F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighter

F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighter

┬áThe F-117A Nighthawk is the world’s first operational aircraft designed to exploit low-observable stealth technology.

The F-117A can employ a variety of weapons and is equipped with sophisticated navigation and attack systems integrated into a digital avionics suite that increases mission effectiveness and reduces pilot workload. Detailed planning for missions into highly defended target areas is accomplished by an automated mission planning system developed, specifically, to take advantage of the unique capabilities of the F-117A.

During Operation Desert Storm in 1991, F-117A’s flew approximately 1,300 sorties and scored direct hits on 1,600 high-value targets in Iraq. It was the only U.S. or coalition aircraft to strike targets in downtown Baghdad. Since moving to Holloman AFB in 1992, the F-117A and the men and women of the 49th Fighter Wing have deployed to Southwest Asia more than once. On their first trip, the F-117s flew non-stop from Holloman to Kuwait, a flight of approximately 18.5 hours — a record for single-seat fighters that stands today.

Returning to the skies over Baghdad, F-117A’s launched Operation Iraqi Freedom with a decapitation strike on March 20, 2003. Striking key targets in the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s regime, 12 deployed F-117s flew more than 100 combat sorties in support of the global war on terrorism.

General Characteristics

Primary Function: Fighter/attack

Contractor: Lockheed Aeronautical Systems Co.

Power Plant: Two General Electric F404 non-afterburning engines

Thrust: 18,080 pounds at sea level

Wingspan: 43 feet, 4 inches (13.2 meters)

Length: 63 feet, 9 inches (19.4 meters)

Height: 12 feet, 9.5 inches (3.9 meters)

Weight: 52,500 pounds (23,625 kilograms)

Maximum takeoff weight: 47,900 pounds (21,727 kilograms)

Fuel capacity: 19,000 pounds (8618 kilograms)

Payload: 4,000 pounds (1,814 kilograms)

Speed: High subsonic

Range: Unlimited with air refueling

Ceiling: 45,000 feet (13,716 meters)

Armament: Internal weapons carriage

Crew: One

Unit Cost: $45 million

Initial operating capability: October 1983

Inventory: Total force, 45

Source: USAF Continue reading