Military Aviation => Military Aircraft => Topic started by: Viggen on February 21, 2006, 08:27:41 AM

Title: F117 Nighthawk scrapped??
Post by: Viggen on February 21, 2006, 08:27:41 AM
I hear recently read that USAF is going to scrap the Nighthawks. Saving only 2 or 3 for museums.
My question is why would they do this  ??? ??? ???
Title: Re: F117 Nighthawk scrapped??
Post by: Webmaster on February 22, 2006, 01:39:06 AM
Uhm, you sure? Well yes, with the F-22 on duty, they might be able to retire. But the recent article I read about F-117 retirement, was just about the YF-117s prototypes...

They cost a fortune to maintain though...
Title: Re: F117 Nighthawk scrapped??
Post by: Viggen on February 23, 2006, 08:46:17 AM
Check this link out, i might have misunderstood the text.  :),15240,84991,00.html
Title: Re: F117 Nighthawk scrapped??
Post by: Webmaster on February 23, 2006, 11:49:29 AM
Well yes, looks like some want to retire them early, and I don't blame them for that. But not this year, the F-22 force needs to grow first.

In a Dec. 20 internal budget document, Pentagon Comptroller Tina Jonas approved significant spending changes between fiscal years 2007 and 2011 that were proposed by the Air Force.


the fiscal year 2006 defense appropriations bill, signed Dec. 30 by President Bush, includes $9.4 billion to maintain the fleet of 52 F-117s.
Title: Re: F117 Nighthawk scrapped??
Post by: Viggen on February 23, 2006, 03:41:49 PM
Thanks for the help, i thought they meant they would start scrapping them this year. But still it seems like a big waste of money no matter what they do.  :-\

Sweden does not produce any oil, so we are safe incase US Department Of Defence runs out of money...  ;)
Title: Re: F117 Nighthawk scrapped??
Post by: wwj6392 on March 28, 2006, 06:54:13 PM
Well the F-117's are big, expensive, hard to control, and requires alot of time to train pilots, and have no Air to Air capability what so ever. Go F-22 and JSF
Title: Re: F117 Nighthawk scrapped??
Post by: Webmaster on May 10, 2006, 02:12:48 PM
Some more news regarding the plans...

The House Armed Services Committee rejected a Pentagon bid to begin retiring the U-2 reconnaissance planes in 2007, but did agree to allow the retirement of up to 10 F-117A stealth fighters.
The committee bill includes language to allow the Pentagon to retire up to 10 of the 52 F-117A stealth fighters in 2007. The bill requires the Pentagon to keep the aircraft in storage in a condition that would allow them to be re-activated if needed.
Congress has blocked the retirement of any of the fighters during the past two years.
The Pentagon wants to retire the F-117A, stating that missiles and other aircraft - including the B-2 bomber and the new F-22 - can provide stealthly, precision strike capability.

source: LA Daily News
full article:
Title: Re: F117 Nighthawk scrapped??
Post by: Viggen on May 13, 2006, 11:09:16 PM
As long US is having its war against terrorism, they will not scrapp the F-117. But they should of not have produced it in the first place, stayed with using it as a prototype and development for stealthtechnologi.
Title: Re: F117 Nighthawk scrapped??
Post by: Webmaster on June 04, 2006, 01:13:22 AM
I'm not sure I agree.  ;D Time for discussion  ;D

It was expensive yes, but remember it was developed during the high points of the Cold War. Russia had a sophisticated network of radar and SAM installations. And even when not considering the Cold War, the thing came in very handy in the first gulf war.....just saw a documentary recently, F-117s flew 2% of the sorties of Desert Storm, destroying 40% of the designated targets...with no losses. And again in 1999, the F-117 proved worthwhile, another high tech SAM network. Okay, they didn't turn it on, and would have received a bad beating if they would have done that, and one F-117 was shot down. But without the F-117 proving stealth technology in the Gulf War, would the B-2 have been mature enough for the Yugoslavia battle...and Afghanistan and Iraq post 2001... or do you think that one shouldn't have been produced either?
Title: Re: F117 Nighthawk scrapped??
Post by: Viggen on June 09, 2006, 12:12:03 AM
Aoooch!  ;)

You do have a point, but the cold war era was mostly about nuclear weapons. So the F117 would not have been a sucsessful bomber during that period, because a nuclearwar would have been fought at a distance, missiles with nuclear warheads deployed by subs and so on. Smaller tactical warheads would of been deployed by artillery, using the F117 to deliver a nuclear payload on enemy troops or Moscow would not be costeffective.

I just think they could of used that technologi better. Yes, it did kick ass during Desert Storm. But where was the Iraqi airforce? If US would of meet a country with equal technologi, i dont think it would of been that easy to sneak in a couple of F117´s. And sooner or later some genius will come up with an idea how to track stealthbombers or figthters.  :)

About the B2, well...US had really no reason to get involved in Yugoslavia, thou im not defending the warcrimes that took part, and Afghanistan did not go all that well. Bin Laden is still not captured. So in my eyes that is more a unsuccesfull mission the the other way around. Dosent matter how many bombs the B2 dropped,they never had an enemy that was a real threat to the bombers, and thats not because of the stealthtechnologi.  8)

What i have learnd about stealthtechnologi is that the aircraft is not really invisible on radar, but the radar has a much harder time to aquire a lock on the target. Combined with flying at low altitude its easier for the pilot to fool the radar, this way a surpriseattack is achived. The F111 did this also, but flew at a more extreme lower altitude.

