• Hi Guest! Forum rules have been updated. All users please read here.

F-117A spotted flying over Nevada: CONFIRMED

Sundog

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2006
Messages
2,620
Reaction score
33
quellish said:
There has been more hangar space available at TTR since other residents moved out. The test support aircraft have gotten more room (RAT-55, F-117s, etc.)
Any idea where the other residents moved to, or were they deactivated?
 
I

Ian33

Guest
Question for Quellish - If Lockheed and the USAF had in development / testing / limited use, an aircraft with similar landing / take off /flight characteristics as the F-117, would it not make sense to use these remaining airframes as a daylight training aircraft? Kind of how the Corsair was used for the daylight training ops before the F-117 was allowed to see daylight.
 

Sundog

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2006
Messages
2,620
Reaction score
33
Ian33 said:
Question for Quellish - If Lockheed and the USAF had in development / testing / limited use, an aircraft with similar landing / take off /flight characteristics as the F-117, would it not make sense to use these remaining airframes as a daylight training aircraft? Kind of how the Corsair was used for the daylight training ops before the F-117 was allowed to see daylight.
I'm not Quellish (Obviiously) but I would say no, as I would think the operational costs would be somewhat high to use these assets as day time trainers, especially given the fidelity of today's simulators.
 

DrRansom

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Dec 15, 2012
Messages
527
Reaction score
3
But, why is the F-117 still operational? The stealth design is probably effective but no longer special compared to possible modern designs.

Maybe the F-117 is serving as a representative threat aircraft for fighter training.
 

Sundog

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2006
Messages
2,620
Reaction score
33
DrRansom said:
But, why is the F-117 still operational? The stealth design is probably effective but no longer special compared to possible modern designs.

Maybe the F-117 is serving as a representative threat aircraft for fighter training.
They're using them to test new stealth coatings and systems. They have a good baseline of the F-117A's "stealthiness" so they can use it to test upgrades/systems to be able to determine if and how much more effective they would be by comparing the new signature reduction versus the old signature reduction.
 

quellish

I am not actually here.
Senior Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Messages
2,057
Reaction score
15
Sundog said:
Any idea where the other residents moved to, or were they deactivated?

Some were moved to their new permanent home, other residents (DTRA, etc.) were shuffled around and some moved to NM or other parts of Nevada. TTR was housing assets like SCUD TELs and similar things for some time. The 30th moved to Creech where they have new facilities, though they maintain a presence at TTR. Moving some of these assets around also made some room at other locations. Some things that had been using more secure facilities that did not need that level of security now use TTR or other places.


DrRansom said:
But, why is the F-117 still operational? The stealth design is probably effective but no longer special compared to possible modern designs.Maybe the F-117 is serving as a representative threat aircraft for fighter training.


[font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]The F-117s are being used as test assets. They are NOT operational. There is a very limited number of people keeping a very limited number flying, and this is (for the most part) separate from the activities surrounding the aircraft in storage. Flying F-117s requires specialized capabilities that contractors are providing. The F-117s are supporting other programs. They are not being used to simulate threats except in the broadest possible sense. They have been flying in configurations that are pretty much the same as that of the operational aircraft when they were retired - no "UCAV" modifications, super sekrit "magical ram", etc.


[font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]The F-117 is still quite special, even when compared with "modern" designs. The laws of physics don't change.[/font]

[font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]You may have noticed that they have not been using "Bandit" numbers as call signs.[/font]

[font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]I am sure someone will notice the recent construction at TTR and claim that the LRS-B/RQ-200/etc. is based there.[/font][/font]
 

Sundog

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2006
Messages
2,620
Reaction score
33
quellish said:
The F-117s are being used as test assets. They are NOT operational. There is a very limited number of people keeping a very limited number flying, and this is (for the most part) separate from the activities surrounding the aircraft in storage. Flying F-117s requires specialized capabilities that contractors are providing. The F-117s are supporting other programs. They are not being used to simulate threats except in the broadest possible sense. They have been flying in configurations that are pretty much the same as that of the operational aircraft when they were retired - no "UCAV" modifications, super sekrit "magical ram", etc.

The F-117 is still quite special, even when compared with "modern" designs. The laws of physics don't change.

