Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk
The Lockheed F-117A was developed in
response to an Air Force request for an aircraft capable of attacking high
value targets without being detected by hostile radar systems. By the
1970s, special materials and techniques had become available to aircraft
designers that would allow them to design an aircraft with radar-evading
or "stealth" qualities. The result was the F-117A, the world's first
operational aircraft that fully incorporated radar-evading techniques.
The first F-117A flew on June 18, 1981
and the first F-117A unit, the 4450th Tactical Group, achieved initial
operating capability in October 1983. The 4450th was renamed the 37th
Tactical Fighter Wing in October 1989. The F-117A was first used in combat
during operation JUST CAUSE on December 19, 1989 when two F-117As from the
37th TFW attacked military targets in Panama. The F-117A was again called
into action during Operation DESERT SHIELD/STORM in 1990-91 when the 415th
and the 416th squadrons of the 37th TFW moved to a base in Saudi Arabia.
During Operation DESERT STORM the F-117As flew 1,271 sorties, achieving an
80 percent mission success rate while suffering no losses or battle
damage. A total of 64 F-117As were built between 1981 and 1990, 5 for
testing and 59 for operational use .
Span: 43 ft. 4 in.
Length: 65 ft. 11 in.
Height: 12 ft. 5 in.
Weight: 52,500 lbs. max.
Armament: Up to 4,000 lbs. of internal stores
Engines: Two General Electric F404-F1D2 engines of 10,600 lbs.
Maximum speed: High subsonic
Cruising speed: 684 mph.
Range: Unlimited with aerial refuelling
Service Ceiling: 45,000 ft.