Friday, January 11, 2013

F-117A Nighthawk Stealth Fighter

| Friday, January 11, 2013 | 0 comments

F-117A Nighthawk Stealth Fighter
F-117A Nighthawk Stealth Fighter
F-117A Nighthawk Stealth Fighter is a single-seat, twin-engine stealth ground-attack aircraft formerly operated by the United States Air Force (USAF), it was the world's first operational aircraft designed to exploit low-observable stealth technology. The unique design of the single-seat F-117A Nighthawk Stealth Fighter provides exceptional combat capabilities. About the size of an F-15 Eagle, the twin-engine aircraft is powered by two General Electric F404 turbofan engines and has quadruple redundant fly-by-wire flight controls. Air refuelable, it supports worldwide commitments and adds to the deterrent strength of the U.S. military forces. Its first flight was in 1981, and it achieved initial operating capability status in October 1983. The F-117 was "acknowledged" and revealed to the world in November 1988.

F-117A Nighthawk Stealth Fighter
F-117A Nighthawk Stealth Fighter

The F-117A program has demonstrated that a stealth aircraft can be designed for reliability and maintainability. The aircraft maintenance statistics are comparable to other tactical fighters of similar complexity. Logistically supported by Sacramento Air Logistics Center, McClellan AFB, Calif., the F-117A Nighthawk Stealth Fighter is kept at the forefront of technology through a planned weapon system improvement program located at USAF Plant 42 at Palmdale, Calif. A product of Lockheed Skunk Works and a development of the Have Blue technology demonstrator, it became the first operational aircraft initially designed around stealth technology. The F-117A Nighthawk Stealth Fighter was widely publicized during the Persian Gulf War of 1991. It was commonly called the "Stealth Fighter" although it was a ground-attack aircraft.
F-117A Nighthawk Stealth Fighter
F-117A Nighthawk Stealth Fighter

The operational aircraft had the official designation of "F-117A". Most modern U.S. military aircraft use post-1962 designations in which the designation "F" is usually an air-to-air fighter, "B" is usually a bomber, "A" is usually a ground-attack aircraft, etc. (Examples include the F-15, the B-2, and the A-6.) The F-117 is primarily a ground-attack aircraft so its "F" designation is inconsistent with the DoD system, but it is an inconsistency that has been repeatedly employed by the U.S. Air Force with several of its ground attack aircraft since the late 1950s, including the Republic F-105 Thunderchief and General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark.

The Air Force retired the F-117A Nighthawk Stealth Fighter on 22 April 2008, primarily because of the fielding of the F-22 Raptor and the impending introduction of the F-35 Lightning II. Sixty-four F-117s were built, 59 of which were production versions with five demonstrators/prototypes.
F-117A Nighthawk Stealth Fighter
F-117A Nighthawk Stealth Fighter

  • Role: Stealth attack aircraft
  • National origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: Lockheed Martin
  • First flight: 18 June 1981
  • Introduction: October 1983
  • Retired: 22 April 2008
  • Primary user: United States Air Force
  • Number built: 64 (5 YF-117As, 59 F-117As)
  • Unit cost: US$42.6 million (flyaway cost); US$111.2 million (average cost)
  • Developed from: Lockheed Have Blue
  • Power Plant: Two General Electric F404 engines
  • Length: 65 feet, 11 inches (20.3 meters)
  • Height: 12 feet, 5 inches (3.8 meters)
  • Weight: 52,500 pounds (23,625 kilograms)
  • Wingspan: 43 feet, 4 inches (13.3 meters)
  • Speed: High subsonic
  • Range: Unlimited with air refueling
  • Armament: Internal weapons carriage, two each of=2 MK84 2000-pound; 2 GBU-10 Paveway II; 2 GBU-12 Paveway II; 2 GBU-27 Paveway III; 2 BLU 109; 2 WCMD; 2 Mark 61


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