This Interesting New Video Shows The Removal of the RAM (Radar Absorbent Material) From F-117A “Black Devil”

The F-117 during the RAM removal work. (Screenshot from the video embedded below)

The footage shows Nighthawk #833 (85-0833) being prepared for transportation to the Palm Springs Air Museum (PSAM), in Palm Springs, California.

As we have already reported, on Oct. 3, 2020, the F-117A #833, the second highest combat mission Nighthawk in the U.S. Air Force with 75 missions in Desert Storm (30) and Allied Force (45), was delivered to the PSAM.

The aircraft, nicknamed “Black Devil” and officially retired on Apr. 11, 2008, was prepared for its transfer to Palm Springs by the DeMil Team at Tonopah Nevada, that had also the task to remove the RAM paint from the stealth jet.

Early versions of the secretive F-117A employed metal-backed RAM tiles. These were painted with containing carbonyl iron ferrite to create a magnetic field when encountering a radar wave:  the field had alternating polarity and dissipated the energy of a radar signal (converting part of the energy into heat). Subsequent models of the F-117A used RAM paint applied directly to the aircraft’s body a paint known to be highly toxic.

As shown in the video below, the aircraft entered one of the hangars at Tonopah to undertake the preparation work with some of its sensitive parts already removed: along with the classified avionics, #833 was stripped of its tail fins, exhaust tiles, wings and then subjected to the removal of the paint.

After the process was successfully completed, the “naked” F-117 was loaded onto a truck trailer and transferred to PSAM.

The aircraft will now undergo full restoration work (that will last several months) during which the Nighthawk will also get its trademark black finish back!


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.