Farewell ‘Black Jet’

The F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighter, the Air Force’s first-ever operational aircraft designed with a sensor-evading airframe, will fly into the sunset April 21, ending its 27-year service life. The remaining four operational F-117As in the inventory will depart their home of Holloman AFB, N.M., for good during a retirement ceremony, a spokeswoman with the 49th Fighter Wing public affairs office confirmed to the Daily Report April 18. The four airplanes are scheduled to fly to Palmdale, Calif., for a farewell ceremony April 22 at the Lockheed Martin “Skunk Works” facility where the Nighthawk design was conceived. Like the other F-117As in the 50-plus airframe fleet, these four aircraft will then travel to the Tonopah Test Range in Nevada, their final resting place, where they will be placed in recallable storage. The Air Force hosted an earlier retirement ceremony for the F-117A March 11 at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, home to the Nighthawk program’s management and oversight.