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Page born: April 01 2002


Aircraft Losses

Rumored F-117A Losses

Stories continue to circulate of F-117A losses not admitted by the USAF. Although the author has doubts about the validity of these other claims, they are presented here for the sake of discussion. Again, these stories are all unconfirmed by the USAF and are probably untrue.

Desert Storm Story #1

Supposedly a F-117A was lost coming back from a mission in the gulf war. The F-117A had engine trouble and crashed in Kuwait. B-52's were sent to bomb the wreckage as to not sacrifice the sensitive technology. News media supposedly found out that one set of B-52 carpet bombing missions missed there intended target by over 100 miles. In actuality, the B-52's were supposedly bombing the F-117A wreckage.

The author has found no evidence to support this story.

Desert Storm Story #2

During the Gulf War Russian TV showed some video of some Iraqi solders stand around a "black aircraft". The comment was that it was a F-117A shotdown by Iraq. Browsing through Russian aviation newsgroups one could constantly find posts mentioning about a shotdown F-117A that was down by a Osa SAM. There are apparently sources in Russian military claiming that plane was really shotdown. (Note: the source here could have meant "Shutdown" as in engine failure) Supposedly Russian officials had a chance to see this F-117A.

Again, the author has found no evidence to support this story.

Operation Allied Force

According to Serbian sources a total of five F-117As were shotdown during Operation Allied Force. (Of course, those sources also list a total of 353 NATO aircraft as shot down.) The #806 loss is obviously 100% confirmed. Honestly, these other accounts are most likely false.

On April 2 Radio Zagreb (Croatia) reported that a F-117A made an emergency landing in Croatian territory at Zagreb airport. Russian agency "Tass" reported that a F117 was shot and barely made it to Zagreb.
A citizen of Zagreb posted on the internet:

"It was Zagreb's local Radio 101 who published the "story" about hit F-117A forced to land in Zagreb. We all knew it was April Fool's joke. Some locals in vicinity fooled by false report tried to see the aircraft, but of course there was no aircraft to see. But the biggest laughter we in Croatia had when we saw report on Serbian TV about "downed" F-117A. Since we are accustomed to Serbian lies, we could not help ourselves but to have additional laugh on Serbian account."

On Saturday, May 1 the New York Times reported that a F-117A had been damaged (not shot down) by shrapnel from a SA-3 SAM and returned safely back to Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany. This rumor has been repeated in the mainstream press on more than one occation. However, we don't know if this is the same reference being reapeated, or multiple independent references. Supposedly the F-117A suffered a close call with a SAM or AAA and had a partial loss of the tail section. Another version is that it was "leaking like a siv", had to be refueled three times in order to barely limp back to base, and was written off as a total loss. This information contradicts the fact that 24 F-117A's were seen returning to Holloman AFB.

It is technically possible that another F-117A WAS damaged, and as the story was retold the "fish" got bigger and bigger. If another F-117A was hit, it was definatly not a total loss and caused only minor damage. Again, the USAF has not confirmed these rumors.

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