Two new clips show the F-117 Stealth Jets that deployed to Fresno last week in amazing detail.
We have already written a series of reports about the “surprise” appearance of two F-117 Nighthawk aircraft that flew as KNIGHT01 from Tonopah Test Range Airport, Nevada, to Fresno Yosemite International Airport on Sept. 13, 2021. The iconic stealth jets conducted dissimilar air combat training with the local-based California Air National Guard F-15C/D Eagles of the 144th Fighter Wing for a week, before heading back home.
Two F-117 Nighthawks visited the @144thFW, California, to conduct dissimilar air combat training missions. This marks the first time an F117 has landed in Fresno. Although officially retired, airworthy F117s are used for limited research and training.https://t.co/i6IeUZcqtE pic.twitter.com/stdVNAcOQT
— U.S. Air Force (@usairforce) September 19, 2021
Before the first official statements started circulating online on Sept. 16, several shots and videos, taken by aviation photographers and spotters showed the at work over central California.
But, to our knowledge, no clip published until today provide a better view of the officially retired but still flying “Wobblin Goblin” than the two you can find in this post.
While most of the previous footage exposed several interesting details, from the Nighthawk emblem identical to the one of the 4450th Tactical Group, to the presence of the radar reflector (or lack thereof), to the TR tail markings, these are 4K videos that allow us to get a better view of some more things. Among these, the GBU-27 bomb markings painted beneath the cockpit and the “CAP” with name blacked out on the canopy rail of one of the two aircraft.
Anyway, the U.S. Air Force says 48 F-117s remain in its inventory as of January 2021. Considered they are disposing of approximately four aircraft each year and provided they plan to dispose/retire them all for real this time, we can expect to have some Nighthawks flying for at least a decade or more! As for their role, they are providing adversary/aggressor “services” to other frontline units. One last thought: besides the F-117s are there other types of the past that were retired and that might still be useful as aggressors or sparring partners in exercises and training activities?