When you say they are supporting other programs, but aren't modified, can you clarify? I realize you probably can't say much though. Are they supporting new stealthy weapons tests by serving as a delivery platform, anti-stealth tech, all of the above?
 

quellish

I am not actually here.
Senior Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Messages
2,057
Reaction score
15
Sundog said:
When you say they are supporting other programs, but aren't modified, can you clarify? I realize you probably can't say much though. Are they supporting new stealthy weapons tests by serving as a delivery platform, anti-stealth tech, all of the above?

A number of different things. Remember that there is a lot of hardware on the ground on the Nellis ranges that looks *up*. There are also platforms that fly and carry sensors, like the Lincoln Labs aircraft.


For example (hypothetically), to support the F-35 program an F-117 might be needed to calibrate the dynamic RCS ranges, or perform work with ground based threats or threat simulators. It may be used to develop penetration methods against specific threats, or it may fly with a platform carrying a thread sensor or weapon. All of this can generate data which would aid the F-35 program. Using the F-117 frees up F-35 program resources until they are needed.
 

Sundog

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2006
Messages
2,620
Reaction score
33
Thanks, that's partly what I was thinking but wasn't sure.
 

Flyaway

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
2,353
Reaction score
326
They are out & about again in Nevada.

http://www.lazygranch.com/bat15.html
 

lowchi

CLEARANCE: Restricted
Joined
Feb 20, 2014
Messages
22
Reaction score
0
Congress appears ready to let the Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk go

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/congress-appears-ready-to-let-the-lockheed-f-117a-ni-424690/
 

Flyaway

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
2,353
Reaction score
326
lowchi said:
Congress appears ready to let the Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk go

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/congress-appears-ready-to-let-the-lockheed-f-117a-ni-424690/
Couldn't they send a few to museums rather than destroying them all.
 

quellish

I am not actually here.
Senior Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Messages
2,057
Reaction score
15
lowchi said:
Congress appears ready to let the Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk go

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/congress-appears-ready-to-let-the-lockheed-f-117a-ni-424690/
While the aircraft themselves are kept in type 1000 storage the pool of people who are qualified in them is very, very small. Even if a dozen F-117s were made ready tomorrow there would not be enough pilots and maintainers to use them.
 

fightingirish

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2006
Messages
2,139
Reaction score
116
Two F-117A spotted flying at Tonopah Test Range in July 2016.
Link: https://theaviationist.com/2016/09/23/watch-two-f-117-stealth-jets-fly-over-nevada-together-8-years-after-retirement/
 

quellish

I am not actually here.
Senior Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Messages
2,057
Reaction score
15
From the FY17 HASC procurement report:

"Section 133—Repeal of Requirement to Preserve Certain Retired F-117 Aircraft
This section would amend section 136 of the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 (Public Law 109-364) by striking subsection (b), which would remove the requirement that certain F-117 aircraft be maintained in a condition that would allow recall of those aircraft to future service."
 

Flyaway

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
2,353
Reaction score
326
F-117 Sported Mysterious "Dark Knights" Tail Flash During Recent Mojave Desert Flights

Yet another new tidbit of information has emerged regarding recent F-117 Nighthawk operations over and around Panamint Valley, California. Photos from the aircraft's famous appearance near the aviation photographer haven of Rainbow Canyon have shown the black jets largely stripped of markings, aside from one peculiar and high-profile addition on one of the planes—a color tail stripe prominently displayed on the F-117's 'v' tails. It reads "Dark Knights" and has the iconic planform shape of an F-117 towards the tail's leading edge.
 

quellish

I am not actually here.
Senior Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Messages
2,057
Reaction score
15

Flyaway

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
2,353
Reaction score
326
And it has been spotted again this time seemingly sporting Aggressor camouflage. Along with a NASA F-15D with unidentified wing pod.

It would be interesting to know which pod it was. EDW F-15s regularly fly with diagnostic pods to image VLO aircraft. Never heard of a NASA F-15 doing so.
I’ve seen it suggested it was an IRST pod as the USAF have become interested in detecting stealth aircraft using IR.
 

coanda

CLEARANCE: Confidential
Joined
Feb 3, 2009
Messages
90
Reaction score
7
The 'aggressor' camouflage is either panels with various coatings or panels just without the RAM applied.
 

Mat Parry

CLEARANCE: Secret
Joined
Jan 25, 2011
Messages
417
Reaction score
7
Twitter user GeorgeWilliamHerbert makes an interesting suggestion, rather than being an aggressor scheme


"Applique RAM isn’t necessary for function test flights. We know it developed hangar and flight rash and fell off a lot. Those are locations under a lot of aerodynamic pressure. Probably was taken off..."
 
Top