TWO stealth F-117 Nighthawk jets came out of retirement to scream across Central California skies this week. The ‘airworthy’ jets co
TWO stealth F-117 Nighthawk jets came out of retirement to scream across Central California skies this week.
The ‘airworthy’ jets completed training missions alongside the state’s National Guard 144th Fighter WingF-15C/Ds and put on a stunning display.
“The training against integrated forces that include the F-117 will challenge and sharpen pilots, as well as build confidence in tactics and systems needed to defend our nation,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Troy Havener, 144th Fighter Wing commander.
A pair of stealth F-117 Nighthawk jets came out of retirement to scream across Central California skies for a week of training[/caption]
SECOND SHOT AT FAME
The historic deployment marks a kind of second shot at fame for the officially retired F-117, first reported by the Drive.
The dark metallic and sleekly-designed aircraft that notoriously defied radar that it was fondly referred to as “Unexpected Guest” during the Reagan Years – was the VIP of the runways after first touching down this week at Fresno-Yosemite International Airport.
Overhead, the F-117 was a clear standout amongst the more ubiquitous F-15C/Ds as it was captured soaring over civilian car traffic.
ONLY 48 F-117S IN FLEET
The US Air Force debuted the aircraft back in 1989.
It officially retired the F-117 in 2008.
“It paved the way for the future of stealth technology, and it makes us wonder just how much further we can continue pushing the limits of what’s possible,” according to a description by Lockheed Martin.
The Air Force reported that as of January 2021 there are only 48 F-117s remaining in its inventory.
They are “disposing of approximately four aircraft each year.”
Those F-117s that bow out of the fleet or “disposed” are offered to museums though the USAF Strategic Basing program and the National Museum of the USAF.
Lt. Col. David Allamandola, 144th FW Advanced Programs Officer was ecstatic: “Our Griffin pilots, operations, and maintainers are thrilled to be able to participate in this unique opportunity.
“It is a very special privilege to do open air training missions with the F-117 Nighthawks.”
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He added: “This training offers incredible value for everyone involved and presents new challenges to test difficult tactics in a realistic environment.
“Not everyone gets to do this, so it’s been exciting creating the groundwork with our partners to make this a reality.”
Although the Air Force officially grounded the F-117s, they are considered “airworthy” and are “used to support limited research and training missions based on overall cost-effectiveness and their ability to offer unique capabilities.”
The F-117 officially debuted back in 1989 and retired in 2008[/caption]
The Air Force reported that as of January 2021 there are only 48 F-117s remaining in its inventory[/caption]
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