Friday, September 19, 2008

F-117s To Be Scrapped

The F-117s are not to be retired, but likely scrapped. As the article points out, the signs were there if one looked for them. Why don't we trade them for the worthless pieces of paper Wall Street wants to sell to the government? People would actually BUY the F-117s even if they are too expensive for the government to maintain. (Isn't Wall Street too expensive for the government to maintain as is as well?) Seems like a win-win to me.


nooooo.... i LIKE those birds....
I'm fairly sure the F117 is inferior to the performance specs (including radar signature) of the F-35.

The US/Lockheed Corp are going all out to market the F-35 - sale of some F117s may confuse the market pitch.

Lastly the F117 is very difficult to maintain - hence I don't think many expressions of interest (except perhaps Russia or China for reverse engineering) would have been made.


Yes, you are right, but we could sell them to an ally, though I still like the trade for worthless Wall Street paper idea. Only the government would take a perfectly good working weapon and destroy it to protect its secrets. It makes little economic sense unless you are Lockheed and need more F-22s sold. We don't need to bail out any more companies via the Treasury or DOD, but that's what we are doing

Hi John

It has less to do with Wall Street than electronic engineering realities.

Even in the war in Kosovo during Clinton's time Russian built ground radars were beginning to successfully home in on F117s. One radar did lock on to an F117 and it was shot down.

Now a decade later the latest Russian radars (ground and aircraft mounted) appear to be able to reliabily see the "signature size" that an F117 represents. Such radars are exported to potential adversaries of Australia like China and Indonesia.

Hence Australia as a prime consumer of US aircraft is looking for something with a smaller radar signature that (we hope) can beat the Russian radars for at least a decade.

Only the F35 and F22 make the grade.

The main problem with the F117 is that it has the wrong basic shape for significantly better stealth - no-one can fix that.



I thought the shot down F-117 was a combination of several factors:

1. Serbian spies monitoring F-117s taking off from Italian airfields.
2. USAF planners and pilots complacence in flying the same routes to the targets thus giving the Serbs a known path to monitor and ambush.
3. Coordinated Serbian air defenses and intelligence, with expert radar operators and AA missile systems.

But the loss of that one F-117 probably did make the others obsolete since its remains could be used to tune Russian radars. What does that mean when we lose the first F-22 or F-35 over hostile territory?
Hi John

Yes your points 1,2 and 3 all contributed to the F-117 shootdown.

Re "What does that mean when we lose the first F-22 or F-35 over hostile territory?"

It depends on which territory, whether the Russians or Chinese are allowed to examine the remains and how much of the aircraft is left.

I think F-22's and 35s would have destruction equipment eg small explosives to deny the enemy as much of the technology as possible.

A thorough hostile examination of an intact 22 or 35 would aid radar detection. However Russian sensors can already gather a great deal of data about 22/35 stealth characteristics.

22 or 35 Stealth packages can also always be upraded to stay ahead of the opposition.


Over half the Ph.D.s in my program were from mainland China. They knew they couldn't come home. A friend worked with some Chinese postdocs who were Party members and had slots to go home. His friends informed him that China has a program reminding those who came here to remember the Motherland when they do their research. So, there's an overt one way technology transfer going on as well as covert by the Chinese. This has been going on for the last 15-20 years. I wouldn't be surprised if the stealth technology isn't getting to China through overt and covert means. Between crappy American IT security and ties of loyalty, they might not need an intact F-22. But then, China has more smart people than America has people. There's also that aspect of the sheer number of talented people in Science and Engineering. They haven't trashed their financial system like we have. I'm sure the punitive penalties resemble a bullet to the back of the head or some such for any Chinese businessman caught screwing the "People" or the State.
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