Military Review

The return of the Lame Goblin: why the F-117s continue to fly

50

Continuity of "stealth"



There are planes that need no introduction: the first American stealth is a prime example. He - F-117... He is the "Night Hawk", or, as the US Air Force pilots also called the plane, Wobbly Goblin - Lame Goblin (which, of course, is difficult to consider as a compliment). Dry numbers, at first glance, are not very encouraging either. The once extremely ambitious and very expensive program resulted in the construction of 64 cars. At the same time, the aircraft were operated for a very short time (not long by the standards of the US Air Force), from 1983 to 2008. For comparison: the F-15 fighter began to operate in the late 70s, and the car will probably fly for more than one year, and perhaps more than one decade. About the strategic bomber B-52, which has every chance of celebrating its centenary in service, in this case I don't even want to remember.

Still, the Nighthawk is an iconic car. Both for the US Air Force and for the entire world aviation... This is the first in stories full-fledged stealth and one of the few machines for which the phrase "ahead of its time" is meaningful. The aircraft's reputation was badly tarnished by the defeat (probably by the C-125 anti-aircraft missile system) F-117 near the village of Budzhanovtsy during the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. However, many forget that this is the only confirmed combat loss of a Nighthawk. Meanwhile, in the Gulf War alone in the 90s, forty of these machines flew more than 1270 sorties, dropping about 30% of all high-precision weapons used in the conflict (the anti-Saddam coalition aviation was still very actively using unguided aviation ammunition).


Despite the antipathy on the part of the pilots, this allows us to speak of a high combat potential. At least at the time of the 80s and 90s. The withdrawal of the aircraft from service in 2008 was caused not so much by the shortcomings of the machine as by the adoption of the F-22 fighter.

The latter was not originally created as a drummer: in a broad sense, he was seen as the "heir" of the F-15 fighter. However, in fact, this is a full-fledged strike complex. The combat load of the F-117 could, in particular, include two guided bombs, for example, GBU-10 or GBU-27. The F-22 fighter is also capable of carrying two guided bombs: satellite-guided JDAM ammunition. Having subsequently received the opportunity to use eight GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb in one flight, the Raptor even surpassed its "colleague" in a sense.

At the same time, the F-22, unlike the Nighthawk, is a highly effective fighter. The latter, due to its design, in principle, cannot be considered as such: the aircraft is subsonic, and its maneuverability leaves much to be desired.

Awake flights


The commissioning of the initially multipurpose F-35, it seemed, should have once and for all close the question of the need for specialized tactical strike aircraft. Actually, this is how it happened (it's just that not all countries have realized this yet). On the other hand, to everyone's surprise, the decommissioned F-117s were in the sky again.

Back in 2016, spotter Sammamishman filmed Wobbly Goblin flights over the Tonopah test facility, home to the famous Area 51, a military base that is a remote arm of Edwards Air Force Base. According to the materials presented, the Americans flew two F-117 Nighthawk into the sky.


The action was not one-time. Moreover, according to the aviation resource Scramble, which referred to information from the US Air Force, the Americans deployed at least four such machines in the Middle East in an atmosphere of strict secrecy in 2017. They flew over the territory of Iraq and Syria.

The machines were based at an airfield located in one of the Gulf countries, possibly in Saudi Arabia or Qatar. According to reports, in the framework of one of the missions, due to an emergency situation, one aircraft was forced to land at another airfield, where it was noticed.

It can be assumed that flights in 2016 and the dispatch of aircraft to the Middle East (if, of course, it took place) is part of one action aimed at working out certain weapons systems. However, even after that, the F-117 continued to fly. And on March 18, photographer Toshihiko Shimizu, known on Instagram as pam_st112, took some pictures of Nighthawk as it flew over California's Star Wars Canyon.


Some of the most notable photos were taken quite recently. The aircraft was photographed at the US Marine Corps base in Miramar. It was a rare occasion to see the "new old" Nighthawk up close. At least in one of the photos.


Noteworthy is the exceptionally good condition of the side (judging purely visually). This is a very important aspect, since the condition of the coverage directly affects the degree of radar signature. You can see the “TR” markings on the tail, indicating that the vehicle is based at Tonopah Airport. The F-117 had similar markings on its tail earlier, after they were declassified, but before they moved from a remote base in Nevada to Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.

