10 Facts About F-117 Nighthawk
This overwhelmingly strange and mysterious plane is promoted as an “invisible fighter”, although not designed for air combat with other aircraft.
The F-117 Nighthawk is a combat aircraft for ground attacks and the world’s first aircraft made of material that makes it almost invisible to radar – Stealth Technology.
The F-117 production decision was issued in 1973. The first flight was in 1981, and operating flights began in October 1983. Participated in combat operations in Panama, Iraq and on the territory of former Yugoslavia.
A total of 64 examples of this “invisible” aircraft were produced. The US Air Force withdrew all aircraft from operational use on April 22, 2008.
We bring you 10 interesting facts about this timeless aircraft that will forever remain known as the stealth technology symbol…
Fact 1: Americans have managed to devise a computer program called “Echo” which made it possible to create planar planes distributed so as to break down 99% of radar signals with which the plane was “hit”.
Fact 2: US Air Force denied the existence of the aircraft until 1988, when first photo is presented. In April 1990, two planes flew into the Nevada airport during the day, visible to tens of thousands of crowded shrines.
Fact 3: To reduce aircraft development costs, its electronics, fly-by-wire system and some other parts come from the F-16 Fighting Falcon, F/A-18 Hornet and F-15E Strike Eagle. Parts have been administrated as a spare parts to these aircraft to keep the F-117 secret.
Fact 4: There is no radar on the aircraft which further reduces its radiation and the lateral section.
Fact 5: In war operations, only one F-117 aircraft was lost. March 27, 1999, in the midst of NATO air strikes on the goals in SR Yugoslavia, 3rd battalion of the 250th Serbian Missile Brigade succeeded in defeating an F-117 with the S-125 Neva missile defense system. Because of the civilians who were near the plane crash, the US Air Force did not want to bomb the crash site. The Serbs later provided the remains of the aircraft to Russian engineers for study.
Fact 6: On most modern military aircraft, the symbol “F” means a fighter plane, “B” means a bomber, and “A” is an aircraft intended for attacks on ground targets (eg F-15, B-2, A-6). The F-117 Stealth Fighter is primarily intended for attack on ground targets and its “F” tag is in fact incorrect.
Fact 7: For the development of the US F-117 the most fulfilled are … Russians! Namely, Soviet mathematician Petar Ufimcev, in 1964, at the Moscow Institute of Radio Engineering, proved that the power of radar reflection depends on the configuration of the edge of the object, not just of its total size. The conclusion is that even a large aircraft can be made “invisible” by applying this knowledge in its design.
Fact 8: Flat, triangular cockpit glasses prevent radar reflection from cabin equipment. For example, reflection of a pilot’s helmet can be much larger than the overall reflection of stealth plane. The F-117 is limited to flying only at subsonic speeds, practically just horizontally.
Fact 9: The weapon is located (hidden) in the inner tank, radio and other antenna systems are pushed into the contour of the aircraft, and pulled out only in special cases.
Fact 10: The F-117 has a radar reflection of between 0.01 and 0.1 m² (about 0.025 m²), that means about 100 to 200 times less than a conventional aircraft of the same size (F-117 is 20 meters long and wingspan is 13 meters).