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[F-117A on take off.(???)]



In 1989 the F-117A program earned the Collier Trophy for "The Greatest Achievement in Aeronautics and Astronautics in America." That same year the aircraft attracted the "Most Outstanding Service to National Defense in Manned Flight" award from the Air Force Association.

[Holloman AFB T-38. (Holloman AFB)]


Older A-7 trainers are replaced by T-38's.

October 5

4450th TG is deactivated. The 37th TFW moves from George AFB to Tonopah. The 4450th TS (Nightstalkers-Atlantic) became the 415th TFS (Nightstalkers) , and the 4451st TS (Grim Reapers-Pacific) became the 416th TFS (Ghostriders). The 4453d TES (Bandits) became the 417th TFTS ("Bandits"). TAC activates Det 1, 57 FWW (The Dragon Test Team) at Tonopah.

December 19

Three pairs of F-117A's participated in Operation JUST CAUSE. Only one mission with two F-117As was attempted.


January 1990

It is announced that the 37 TFW will move from Tonopah to Holloman. (This was later delayed by the Gulf War)

[Two F-117As at Tonopah Test Range. (Lockheed Martin)]

April 3

The Air Force reveals more about the aircraft, including costs, dimensions, detailed color photographs, and motion picture footage.

April 21

More than 100,000 people attended the first public display of two F-117A's at Nellis AFB.


The Skunk Works (Lockheed's Advanced Development Projects) officially becomes it's own independent company-The Lockheed Advanced Development Company (LADC).

June 18

First production retrofit of composit tailfin.

[Delivery ceremony for last F-117A. (Lockheed Martin)]

July 12

Final aircraft delivered (#87-843), production completed

[F-117As lined up at Langley AFB en route to Saudi Arabia. (Lockheed Martin)]

August 19

22 Black Jets from the 415th and a dozen tankers left Tonopah for Langley AFB, 18 would continue to Khamis Mushait Air Base in Saudi Arabia for Operation DESERT SHIELD.

December 2

20 F-117A's stay overnight at Langley AFB. The next day 18 of the Black Jets from the 416th deploy to Saudi Arabia.

[Team Stealth Logo. ()]

December 20

CENTAF designates "Team Stealth" the 37th TFW-P (provisional.) Team Stealth was made up of 800 people from Tonopah and 700 other people from 36 locations in the U.S. Air Force.

December 22

Kelly Johnson, the founder of Skunk Works dies at the age of 80.


In 1991 the first F-117A achieved 50,000 flying hours.

[Special paint scheme for Ben Rich's retirement. (Lockheed Martin)]

January 1

Ben Rich (the "father" of the F-117A) retires as head of the Skunk Works.

January 17

By 12:22 am (Saudi Time) the first wave of Nighthawk's were airborne and en route to Iraq to start Operation DESERT STORM.

[F-117A in hanger at Khamas Mushat, AB. (Lockheed Martin)]

January 26

8 more Nighthawk's arrive in Saudi Arabia. (Bringing the total to 44.)

February 10

Aircraft #82-790 "Deadly Jester" blows a nose wheel on landing at Khamis Mushait Air Base, Saudi Arabia.

February 13

A pair of Nighthawk's drop one bomb each through the roof of the Al Firdos bunker in Baghdad. The much publicized bombing killed as many as 400 people (mostly women and children) who were using the communications facility as an "air raid bunker". The target was a command and control site according to the US intelligence before and after the strike.

[37th TFW comander Al Whitely upon returning to CONUS. (Lockheed Martin)]

April 1

First eight Nighthawks and two KC-10s arrived back at Nellis AFB before 25,000 people.

April 22

Declassification of photos and information on the Have Blue aircraft.

July 17

FSD-2 (#781) is put on display at the USAF Museum at Wright Patterson AFB.


"Four dimensional" flight management system allows a time on way point of +/- 1 second. New cockpit instrumentation including full color television displays and digital moving maps begins RDT&E.

October 1

The 415th TFS and 416th TFS as well as the 37 TFW all dropped "tactical" from their name. The 417 TFTS becomes the 417 FS. The 57th FWW becomes the 57th FW.


