Tag: Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk

Enjoy These Two Stunning 4K Videos Of The F-117s Operating Out Of Fresno Last Week

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gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw== - Enjoy These Two Stunning 4K Videos Of The F-117s Operating Out Of Fresno Last Week
A screenshot from a 4K video of the F-117s taxing at Fresno Yosemite International Airport (Image credit: Epicaviation47)

Two new clips show the F-117 Stealth Jets that deployed to Fresno last week in amazing detail.

We have already written a series of reports about the “surprise” appearance of two F-117 Nighthawk aircraft that flew as KNIGHT01 from Airport, Nevada, to Fresno Yosemite International Airport on Sept. 13, 2021. The iconic stealth jets conducted dissimilar air combat training with the local-based California Air National Guard F-15C/D Eagles of the for a week, before heading back home.

Before the first official statements started circulating online on Sept. 16, several shots and videos, taken by aviation photographers and spotters showed the  at work over central California.

But, to our knowledge, no clip published until today provide a better view of the officially retired but still flying “Wobblin Goblin” than the two you can find in this post.

While most of the previous footage exposed several interesting details, from the Nighthawk emblem identical to the one of the 4450th Tactical Group, to the presence of the radar reflector (or lack thereof), to the TR tail markings, these are 4K videos that allow us to get a better view of some more things. Among these, the GBU-27 bomb markings painted beneath the cockpit and the “CAP” with name blacked out on the canopy rail of one of the two aircraft.

Anyway, the U.S. Air Force says 48 F-117s remain in its inventory as of January 2021. Considered they are disposing of approximately four aircraft each year and provided they plan to dispose/retire them all for real this time, we can expect to have some Nighthawks flying for at least a decade or more! As for their role, they are providing adversary/aggressor “services” to other frontline units. One last thought: besides the F-117s are there other types of the past that were retired and that might still be useful as aggressors or sparring partners in exercises and training activities?

f5260c1a4f5417527329915544c2932f?s=125&d=mm&r=g - Enjoy These Two Stunning 4K Videos Of The F-117s Operating Out Of Fresno Last Week
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.

The U.S. Air Force Has Just Released The First Official Photos Of The F-117 Deployment To Fresno

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gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw== - The U.S. Air Force Has Just Released The First Official Photos Of The F-117 Deployment To Fresno
An F-117 Nighthawk lands at the Fresno Yosemite International Airport, Sept. 15, 2021, after conducting a training mission with the local Air National Guard unit. Two F-117 Nighthawks are participating in dissimilar air combat training missions this week along with F-15 pilots from the 144th Fighter Wing in Fresno, Calif. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Capt. Jason Sanchez)

These are probably the first official photos of the (officially retired but still flying) F-117 since the type was retired some 13 years ago.

The first photographs along with a press release about the F-117 stealth jets deployment to California have eventually been published by the U.S. Air Force on the DVIDS (Defense Visual Information Distribution Service) network.

Although they don’t expose any relevant, new detail, the photos are extremely interesting as they are the first official images of the iconic Nighthawk aircraft published since the U.S. Air Force officially retired the type in 2008.

- The U.S. Air Force Has Just Released The First Official Photos Of The F-117 Deployment To FresnoF-117 Nighthawks are accompanied by F-15 Eagles on the flightline of the 144th Fighter Wing located at the Fresno Air National Guard Base, Calif. Sept. 15, 2021. The F-117 Nighthawks are participating in dissimilar air combat training missions this week along with F-15 pilots from the 144th FW. (Air National Guard photo by Capt. Jason Sanchez)
- The U.S. Air Force Has Just Released The First Official Photos Of The F-117 Deployment To FresnoAn F-117 Nighthawk lands for the first time at the Fresno Yosemite International Airport, Sept 13, 2021, to conduct training missions with the local Air National Guard unit. Two F-117 Nighthawks are participating in dissimilar air combat training missions this week along with F-15 pilots from the 144th Fighter Wing in Fresno, Calif. (Air National Guard photo by Capt. Jason Sanchez)
- The U.S. Air Force Has Just Released The First Official Photos Of The F-117 Deployment To FresnoTwo F-15C Eagles and an F-117 fly in formation over the skies of Fresno, Calif. before separating to land at the Fresno Yosemite International Airport Sept. 14, 2021. This week, two F-117 Nighthawks are participating in dissimilar air combat training missions along with F-15 pilots from the 144th Fighter Wing in Fresno, Calif. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Capt. Jason Sanchez)
- The U.S. Air Force Has Just Released The First Official Photos Of The F-117 Deployment To FresnoF-117 Nighthawks are accompanied by F-15 Eagles on the flightline of the 144th Fighter Wing located at the Fresno Air National Guard Base, Calif. Sept. 15, 2021. The F-117 Nighthawks are participating in dissimilar air combat training missions this week along with F-15 pilots from the 144th FW. (Air National Guard photo by Capt. Jason Sanchez)

The accompanying press release, issued by the 144th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, also contains something worth of remark (highlighted in the quoted text below):

The 144th Fighter Wing welcomed the arrival of two F-117 Nighthawk aircraft Sept 13, 2021 to the Fresno Air National Guard Base, California, to conduct dissimilar air combat training missions.

