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F-117 Night Hawk

F-117 Night Hawk
Click on the picture for the F-117 Night Hawk sound.


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        Year Deployed
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$122.2 million
GE F404
2 x 10,800 lbs. ea.
30,000 lbs.
52,500 lbs.
5,000 lbs.
65 ft. 11 in.
43 ft. 4 in.
478 mph
684 mph
12,750 fpm
45,000 feet
1,300 miles

During the first Gulf War the F-117 Night Hawk, produced by Lockheed, set a distance and endurance record for a single seat combat aircraft by flying from Holloman AFB in the U.S. to Kuwait in about 18 hours and 30 minutes.

The F-117 Night Hawk was developed in response to an Air Force requirement for a bomber capable of not being detected by enemy radar. A contract was awarded in 1978. The first flight was on June 18, 1981, and it was deployed in 1982. However, the existence of the aircraft was only made known to the public in 1988.

Features of the F-117 Night Hawk include angle optimized leading edges and surfaces, saw tooth edges on opening panels and doors, radar absorbing paint, coated engine intake gratings, and engine exhaust masking, all designed to reduce radar and thermal signatures.

In a further effort to keep a stealth profile, the F-117 Night Hawk does not use radar for navigation or weapons targeting. The aircraft utilizes infrared technology instead. It has a computerized flight control system that provides navigation and flight systems management. However, the pilot can visually acquire the target in a head up display for weapons delivery. It also has a video system to view and record real-time damage assessment.

The F-117 Night Hawk can carry up to 5,000 lbs. of ordinance internally. Typical weapons are two laser guided bombs, two penetration bombs, two wind corrected munitions dispensers, or two joint direct attack munitions and G P S guided stand-off bombs. In theory it can carry two of every weapon in the U.S.A.F. inventory including nuclear bombs.

The F-117 Night Hawk first saw action on 12/20/89 during Operation Just Cause in Panama. During Operation Desert Storm in January and February of 1991 the stealth aircraft was the only Coalition fixed wing bomber allowed to strike targets inside of Baghdad's city limits. It also conducted air strikes during NATO operations in the Balkans in March of 1999.

A Night Hawk was downed by a ground to air missile over Serbia in March of 1999. The aircraft remains were given to Russia and China for study.

It is estimated that Lockheed delivered 59 Night Hawk aircraft to the United States Air Force between August of 1982 and July of 1990. They were retired from service in 2008.

You can find the radio control airplane here.

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