Flight test of the third phase of the Offensive Capability Improvement Program which involves a new turret-mounted infrared acquisition and designation sensor (IRADS), ring-laser gyro INS, and global positioning system (GPS).


The Baja Scorpions move from Tonopah to Palmdale, Plant 42.

May 9

The official arrival ceremony for the F-117A at Holloman AFB. (This move was completed on July 7th.)

May 16

FSD-1 (#780) mounted on pole at Nellis AFB

June 1

Det 1, 57 FW (Dragon Test Team) moves from Tonopah to Holloman AFB.

[49th FW shield. (Webmaster's Private Collection)]

July 8

The 37th FW was inactivated. The 415th FS, 416th FS, and 417th FS all become part of the 49th Fighter Wing, 49th Operational Group (OG).


At least two F-117A strikes against Iraqi military targets are called off at the last minute when Iraqi officials agree to let UN inspectors into certain previously sealed buildings.

August 4

Aircraft #82-801 ("The Perpetrator"-38 Desert Storm missions) crashes.



OCIP retrofit begins.

[Operation Southern Watch emblem. (USAF)]

January 13

9:15 (Saudi Time) six F-117As attacked strategic targets in Baghdad in retaliation of Iraq's defiance of the UN sanctioned no-fly zone. These F-117As were the Team Stealth #?? Detachment that remained after the gulf war.

February 1

The 57 FW becomes the 57 Wing.


Eight F-117A's were deployed at Gilzen Rijen in the Netherlands during the Central Enterprise exercise.

May 1

The Baja Scorpions become the 410th TS.


50,000 F-117A flight.

[9th FS Friday Patch. (Webmaster's Private Collection)] [8th FS Friday Patch. (Webmaster's Private Collection)]

July, 30

The 415th FS became the 9th FS ("Flying Knights") and the 416th FS became the 8th FS ("Black Sheep").


80,000 F-117A flight hours reached.

November 25

Ship #837 joins the 410th TS FOT&E unit.

[7th FS Friday Patch. (Webmaster's Private Collection)]


The 417 FTS became the 7th FS "Bunyaps".(A month later the name was changed to "Screamin Demons"-Training)


March 10

The 410th TS redesignated 410th TFLS (Flight Test Squadron).

June 24

The F-117A is officially named the "Nighthawk".


First developmental RNIP+ aircraft flies beginning an 18-month flight test program conducted by the 410th flight test squadron at Plant 42 in Palmdale.


[Ben Rich with YF-117A at Site 7, Plant 42. (Lockheed Martin)]

January 5

Ben Rich died from cancer at age 69. At his request, his ashes were scattered from an airplane near his beachfront house on the California coast in Oxnard. At the moment his ashes were released, a lone F-117A appeared out of the clouds and dipped its wings in a final salute to its creator.


OCIP retrofit ends. F3 IRADS upgrade begins.

April 5

F-117A #824 burns on landing at Holloman AFB. The pilot escaped uninjured.

May 10

F-117A #822 crashes killing Capt. Kenneth W. "Buck" Levens.

August 30th

The 9th FS was possibly deployed to Italy in support of Operation DELIBERATE FORCE (August 30-September 20th) over the former Yugoslavia.

August 30th

Ship #777 (static fatigue test airframe) is converted to pole model.

[Lt. Col Greg Feast. (USAF)]

November 2

Lt. Col. Greg Feest becomes the first operational Air Force Pilot to reach 1,000 flying hours in the F-117A Nighthawk. Feest has 130 combat hours in the F-117A including the opening missions in OPERATION JUST CAUSE and OPERATION DESERT STORM.



RNIP+ upgrade begins.


Single Configuration Fleet effort RDT&E begins.(Including RAM recoat.)

[F-117As leaving Holloman AFB. (USAF)] [F-117As leaving Holloman AFB. (USAF)]

September 13

Eight F-117A's were deployed to Saudi Arabia in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH/PROVIDE COMFORT. The non-stop flight required 15 aerial refuelings.


AP-102 Computer Upgrade begins.



F3 IRADS upgrade ends.

[First RNIP+ aircraft leaving Palmdale en route to Holloman AFB. (USAF)]

January 22

First of upgraded "RNIP-plus" F-117A delivered to Holloman.


