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F-117A Stealth




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Lockheed F-117A Stealth Fighter

Just 12 days prior to the roll-out of the Northrop B-2, the existence of the Lockheed Stealth Fighter was confirmed on November 10, 1988. Developed in the venerable "Skunk Works" it evolved from the "Have Blue" pre-production prototypes. To save costs the prototypes were built from existing components for the most part and at about 1/3 scale of the production aircraft. June 18, 1981 Hal Farley made the first successful test flight on number one FSD F117A.

In flying the "Stealth" it is said to be comparable to the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle which also has a relatively high wing loading. It, however, has a landing characteristic similar to an F-106 (160 knots+) necessitating a large parabrake which is deployed as the landing gear contacts the runway. Before the advent of improved F-117 simulators, prospective pilots had to make numerous no flap landings in an F-15 Eagle. The F-117A is powered by  the venerable General Electric F404 turbofans (two) which propels the aircraft into the high subsonic range.

Improvements to the F-117A programme, some of which may be in progress or already completed are; improved aircraft heat protection in the exhaust area, composite rudder retrofit, improved offensive avionics, use of the F-22 GPS antenna, all weather capability, low intercept communications radio, updated mission computer, new RLG to replace the SPN/JEANS gyro.

Specifications; Engines (two) General Electric F404-GE-F1D2 turbofans 48 kN. (10,800 lbs. st.), Wing Span 13.2 m. (43' 4"), Length; 20.08 m. (65' 11"), Maximum take-off weight;  23,815 kg.  (52,500 lbs.), Operational speed; Mach 0.80, |Combat radius 1,440 km. (900 miles) without in flight refueling. Armament; Laser guided conventional bombs, tactical munitions dispensers, nuclear bombs.




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Wings Over The Pacific was updated December 22, 1998