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CX747
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F-117 Retirement Debate

Mon Jan 21, 2008 3:30 am

The F-117 will soon make its way into the sunset. What is everyone's opinion on the retirement of this platform? Is it still needed? There were several testing trials of F-117s operating with F-22s during the day etc. The platform also served well during the opening days of OIF. Let the debate begin.
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower
 
Ozair
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RE: F-117 Retirement Debate

Mon Jan 21, 2008 4:50 am



Quoting CX747 (Thread starter):
The F-117 will soon make its way into the sunset

Hasn't the F-117 already been retired from service?
 
MCIGuy
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RE: F-117 Retirement Debate

Mon Jan 21, 2008 4:55 am



Quoting Ozair (Reply 1):
Hasn't the F-117 already been retired from service?

Not yet, I think the F-22's are supposed to stand up at Holloman around October. The F-117 is a hangar queen and a relic compared to the Raptor so it's a wise move. The Raptor is a more capable frame in every way.
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Oroka
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RE: F-117 Retirement Debate

Mon Jan 21, 2008 5:09 am

The F-117 is obsolete. Not old, not a bit behind technology, OBSOLETE. Other than stealth, it really wasnt a good platform. It was useless on pretty much everything other than first strike deep penetration bomb runs. It cant fight, it cant run away fast, it just does its job and hopes to hell no one visually spots it and blows it out of the sky (ala Kosovo). The F-22 is superior in every aspect, there is just no place for the F-117 anymore.
 
KevinSmith
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RE: F-117 Retirement Debate

Mon Jan 21, 2008 5:10 am

Quoting MCIGuy (Reply 2):
The Raptor is a more capable frame in every way.

Almost everyway.

The Raptor does not have the capability that the F-117 does to lase it's own targets. Yes the Raptor can carry the JDAM but sometime a JDAM just can't get it done (I.E moving target, our when you need true pinpoint accuracy). Yes one can lase a target from the ground but what if ground pounders are unavailable (I.E Bombing downtown Baghdad on the opening night of the war} That leaves buddy lasing, and if you retire then the F-117 in favor of the F-22 then the buddy a/c is something that isn't stealth. That defeats the purpose of sending a stealth a/c for a surprise attack in the first place.


Solution is simple. Build a lasing system into the Raptor.
[Edited 2008-01-20 21:19:01]

[Edited 2008-01-20 21:20:07]
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Oroka
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RE: F-117 Retirement Debate

Mon Jan 21, 2008 5:35 am



Quoting KevinSmith (Reply 4):
Solution is simple. Build a lasing system into the Raptor.

Or stick it in a centerline conformal sensor pack. They are working on stealth drop tanks... I am sure they can smooth over a lasing pod somewhere.
 
CFMitch56
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RE: F-117 Retirement Debate

Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:19 pm



Quoting Oroka (Reply 3):
The F-117 is obsolete.

Not quite. I recently met an NCO who had worked on the F-117 as a maintainer/loader and he laughed when I mentioned retirement. His prediction is that the Nighthawk will go to Tonopah (in smaller numbers than the full 50-some in the inventory) and disappear from public view, but remain ready for whatever sneaky missions await it--SR-71 does/did that. I suppose if the US needs someone to die, but they don't want to make it too obvious to the world, this plane would be able to make that happen (blame it on a suicide bomber or something) if the B-2 or F-22 would be too obvious for whatever reason. Anyone else buy this idea?
 
MCIGuy
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RE: F-117 Retirement Debate

Mon Jan 21, 2008 1:38 pm

[

Quoting CFMitch56 (Reply 6):
Anyone else buy this idea?

Well, not really, both the B-2 and F-22 have a smaller RCS than the Nighthawk and the F-22 is more than twice as fast. Smile
As for what the NCO said, that's what I understand. They're not going into mothballs in the AMARC way. Maybe a hedge against a really late F-35 or ACC not getting enough Raptors?
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ebj1248650
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RE: F-117 Retirement Debate

Mon Jan 21, 2008 6:54 pm



Quoting Oroka (Reply 3):
The F-117 is obsolete. Not old, not a bit behind technology, OBSOLETE. Other than stealth, it really wasnt a good platform. It was useless on pretty much everything other than first strike deep penetration bomb runs. It cant fight, it cant run away fast, it just does its job and hopes to hell no one visually spots it and blows it out of the sky (ala Kosovo). The F-22 is superior in every aspect, there is just no place for the F-117 anymore.

But then that's what the F-117 was designed for: first strike deep penetration bomb runs. And remember it's a generation or two earlier than the F-22. Not fair to compare the F-117 to the F-22 when they weren't designed to perform the same mission. That's like comparing the F-4 Phantom II to the MiG-21. Fleet air defense fighter compared to a point defense interceptor. There's no comparison.
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F27Friendship
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RE: F-117 Retirement Debate

Mon Jan 21, 2008 8:25 pm

the F-117 basically is a flying piano which can drop a bomb. No more no less. In the beginning that was just fine because it was not spottable. Nowadays that's not enough anymore.
 
michlis
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RE: F-117 Retirement Debate

Tue Jan 22, 2008 11:51 am



Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 9):
In the beginning that was just fine because it was not spottable.