Ozone Depleting Chemical Upgrade RDT&E begins. The new fuel tank inerting system which will conform to environmental standards. The current aircraft inerting system uses halon, an ozone layer depleting chemical which is being withdrawn from service.

May 1

F-117A #803 experienced a gear collapse and ran off the runway after returning to Holloman from a training mission.

June 4

A brake failure on landing caused a landing gear collapse on F-117A #825 at Holloman AFB.

[#793 breaking up in flight. (AP)]

September 14

F-117A #81-793 crashes in front of 12,000 spectators at an airshow in Maryland.

September 15

Temporary standown of all F-117A's.

October 2

Two F-117A's fly from Holloman AFB resuming operations after a fleet wide safety inspection.

[F-117As arriving at Langley en route to Kuwait. (USAF)]

November 19

Ten F-117A's landed at Langley AFB for refueling and crew rest. On November 20, four aircraft (spares) flew back to Holloman AFB, while six aircraft deployed to Al Jaber Air Base in Kuwait in response to Iraqi threats to shoot down U-2 reconnaissance planes on UN missions.


February 13, 1998

Six more F-117A's and 140 troops deployed to Al Jaber Air Base in Kuwait from Holloman AFB in response to Iraqi refusal of UN inspections.

[9th FS desert patch. (Webmaster's Private Collection)]

March 21

250 members of the 8th FS returned from Kuwait where they were deployed in Nov. 1997. They were replaced by 230 members of the 9th FS on March 19th.

June 10

Approximately 300 members of the 49th Fighter Wing and 10 F-117A Nighthawks returned to Holloman AFB. Two stayed at Moron Air Base, Spain for parts for repairs, before making the trip home on the 13th.

June 15

Brig. Gen. Dennis R. Larsen, 49th Fighter Wing commander, moved to Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia. Succeeding Larsen is Brig. Gen. William J. Lake, who served as operations officer of the 4450th Tactical Group, commander of the 415th Tactical Fighter Squadron, and assistant deputy commander for operations, 37th Fighter Wing, at Tonopah Test Range, Nev., from August 1987 to December 1989. He also flew 15 combat sorties (non F-117A) in Operation Desert Storm.

August 25

The F-117A completed flying its 150,000th flying hour when Brig. Gen. Bill Lake, 49th Fighter Wing commander, touched down on Holloman's runway. The flying milestone was measured from the first F-117 flight by Lockheed-Martin test pilot Hal Farley June 18, 1981.

November 14

Ten F-117A's (including two spares) left Holloman AFB at 9 PM (local time) en-route to the Persian Gulf. An addition six F-117A's (including two spares) were scheduled to depart in the next few days.

November 15

Air Combat Command ordered a halt to all deployments to the Gulf. Ten F-117A's (including two spares) left Holloman AFB at 9 PM (local time) in route to the Gulf. An addition six F-117A's (including two spares) were scheduled to depart in the next few days. Ten F-117A's (including two spares) were halted at a staging area in Europe.

November 20

Four F-117A's landed at 12:30 PM at Holloman AFB today, bringing the total that have returned to eight out of the original ten deployed. Two remained in Europe, where one awaited minor repairs.

December 17

It was announced today that 10 F-117A's will be deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of cruise missile attacks of Iraq.


1999 saw the RAM recoat upgrade begin in January or October. The new spray coating application techniques and panel access technologies will improve the reliability and maintainability of the F-117A.

February 21

12 F-117A's arrive at Aviano Air Base, Italy in support of possible NATO air operations over the former Republic of Yugoslavia.


March 27

F-117A #82-806 was lost over Yugoslavia during Operation Allied Force. The pilot was retrieved within hours by Search and Recovery Teams.

April 1

The Pentagon today announced plans to send 13 additional F-117A stealth fighters to Aviano AB, Italy this weekend. (A second deployment of 12 plus one to replace the F-117A lost on March 27)

June 10

NATO suspended air attacks against Yugoslavia after 79 days of bombing.

June 21

Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen authorized the start of the redeployment of the first increment of 124 U.S. aircraft deployed for the NATO operation. This included the first batch of 12 F-117A's Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. This redeployment took about two weeks.


Single Configuration Fleet effort to begin.(Including Mil-Std-1760 Bus and Ozone Depleting Chemical upgrade.)

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