Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk Stealth attack aircraft. NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- An F-117 Nighthawk flies over the Nevada desert. The unique design of the single-seat F-117 provides exceptional combat capabilities. The fighter 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 Nighthawk. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron D. Allmon II)
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OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM -- An F-117 from the 8th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron out of Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., flies over the Persian Gulf on April 14, 2003. The 8th EFS returned to Hollomann A.F.B. after having been deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Derrick C. Goode)
The Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk is a single-seat, twin-engine stealth ground-attack aircraft formerly operated by the United States Air Force (USAF). Its first flight was in 1981. It achieved initial operating status in October 1983. The F-117 was "acknowledged" to the world in November 1988.
A product of Lockheed Skunk Works and a development of the Have Blue technology demonstrator, it became the first operational aircraft designed around stealth technology. The F-117A was publicized during the Persian Gulf War of 1991. It was commonly called the "Stealth Fighter" although it was a ground-attack aircraft.
The Air Force retired the F-117 on 22 April 2008. Sixty-four F-117s were built, 59 of which were production versions with five demonstrators / prototypes.
Four F-117 Nighthawks fly in formation during a sortie over the Antelope Valley March 28, 2007. After 25 years of history, the aircraft was retired. As the Air Force's first stealth fighter, the F-117 was capable of performing reconnaissance missions and bombing critical targets, all without the enemy's knowledge. F-117, tail number 783, was transported to Edwards AFB June 8 to be refurbished and be put on display in the future. It will be one of only four F-117s on display. (Photo by Bobbi Zapka)