You have to wonder to what degree the F-117's stealth capabilities have been compromised. After flying in three major conflicts, including Desert Storm, the Bosnia debacle, and Iraqi Freedom, the aircraft has had a lot of exposure to the advesary's radar, some of which was likely taped and analyzed to identify the Nighthawk's radar profile.
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grandtheftaero
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RE: F-117 Retirement Debate

Tue Jan 22, 2008 12:09 pm



Quoting F27Friendship (Reply 9):
the F-117 basically is a flying piano

If I were to pick something to compare a late-twentieth century, low-observable, ground-attack aircraft with quad-redundant fly-by-wire controls that was developed in total secrecy, I would have picked a piano too. Nice choice.  sarcastic 
 
CX747
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RE: F-117 Retirement Debate

Tue Jan 22, 2008 2:47 pm

With the F-22 being pushed now as an only air to air platform, besides the B-2 what "Stealth" platforms will we have available? I know that the F-117 is a very mission specific aircraft but I hate to lose a capability that we can't readily replace to the same degree.
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower
 
ebj1248650
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RE: F-117 Retirement Debate

Tue Jan 22, 2008 6:07 pm



Quoting CX747 (Reply 12):
With the F-22 being pushed now as an only air to air platform, besides the B-2 what "Stealth" platforms will we have available? I know that the F-117 is a very mission specific aircraft but I hate to lose a capability that we can't readily replace to the same degree.

The F-22 is no longer a dual role airplane; no ground attack capability? When did that decision get made?
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F27Friendship
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RE: F-117 Retirement Debate

Tue Jan 22, 2008 8:37 pm



Quoting GrandTheftAero (Reply 11):
If I were to pick something to compare a late-twentieth century, low-observable, ground-attack aircraft with quad-redundant fly-by-wire controls that was developed in total secrecy, I would have picked a piano too. Nice choice.

you are right, a piano would have better aerodynamic behaviour  Wink
 
MDorBust
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RE: F-117 Retirement Debate

Tue Jan 22, 2008 8:56 pm



Quoting Oroka (Reply 3):
...there is just no place for the F-117 anymore.

We can still find mainline uses for the B-52s. There is still a place for the -117. It's just not what it used to be.
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CaptOveur
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RE: F-117 Retirement Debate

Tue Jan 22, 2008 9:04 pm



Quoting MDorBust (Reply 15):
There is still a place for the -117. It's just not what it used to be.

Exactly.. We have to pay for all those new F-22s and there is only so much room in the Air Force budget.
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checksixx
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RE: F-117 Retirement Debate

Tue Jan 22, 2008 11:34 pm



Quoting CaptOveur (Reply 16):
Exactly.. We have to pay for all those new F-22s and there is only so much room in the Air Force budget.

As I pointed out to the thread starter in another discussion...the 117's were already planed for retirement...the 22 had nothing to do with that except push it up sooner rather than later. Budget wise, there is almost no gain from the retirement of the 117...though some would have you believe otherwise.
 
MissedApproach
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RE: F-117 Retirement Debate

Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:18 am



Quoting EBJ1248650 (Reply 13):
When did that decision get made?

It didn't. The Air Force dropped the F/A designation because it's not their style. However, just because it's "F" & not "F/A" doesn't mean the ground attack capability went away, ie. the F-16 is dual role but with only an F designation. As a matter of fact, no airplane carries an F/A designation except the Hornet, & that is only in USN service.
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OB1504
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RE: F-117 Retirement Debate

Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:37 am



Quoting CFMitch56 (Reply 6):
His prediction is that the Nighthawk will go to Tonopah (in smaller numbers than the full 50-some in the inventory) and disappear from public view, but remain ready for whatever sneaky missions await it--SR-71 does/did that

Pardon my ignorance, but does this mean the SR-71 still takes to the skies every now and then?'

Going back on topic, it's a shame that the F-117, one of the USAF's most recognizable aircraft, is flying into the sunset. I'm all for progress, and if the more traditional-looking F-22 can do a better job, then so be it.  Sad
 
L-188
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RE: F-117 Retirement Debate

Wed Jan 23, 2008 4:09 am



Quoting MissedApproach (Reply 18):
. The Air Force dropped the F/A designation because it's not their style. However, just because it's "F" & not "F/A" doesn't mean the ground attack capability went away

Based on the mission the F designator never should have assigned to the F-117 anyway. It was and always will be a bomber.

Quoting OB1504 (Reply 19):

Pardon my ignorance, but does this mean the SR-71 still takes to the skies every now and then?'

Doesn't NASA still have a couple
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RE: F-117 Retirement Debate

Wed Jan 23, 2008 12:30 pm



Quoting CFMitch56 (Reply 6):
I suppose if the US needs someone to die, but they don't want to make it too obvious to the world, this plane would be able to make that happen (blame it on a suicide bomber or something) if the B-2 or F-22 would be too obvious for whatever reason. Anyone else buy this idea?

Nope. I guess you need to watch more re-runs of CSI or Law and Order. Even a bombing leaves forensic evidence, and that evidence is much different for a JDAM versus a suicide bomber. Even the least sophisticated society on Earth would figure it out, or would be able to obtain the services of someone who would figure it out.
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CX747
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RE: F-117 Retirement Debate

Wed Jan 23, 2008 8:25 pm

When the SR-71 was retired the first time, it was truly "retired" and not operational for the USAF. It was then brought back to the USAF for about 2 years. Due to the USAF not truly wanting the aircraft and Clinton cutting the funding via a "Line Item Veto", the program was once again shelved. I might add that the Line Item Veto was found to be ILLEGAL and all programs cancelled under it were to be returned to operational status. 2 of the 3 programs were returned but somehow the SR-71 was to stay grounded for good.
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower
 
MissedApproach
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RE: F-117 Retirement Debate

Thu Jan 24, 2008 3:17 am



Quoting L-188 (Reply 20):
Based on the mission the F designator never should have assigned to the F-117 anyway. It was and always will be a bomber.

True, but that's kind of a USAF thing too. They only assign B designations to something they consider a respectable/legitimate bomber. I guess for some reason the B-57 Canberra fit with that, but the F-111 didn't, possibly because it grew out of the TFX program.
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