First Nighthawks Retired


Holloman A.F.B. Retires First Fleet Of Stealth Fighters

Hundreds of people turned out at Holloman Air Force Base on Monday to bid farewell to the first of 50 F-117As Nighthawk to be retired.

Six of the world’s first operational stealth fighters were retired following the ceremony.

“It’s sort of sad, but I know like I’m a fossil in the Air Force and I’m retired, The young kids need the best that they can get and I guess the raptor is the airplane of the future,” said Retired Col. Klaus Klause, who flew the F-117A when it was in covert operations.

The F-117A Nighthawk, which has been in operation since 1982, has flown various combat operations including missions for the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars.

Ten F-117As are set to be retired from active service by October 2007; the remaining 40 will into retirement by October 2008. The stealth fighters will be flown to Tonopah Test Range, Nev., to be parked in retirement.



Wow. It doesn’t seem like they’ve been around for that long.

What’s funny is that the B-52 is still going strong, albeit after many upgrades, for what is is now - 50 years?


I’m continuously amused by the fact that the “fighter” designation (and F status in inventory) originally given to this aircraft as part of its cover during development has continued to the point that they are still referred to as fighters in popular media and the average citizens mind.

They are bombers, i.e. attack aircraft, and would quickly be toast if they were ever unfortunate enough to get in the visual sights of a MIG17 (50’s technology) pilot from East Wugga-Wugga.

Yeah, the BUFF has been in active inventory for 53 years. It’s forecast that the 85 remaining aircraft of the 700+ that were built will remain active until 2040 thanks to several SLEP contracts, including replacing the 8 P&W engines with 4 RR high bypass fanjets.

(BUFF - Big Ugly Fat Fu*ker, the name given to the aircraft by its flight crews and used with fondness by them. But woe unto them who use it who aren’t part of those fortunate enough to fly them. SLEP - Service Life Extension Program. MILSPEAK for refurbishing.)