the days that stealth ALONE can insure penetration of a sophisticated air defense system are almost over. The F-22, B2 and stand-off weapons provide the additional capabilities needed.

As for guns guided by eyeball - there isn't really much we can do about that. There will always be some losses from massed gunfire. But a well-planned air attack minimizes exposure to such opposition, and keeps losses at an acceptible level. The level of losses from ground gunfire is almost always going to be low enough to be only a political concern. The political risk is there since there will always be some people in the media who expect that no war should have ANY air losses. The only time ground fire causes heavy losses to an competent modern air force is when that air force is engaged in close support of ground forces for long periods of time.
That's quite a lot of background information for a 12 year old.:scratch:
 

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