The main question can be formulated as follows: why are the Americans continuing to fly the F-117? It can be argued for certain that the United States will not "resurrect" the project as a combat vehicle. The new fifth-generation fighters do have "childhood illnesses", but the situation is not so serious. As we noted above, the F-22 and its successor, the F-35, are much more advanced models.

The return of the Lame Goblin: why the F-117s continue to fly

However, the above facts indirectly confirm another version previously expressed by experts. Most likely, some of the decommissioned F-117s have now moved from the concept evaluation stage to playing the role of "aggressors" - aircraft that imitate enemy winged vehicles during exercises. It makes sense. The United States is well aware that even if they do not have to meet in the sky with the Russian Su-57 (so far there is no such serial machine, although it will appear soon), sooner or later new Chinese models will make themselves felt.

Now the PRC has only one fifth-generation fighter in service - the infamous J-20. However, in the future it may be joined by a vehicle based on the J-31 being tested. In addition, it is obvious that China is very actively working on the concept of the sixth generation. And he really wants to get ahead of Europe and America in this respect.
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  1. Megatron
    Megatron 29 October 2020 05: 13
    +7
    Actually, the F117 hit the SAM-KUB!
    You need to know the history. Even a recent one.


    Well, so - not bad too! angry wassat
    1. BDRM 667
      BDRM 667 29 October 2020 06: 21
      +1
      It can be argued for certain that the United States will not "resurrect" the project as a combat vehicle.

      some of the decommissioned F-117s have now moved from the concept assessment stage to playing the role of "aggressors" - aircraft that simulate enemy winged aircraft during exercises.


      The most expensive target aircraft in the history of world aviation?

      Or were / are more expensive?
      1. psiho117
        psiho117 29 October 2020 21: 48
        +3
        Quote: BDRM 667
        Or were / are more expensive

        Full: B-1, B-2 for example wassat
        And if among fighters - then everything is more or less new (like the same F-22, F-35), is distinguished by the enviable high cost of flight time and maintenance.
        So the cost savings by using the old man 117 is quite justified. The resource of new aircraft is saved, but at the same time experience is gained in countering an unobtrusive enemy.
    2. KVIRTU
      KVIRTU 8 November 2020 20: 13
      0
      2K12 is a Square
  2. Ka-52
    Ka-52 29 October 2020 05: 29
    18
    This is a very important aspect, since the condition of the coverage directly affects the degree of radar signature.

    Ilya shines as always laughing How interesting he manages to visually (!), And even from a poor-quality photograph to determine the presence or condition of a special coating - only Mars knows
    Most likely, some of the decommissioned F-117s have now moved from the concept evaluation stage to playing the role of "aggressors" - aircraft that imitate enemy winged vehicles during exercises.

    The version that comes to mind last and is the least realistic. In fact, the most probable are periodic overflights of reserve equipment in storage and work as flying laboratories.
    1. And Makarov
      And Makarov 29 October 2020 08: 14
      25
      I agree. If the car is in working order, then periodically you can drive it. And if a job comes along that she can handle, then why not attract? Do not cut it?
  3. serg.shishkov2015
    serg.shishkov2015 29 October 2020 06: 01
    +2
    In the book * Strange flying objects * F-117 is devoted to a separate chapter. In the margins of this chapter, I wrote down the date of the F-117 decommissioning in black pen.
  4. Far B
    Far B 29 October 2020 06: 14
    +4
    will have to meet in the sky with Russian Su-57s (so far there is not a single production machine like this, although it will appear soon)
    Yes, Christmas trees and sticks! And "soon" is when? Well, at least roughly? And then I already have a trunk, like Zhdun has grown. During Putin's lifetime, will there be at least something of the promised? Armata? Anything from the HPP, from the May Decrees? Well, at least something? To hell with them, with the Americans, even if they at least "aircobras" again lift into the air.
    1. Obi-Wan Kenobi
      Obi-Wan Kenobi 29 October 2020 06: 54
      +1
      Well, at least something?

      Well, for example, Siluanov said that pensions for working pensioners will not be indexed.
      During Putin's lifetime, will there be at least something of the promised? Armata? Anything from the HPP, from the May Decrees?

