The Air Force on Monday sent off the first six F-117 Nighthawks into retirement, marking the occasion with a final flight witnessed by some 500 spectators from Holloman AFB, N.M., and the surrounding Alamogordo community. In Nevada at the Tonopah Test Range, where the first stealth fighters were flown in secrecy 25 years ago, technicians will remove the wings and store the Black Jets in their original hangars. SrA. Terri Barriere reports that all six fighters took part in Operations Desert Storm, Allied Force, and Iraqi Freedom. Brig. Gen. David Goldfein, commander of Holloman’s 49th Fighter Wing, flew one of the six on its final flight. He said, “The Nighthawk story is truly one of vision, guts, passion, heroism, defiance, and incredible risk taking.” (Read more about the F-117 legacy in “Fade to Black.”)
Rumored cuts to the F-35 from the fiscal 2025 defense budget—six from Air Force plans—would not be offset by recent Foreign Military Sales, and will disrupt ongoing Lot 19 negotiations, Pentagon and industry sources said.