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F-117 Nighthawk (Lockheed)

The F-117 is an air-to-ground stealth strike aircraft. It has been developed by the American company Lockheed Aeronautical Systems for the United States Air Force during the cold war.

The F-117 was developed with technologies learned from the F-16 and other advanced stealth technologies.

The F-117A Nighthawk is worlds first operational aircraft with low noticeable characteristics (stealth). The first aircraft was manufactured in 1982 and the last one in 1990 with a total of 54 Aircraft for the USAF.
On 1990 at Nellis AFB the F-117 was first shown to the audience. The USAF is thinking to discharge the F-117 in 2018 and replace it by the F-22 Raptor.

The USAF has now the ability of the stealth F-117 Nighthawk, stealth B-2 Spirit and the stealth F-22A Raptor which gives the US an incredible Military Power.


The first mission was in 1989 in Panama. After that the F-117 is used during Desert Storm and has dropped during the whole war more than 2000 ton bombs. The aircraft dominated the air above cities which were protected with 3000 pieced anti-aircraft guns and 60 anti-aircraft missiles. No F-117 have been shot. 24 F-117's were also used in Yugoslavia to support NATO air forces.

At the same time with the invasion in Iraq, Washington send F-117's to South-Korea.
At 18 october 2002 the Austrian air-controls noticed a American DC-10 which deviated from the permitted air-route. Quickly, 2 Austria fighter jets toke off to see what happened. When they arrived they where very surprised. It was not a normal DC-10, but a USAF KC-10 Extender with on each wing a F-117 Stealth airplane.

The F-117 has imitated navigation and attack systems which increases the effect of the mission. Further the aircraft has a special developed automatic mission planning system for mission in heavily defended areas. The stealth technology wa dominated to each other aircraft in the world but has been overruled by the F-22 and F-35.


Design organisation Lockheed Aeronautical Systems
Main secundary design organisations GE
Production organisaton Lockheed Aeronautical Systems
Primary task Deep strike air-to-surface
Type aircraft Stealth attack airplane
Specials Stealth
Length 63ft. 7in. (19.4 meters)
Height 12ft. 9in. (3.9 meters)
Wingspan 43ft. 4in. (13.2 meters)
Wing surface 73 m2  
Aspect ratio  
Sweep back  
Engines 2x General Electric F404 without afterburner
Thrust 10,600 pounds each engine
Weight (empty)  
Weight (start, maximum, MTOW) 52,500 pounds (23.625 kgs)
Weight (landing, maximum)  
Required runway length (start)  
Required runway length (landing)  
Cruise speed 684 mph
Maximum speed High-subsonic
Ceiling 45,000 ft / 13,716 meters
Maximum range 930 nautical miles
Fuel capacity  
Air-to-air-refueling capability Yes
Passengers None
Payload None
Armament Possible combination of:

- Mk84 2000 pound general purpose bomb
- GBU-10 Paveway I
- GBU-12 Paveway II
- GBU-27 Paveway III
- BLU-109
- Mark 61
- B61 nuclear bomb
Maximum weapon load  
Maximum G resistance  
Radar none
Avionics FLIR, DLIR 
Type flight controls  
Landing gear  
Versions F-117A
Manufactured 64 of which 5 for testing
Crew 1
Costs 45 million dollar
Overall flight hours  
First flight 18 June 1981
First delivery  
Operational since October 1983
Successor of none
Replaced by F-22 (2010)
Comparable aircraft none
Operators (current and future) Only United States
Main operators United States Air Force
Operational usage  
Amphibious usage No
Status Out of operational service / kept in storage


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Last updated: 2 April 2017