Monday, April 21, 2008

F-117 Retires Today

Good grief, has it been nearly thirty years since the F-117, widely known as THE Stealth Fighter, went into service? Apparently so, as the Nighthawks are being retired today. The first true stealth warplane, it's faceted appearance was, at least in part, because the computers of the day couldn't practically simulate the radar reflective performance of curved surfaces. The Nighthawk proved its worth in the early nineties during Operation Desert Storm when while flying 2% of the sorties it struck nearly 40% of the strategic targets hit. It's design, while apparently quite stealthy, does pose limits. It's heir apparent, the F-22 Raptor, has the air-to-ground capability of the F-117 but adds supersonic speed and air-superiority capabilities the F-117 lacks.

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