      But this, I think, will not happen. Because there is no money.
      1. Soho
        Soho 29 October 2020 08: 03
        10
        Normal people are discussing the topic of the article about F117, and those who have gone, as always, will climb up with their whining about Putin and pregnant pensioners. So I just can't find the relationship between the first and the second, maybe because I don't have schizophrenia? what
        1. Romka47
          Romka47 29 October 2020 09: 28
          29
          I remembered an anecdote: Grandfather climbed on the grandmother and tried this way and that, but it doesn’t work, he turned to the wall and swore
          -That's Putin, that Putin! I'm sorry!
          Grandma asks:
          -What does Putin have to do with it?
          Grandfather:
          - Under Brezhnev, it never happened !!
        2. Okolotochny
          Okolotochny 29 October 2020 12: 43
          +2
          There is a connection, cry and earn money. Professional mourners lol
    2. Revolver
      Revolver 29 October 2020 07: 05
      12
      Quote: Dalny V
      To hell with them, with the Americans, even if they at least "aircobras" again lift into the air.

      Yes, finally, the "cobras" were pushed by the Lend-Lease to the British and the Russians according to the principle "I don't care for you," but they kept something better for themselves, well, at least the same "Corsairs" or "Mustangs". And the British were not very happy and at the first opportunity they also threw them off the Russians. And who could have known that in medium-altitude battles characteristic of the Eastern Front, the disadvantages of the "Cobra", for example, the drop in power at high altitudes, would be insignificant, but the advantages would just "play out"? The car found the right pilots, and the pilots found the right cars.
      1. serg.shishkov2015
        serg.shishkov2015 29 October 2020 07: 10
        12
        I agree with your every word! The Americans used the P-39 mainly as a reconnaissance aircraft and attack aircraft, and 37-mm cannons from those wrecked on the Pacific islands were put on torpedo boats. And ours squeezed out of ALL planes EVERYTHING they were capable of and won battles!
        1. Alexey RA
          Alexey RA 29 October 2020 14: 31
          +4
          Quote: serg.shishkov2015
          and 37-mm guns from the wrecked on the islands of the Pacific Ocean were put on torpedo boats

          At first. Then the production of the 37 mm / 56 M4 gun was organized especially for boats.
          1. serg.shishkov2015
            serg.shishkov2015 30 October 2020 05: 43
            +1
            Thanks for clarifying!
      2. Zufei
        Zufei 29 October 2020 14: 10
        +1
        It is more correct not to be "wretched", but "not godly". Heaven is a nephew.
      3. Alexey RA
        Alexey RA 29 October 2020 14: 28
        +7
        Quote: Nagan
        Yes, finally, the "cobras" were pushed by the Lend-Lease to the British and the Russians according to the principle "I don't care for you," but they kept something better for themselves, well, at least the same "Corsairs" or "Mustangs".

        When the "cobras" were pushed aside by the British, the Americans themselves flew on "axes". And "Corsairs" and "Mustangs" were only put into series. Moreover, the situation with fighters in the US Air Force was so bad that the "abandoned" British "cobras" decided to put into operation under the name P-400 and sent to fight in the Pacific Ocean.
        As for the USSR, we are Americans in 1941-1942. supplied what they flew themselves. And then our Air Force, having tasted the "Cobra", themselves began to put it in the supply lists.
      4. voyaka uh
        voyaka uh 29 October 2020 15: 01
        +3
        "And who could have known that in the medium-altitude battles characteristic of the Eastern Front," ///
        ---
        The Americans knew this, and therefore passed this front-line fighter to the USSR.
        They themselves needed aircraft capable of escorting strategists for thousands of kilometers. Airacobra didn't fit. In the USSR, the aircobras were written off only after the Korean War. The plane was all-metal, and not wooden, like the rest of the WWII fighters. It could withstand long-term storage, unlike other propeller-driven fighters of the USSR.
        1. Rt-xnumx
          Rt-xnumx 29 October 2020 15: 38
          +1
          Aerocobra
          From the spring of 1943 to February 1944, Pokryshkin fought in the Aircobra.
          1. Avior
            Avior 29 October 2020 18: 11
            +8
            From the list of the first six in terms of effectiveness, six Soviet aces, four fought in aircobras.
            Rechkalov, Pokryshkin, Gulyaev, Glinka.
            Of the first three dozen in terms of results, half fought on aircobras.
        2. Revolver
          Revolver 29 October 2020 19: 24
          +7
          Quote: voyaka uh
          Americans knew it

