Originally shared by +Fly By Photography
I dug into the archives for today's jet.
Photographed here is the F-117 Nighthawk, probably more popularly know as "The Stealth Fighter," at the NAS Oceana Airshow back in 2007. Developed by the secretive Skunk Works division of Lockheed, the F-117 first took to the air on 18 June 1981. The aircraft's faceted shape was designed to reflect a radars' electromagnetic energy away from that radar's receiver, making the aircraft difficult to detect. Additionally, the F-117 didn't carry a radar of its own, as the electromagnetic pulses from an aircraft's radar can be detected by enemy receivers. Instead, it relied on electro-optical and thermal-optical equipment to navigate and deliver its payload. In order to defeat thermal detection, the F-117 used a jet exhaust system that mixed cool ambient air with the hot exhaust as it exited the aircraft.
Although popularly referred to as The Stealth Fighter, the F-117 was never capable of and never used to shoot down enemy aircraft. Instead, it was a strike aircraft, used to deliver smart bombs on high value, highly defended targets. F-117s were first used in combat in 1989, during the invasion of Panama to oust its dictator, Manuel Noriega. F-117s were used once again in 1991 during the Gulf War to hit high value targets. In 1999 F-117s were used over war torn Yugoslavia. It was over Yugoslavia that an F-117 was actually shot down by a Soviet made surface-to-air missile, the only successful shoot down of an F-117. Sharp eyed readers will notice that I speak of the F-117 in the past tense and that is because they were retired from service on 22 April 2008. By then the F-117s mission had been taken over by more advanced aircraft such as the Lockheed F-22.
"Black Jet, Blue Sky"
United States Air Force
F-117 Demo Team
Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk
82-0800 / HO
8th Fighter Squadron "Black Sheep", 49th Fighter Wing, Holloman AFB, New Mexico