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!