          At first, even the USSR did not know this, and they continued to rivet high-altitude MiG-3s. But the Germans for some reason were not worried about gaining altitude, and at medium heights, the MiG, let's say, did not shine with either speed or maneuverability. It just so happened that the P-39s did not come to the court either in the Pacific Theater or in Britain, in both cases exactly what high-altitude fighters were required. And the USSR at that time took everything that was given, because the loss of Ukrainian aluminum and the relocation of factories to the Urals and Siberia somehow did not contribute to the growth of aircraft production (and not only). Only after some time they looked around and noticed that out of everything proposed, it was the "cobra" that was the most effective, and they began to order it, much to the surprise of the Americans. And as for the altitude, they summed up the theoretical basis much later.
          Well, there was also a significant drawback of the "cobra" - rear alignment, and as a result instability in flight. The Americans were not used to this, so they fell into a tailspin and fought. And the Soviet pilots went through the "donkey", also with a rear alignment, and simply did not see it as a problem, because they knew and knew how to deal with it. But the rear alignment made the aircraft more maneuverable, which is important in battle.
          1. Alexey RA
            Alexey RA 30 October 2020 13: 00
            +1
            Quote: Nagan
            At first, even the USSR did not know this, and they continued to rivet high-altitude MiG-3s.

            The altitude of MiGs is "a need passed off as a virtue." It's just that the design bureau, creating a high-speed fighter, chose for it the most powerful engine available, which made it possible to fulfill the customer's speed requirements. And the altitude was an "application" to the selected motor.
            If the MiG were a high-altitude fighter, it would not have been shoved en masse into mixed air divisions that were involved in direct support of the ground. To cover the I-15bis and I-153 from the assault regiments, an altitude of 5-7 km is not needed.
            The same AM-35 was installed on BSh-2 - but this is not a reason to consider it a high-altitude attack aircraft? wink

            The MiG-3 was riveted because a series was established and there were motors. As soon as the yok motors, the MiG-3 was discontinued.
      5. novel66
        novel66 29 October 2020 18: 00
        +2
        and even finalized in terms of combating a flat corkscrew
    3. prior
      prior 29 October 2020 08: 05
      +3
      "During Putin's lifetime, will there be at least something of the promised?"

      Yesterday the civilian TU-154 made its last flight.
      And this is the end of the Soviet, and maybe the Russian aircraft industry.
      "Corn" no, "Sukhoi-100" - continuous import saturation, MS-21 - will it take off ...
      These are the "galoshes" .....
      1. Soho
        Soho 29 October 2020 08: 31
        -5
        Do not forget to write about the oligarchs and about the "unegozhedochkav parizhezhivet". The article is called "let's make a booth instead of a topic about weapons" fool
        Prior from "Priora" is not far from the content lol
      2. Vadim237
        Vadim237 29 October 2020 12: 52
        11
        "MS-21 - will it take off". It has been flying for two years already. With PD 14, the same will fly.
        1. prior
          prior 29 October 2020 14: 52
          +2
          I will try to explain my doubts about "MS-21 - will it take off".
          I think that today airlines have no shortage of liners, but these are Boing and Airbus.
          The price for the serial MC-21 has not been determined today and whether it will be less than that of competitors is a question.
          Knowing our quality and service, would airlines want to buy it?
          Nobody will let us enter the foreign market with the MS-21, the SP-2 is an example of that.
          And if there is no mass demand, then what kind of MS-21?
          Well, if only to introduce a complete ban on the use of imported aircraft, which is not realistic.
          I am not against the MC-21 at all, but ...... wean of believing in good things.
          1. ycuce234-san
            ycuce234-san 29 October 2020 21: 16
            +1
            Knowing our quality and service, would airlines want to buy it?