If you think im wrong on any or all that i have said. Let me know, i can handel it.  :)
Title: Re: F117 Nighthawk scrapped??
Post by: Webmaster on June 09, 2006, 01:37:31 AM
Maybe you are right there, the F-117 was too expensive/advanced for the 'conventional' tactical warfare, and too weak for the strategic nuclear war. But with both parties reluctant to use nuclear weapons, it could be very strategic to have a weapon that can really penetrate Soviet airspace and disable important installations in advance of a main attack. Of course, this could also be against a country other than the Soviet union....think about a Cuba crises in 1989....I suppose it would be very handy to have precision stealth strikers at hand, that won't be shot down that easy.

Indeed, but I guess then we will be back at discussing war ethics again. Why not deploy superior technology against an insuperior force? What's wrong with that. I guess the Iraqi's surely hoped they had their fighters in the air that first night over Bagdad, but they feared the 'air dominance' and superior fighter escorts of any bombers...and they didn't have the warning to get up in the air (at least in the first nights).

Indeed the B-2 might have been a costly weapon to bomb Afghanistan, not really needed. But I guess that the B-2s did succeed their mission. The fact that Bin Laden has not been found can't be blamed on the tools or the way they were used, but on the people that decided to use these wrong tools for the job.  ;) But then again, bombardments were needed, so why not employ your long range, heavy load, effective bombers with two-crew members if you have them. Surely more economical (provided that you have and fly them anyway) than getting more BUFFs for the job.

Because there was no oil and Yugoslavia did not attack the US? I don't want to get into too much political discussion here, but I think it was right someone (NATO in this case not just the US) did something against it, and it was authorised by the UN. The US/EU would also be blamed if they hadn't done anything.

Yes, something like that. How I understood it, is that the radar cross section is just much smaller, therefore the effective range of radars is reduced significantly (because it needs to detect a "smaller" object). This is also the case with fighters and bombers with the earlier radars, the bombers can be detected and tracked at longer range than smaller sized (read smaller RCS) object like fighters. So I suppose a smaller object (stealth or indeed smaller in size) will indeed be more difficult to keep track yes locking on will be harder. So at close range, even stealth fighter are visible yes. But because you can't put a groundradar (considering Iraq, with insufficient airpower or willingness to engage in air combat) on every street block, the reduction in the effective range of the stations create gaps in the radar coverage. Using those gaps (through missing planning and use of RWR indicator) the F-117 can slip through those gaps.

The F-111 (and any strikers/fighter-bombers) go under the radar, which is different, but of course you can also use gaps in the network. But it's especially effective if the radar network does not work well at low altitudes or the surroundings (mountains, sea) are interfering with the radar effectiveness. But with fighter looking down (with reasonable ability to distinguish targets from ground 'clutter') and airborne radars like AWACS, flying low won't keep you safe. And then there is the non guided AAA and IR missile, but of course you should have dropped your eggs by the time they 'switch on'.

Sooner.... I think they have already low frequency radar that has less difficulty picking up stealthy planes, don't know precise story. Also an European company (I was told it was Dutch, but not sure which one, considering all the mergers, I will call it European for now) developed a radar to pick up stealth planes, went into the newspaper, but never heard about it since.... guess maybe someone paid a lot of money, or it wasn't that good anyway)

Sorry about the long post. Just waiting for reactions now, as I'm no stealth expert either.

I don't want to vote for retirement of the Nighthawks, but they should keep them in black, not grey.  ;)
Title: Re: F117 Nighthawk scrapped??
Post by: Viggen on June 10, 2006, 01:42:18 PM
Good answers! And yes, it is a more political question then a technical now.  :)

There is nothing wrong with using a superiour airforce against a smaller developed one. My point was just that i think it would of been a diffrent story if  for example US and Iraq was on the same level. The whole idea with developing  stealthtechnologi is to get advantage during an airwar, minimise your own losses. By that saving lifes.

During Desert Storm and the recent war in Iraq, the F117 proved to be a succes. That is why i think it is a shame to scrap the F117, better to use it for something else then just scrapmetal. Black ops during drugwars? How about search and rescue on the open seas, or in hostile territory? Its much faster then a helo. Insteed of bombs it could drop inflatable liferafts or equipment for a downed pilot, troops that are cut off. In this case the stealth comes in handy also.

Ok, i know that im "out here" at the moment but i think everything can serve a purpose if you just want it to.  8)

Yes, bettter in black then grey. But how about in US Coastguard paintscheme?  ;)
Title: Re: F117 Nighthawk scrapped??
Post by: Goose on July 22, 2006, 09:39:20 PM
The purpose of the F-117A never was to deliver a nuclear payload. In the Cold War days it more than likely would not have gone nuclear instantly. The job of the F-117 then was to penetrate the comprehensive radar network to deliver a presion strike on a target of value. These targets would include bridges, fuel and weapon staging areas, air-defense network C3I sites and other command networks sites. These targets would be well protected but not worth using a tactical nuke on. Thus the outcome of all of this would be a degraded command structure reducing the operating capability of an OPFOR. Also these aircraft require less support so they act as a force multiplier. The birds have been flying almost 20 years now and it's not surprising that they want to retire a few.