            You can do mainly production and serve with Western specialized companies, not the first market players, of course, but outsiders hiding in the shadows of giants. It is full of hungry mouths ready to take a bite of the world market. It is possible to attract regional companies in Africa and Asia. This is how repair shops for equipment usually work - the parent company only certifies them and controls the quality, and local companies work. In addition, the quality corresponds to the expected norm in the region - something that is unforgivable in northern Europe, in Afghanistan they will not even notice ...
      3. K-612-O
        K-612-O 30 October 2020 09: 11
        +1
        MC-21 has been flying for the third year already, an order for 3 aircraft that are already being assembled. So far, the only question is with an international certificate for an aircraft with P / W ,, and PD-52
    4. Thrifty
      Thrifty 29 October 2020 08: 12
      -5
      Dalny V - hope and wait, maybe yes I suppose to help you! “Hope dies last, said Love, and Faith has withdrawn into itself!” Do not reach this point, cut off the trunk, and wait for it to grow up again. .. wassat
    5. The comment was deleted.
    6. the Saint
      the Saint 29 October 2020 19: 14
      0
      Quote: Dalny V
      will have to meet in the sky with Russian Su-57s (so far there is not a single production machine like this, although it will appear soon)
      Yes, Christmas trees and sticks! And "soon" is when?

      The Su-57, which fell in December last year, was the first production fighter.
      By the end of 2019, the Aerospace Forces (VKS) of Russia were to receive the first serial Su-57. It was the plane that fell in the taiga, which the plant was supposed to transfer to the military by the end of the year. In the next (2020) year, the Aerospace Forces also planned to receive another Su-57.
    7. Voyager
      Voyager 4 November 2020 07: 33
      -1
      "Soon" - before the end of the year.
  5. BAI
    BAI 29 October 2020 09: 24
    -5
    since the condition of the coverage directly affects the degree of radar signature.

    Exactly. The F-117 is not an all-weather aircraft. The coating is washed off by rain. Therefore, it is good in the desert and bad in Europe.
    What about the inscription on board the B-2?
    "If you are reading these lines now, then the American taxpayers have wasted a billion dollars."
    1. KVIRTU
      KVIRTU 8 November 2020 20: 45
      0
      In 2001 they flew the Taliban bomb from Ramstein, with a tanker refueling over the Black Sea. Nothing special about the location, don't listen to fairy tales.
  6. Alien From
    Alien From 29 October 2020 09: 38
    +1
    It looks like a goblin ...
    1. Alexey RA
      Alexey RA 29 October 2020 14: 32
      +9
      Quote: Alien From
      It looks like a goblin ...

      The victory of radio physics over aerodynamics. smile
      1. Alien From
        Alien From 29 October 2020 14: 41
        +4
        Popov would appreciate)))
    2. Generator Systems
      Generator Systems 29 October 2020 22: 39
      0
      In my opinion, he is beautiful request
  7. Undecim
    Undecim 29 October 2020 14: 41
    18
    Most likely, some of the decommissioned F-117s have now moved from the concept assessment stage to playing the role of "aggressors" - aircraft that imitate enemy winged vehicles during exercises. It makes sense. The United States is well aware that even if they do not have to meet in the sky with the Russian Su-57 (so far there is no such serial machine, although it will appear soon), sooner or later new Chinese models will make themselves felt.
    It would seem that today's opportunities for access to information allow us to understand very many issues.
    But the authors of the site overwhelmingly stuff the reader with some kind of fables from the repertoire of good propaganda and all kinds of rumors from tabloid publications, such as the transfer of the F-117 Nighthawk to the Middle East.
    You can see the “TR” markings on the tail unit, which indicates that the vehicle is based at Tonopah Airport.
    The “TR” mark on the tail unit does not indicate a base at Tonopah Airport. This indicates that the aircraft was assigned to the Tonopah Test Range - the Tonopah test site, which was the base for the F-1984 Nighthawk between 1992 and 117.
    Retired F-117 Nighthawks are stored at the renowned US Air Force Davis Monten in Arizona under the Type 1000 program. This means that the aircraft are kept in such a condition that they can be put in service at any time and fly again. Without special permission from the command from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, which technically "owns" the plane, not a screw can be removed from it.
    Periodically, according to a special schedule, aircraft stored under the Type 1000 program are retrieved from storage to check airworthiness and comply with storage rules.
    From time to time, F-117 Nighthawk are also used to train crews of AWACS aircraft, since it is much cheaper than using the F-22 and F-35 for these purposes.
    This is why the F-117 Nighthawk continues to fly.
  8. Incvizitor
    Incvizitor 29 October 2020 18: 28
    -4
    There is nothing new, so they use what is left.
  9. Generator Systems
    Generator Systems 29 October 2020 22: 38
    +1
    The plane is certainly not perfect, but nevertheless it has its own + on which the United States is now obviously focusing.
  10. Kerensky
    Kerensky 29 October 2020 22: 59
    +3
    As they used to say: "A very good plane! For such a Hero will be given right away."
  11. Alsur
    Alsur 30 October 2020 11: 13
    +1
    Quote: prior
    I will try to explain my doubts about "MS-21 - will it take off".
    I think that today airlines have no shortage of liners, but these are Boing and Airbus.
    The price for the serial MC-21 has not been determined today and whether it will be less than that of competitors is a question.
    Knowing our quality and service, would airlines want to buy it?
    Nobody will let us enter the foreign market with the MS-21, the SP-2 is an example of that.
    And if there is no mass demand, then what kind of MS-21?
    Well, if only to introduce a complete ban on the use of imported aircraft, which is not realistic.
    I am not against the MC-21 at all, but ...... wean of believing in good things.

    It is possible not to prohibit the operation of foreign aircraft, to do as in Europe with cars, to limit the aircraft by age and generation.
    And the fact that the MC-21 does not take off and the reason is indicated by the behavior of the West with the SP-2, is it really normal, where is the notorious hand of the market, which determined which aircraft to be. But we have our own air transportation market, there are countries ready to buy our aircraft. But we really need to establish the service, everyone understands this, in the aviation industry, I hope too.
  12. Maksim_ok
    Maksim_ok 2 November 2020 12: 05
    0
    I doubt about the antipathy from the pilots who flew the F-117. Generally the first shock stealth, very effective. These aircraft were first used in Panama, and then launched the first air strikes in 1991 in Iraq. "In general, during the war, the F-117A flew 1271 sorties with a duration of more than 7000 hours and dropped 2087 laser-guided bombs GBU-10 and GBU-27 with a total mass of about 2000 tons. Their effectiveness (the relative number of sorties with the destruction of assigned targets) was official estimates, 80-95%. In particular, it is argued that the pilots "stealth" achieved 1669 direct hits, making only 418 misses. (Note that during the Vietnam War, the effectiveness averaged 33%, and by the early 1990s The norm for aircraft of conventional types was 50%.) But perhaps the most impressive is the statement that with the number of only 2,5% of the total number of aircraft deployed in the Persian Gulf zone, the F-117A hit about 40% of all attacked by the Allies strategic goals ". And this is no loss! It is clear that these aircraft used only guided weapons.
    The only combat loss was the destruction of F-27A (serial no. 1999-117) on March 82, 0806, Lieutenant Colonel Dale Zelko, but after changing tactics, the 117s flew and struck Yugoslavia for two more months without losing a single vehicle ...

    The plane is truly iconic. Of course, it is correct to say that this is an aircraft with reduced visibility, but "stealth" sounds simpler.
    1. Alexander Seklitsky
      Alexander Seklitsky 5 November 2020 15: 11
      0
      No losses because there was no opposition.
      1. Samir
        Samir 21 November 2020 16: 56
        0
        Iraq at that time is the fifth army in the world. They had plenty of fighters and air defense systems
  13. Dzafdet
    Dzafdet 5 November 2020 14: 21
    0
    Its coating thickness can really greatly reduce the visibility. But neither ours nor the Americans will reveal the whole truth to us.
  14. Ersh
    Ersh 19 November 2020 17: 24
    0
    I support sane colleagues! On the site, unfortunately, there are more and more articles written by people who are poorly versed in that. what they write about. They pulled something from the Internet, somehow they blinded it and go ahead. At the same time, more and more people appear who do not care what the article is about. The main thing for them is to write how everything is bad in Russia, how bad Putin is, everything has been stolen, etc.
    It would be necessary to think of something to raise the level of professionalism of the writers.
  15. Evgenii Xolod
    Evgenii Xolod Yesterday, 17: 35
    0
    Те кто его хотят сбить , не имеют возможностей . Те кто могут желания , так выпьем же за то ...... В общем летают , пока.