U.S. Air Force Col. Troy Havener, 144th Fighter Wing commander, said, “We have the distinct honor of being the first Air Force unit to host them for a full week of training,” referencing the Wing’s deliberate partnership building efforts and their demonstrated operational proficiency as critical to securing the training opportunity.

Over the next few days the 144th FW’s F-15 pilots will conduct multiple dissimilar air combat training missions with the F-117 pilots.
“This week we reap the benefits of two plus years of careful communication and determined coordination with agencies and leaders overseeing these unique USAF assets,” said Havener. “The training against integrated forces that include the F-117 will challenge and sharpen pilots, as well as build confidence in tactics and systems needed to defend our nation.”

Lt. Col. David Allamandola, 144th FW Advanced Programs Officer said, “Our Griffin pilots, operations, and maintainers, are thrilled to be able to participate in this unique opportunity. It is a very special privilege to do open air training missions with the F-117 Nighthawks.”

“This training offers incredible value for everyone involved and presents new challenges to test difficult tactics in a realistic environment. Not everyone gets to do this, so it’s been exciting creating the ground work with our partners to make this a reality,” said Allamandola. “The enthusiasm is contagious. We are incredibly thankful to our guests for their tireless efforts over an extended period of time to make this a reality. It’s been fantastic to see this plan come together.”

This is the first time that F-117 Nighthawks have landed in Fresno. Their presence immediately received interest from multiple media outlets and some members of the community.

Although officially retired, many F-117s remain airworthy and are used to support limited research and training missions based on overall cost effectiveness and their ability to offer unique capabilities.

As of January 2021, the U.S. Air Force has 48 F-117s remaining in its inventory, and is disposing of approximately four aircraft each year. As airframes are disposed, they are offered to museums though the USAF Strategic Basing program and the National Museum of the USAF.

- The U.S. Air Force Has Just Released The First Official Photos Of The F-117 Deployment To FresnoAn F-117 Nighthawk lands for the first time at the Fresno Yosemite International Airport, Sept 13, 2021, to conduct training missions with the local Air National Guard unit. Two F-117 Nighthawks are participating in dissimilar air combat training missions this week along with F-15 pilots from the 144th Fighter Wing in Fresno, Calif. (Air National Guard photo by Capt. Jason Sanchez)

As already reported, the two F-117s, flying as KNIGHT01, arrived at Fresno Yosemite International Airport to carry out dissimilar air combat training with the local-based California Air National Guard F-15C/D Eagles, on Sept. 13, 2021. Before the official statement was published on Sept. 16, several images and clips, taken by aviation photographers had already shown the “Wobblin Goblin” at work over central California. The 144th FW itself had posted a video of the Nighthawk operating at Fresno on their FB page.

f5260c1a4f5417527329915544c2932f?s=125&d=mm&r=g - The U.S. Air Force Has Just Released The First Official Photos Of The F-117 Deployment To Fresno
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.

This Video Provides The Most Detailed View To The Officially Retired (But Still Flying) F-117s So Far

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gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw== - This Video Provides The Most Detailed View To The Officially Retired (But Still Flying) F-117s So Far
A screenshot from the Youtube video filmed at Fresno Airport on Sept. 14, 2021. (Image credit: Randy Bugni)

Check out this cool clip showing F-117s operations at Fresno Airport, California.

No, the one you can find below is not a video filmed some time in the past, when the F-117 Nighthawks were still operational at their homebase at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, or somewhere else across the world. The clip was filmed on Sept. 14, 2021, at Fresno Yosemite International Airport, in central California, where two stealth jets deployed the day before to carry out dissimilar air combat training with the local-based 144th Fighter Wing, California Air National Guard, equipped with F-15C/D Eagles.

The fact that the U.S. Air Force is still flying the type out of Tonopah Test Range despite the F-117 has been officially retired in 2008 (!) is no longer a secret. Beginning last year, the aircraft have started to deploy at other airbases across the U.S.: the trip to MCAS Miramar, for instance, exposed a lot more details than those which might be gathered by just analysing the grainy shots of the “Wobblin Goblins” flying over some remote location in the Nevada Test and Training Range.

However, the latest deployment to Fresno has completely changed the “picture”. Not only are we able to have a look at the stealth jets, but we are able to do that from close distance.

Take a look at the following clip, uploaded to YouTube by Randy Bugni and brought to our attention by our friend Steve Fortson. The F-117s (alongside the F-15s) taxi just in front of the camera and allow the viewer to see the “TR” tail code applied to the aircraft, the other markings and the Nighthawk logo (much similar to the one of the 4450th Tactical Group. We can also assess that one of the aircraft carried its radar reflector while the other did not and this, once again, is extremely interesting, as it proves that the training with the F-15s required the Fresno Eagles to face a stealth aggressor. Pretty cool, isn’t it?

f5260c1a4f5417527329915544c2932f?s=125&d=mm&r=g - This Video Provides The Most Detailed View To The Officially Retired (But Still Flying) F-117s So Far
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.

Watch Two F-117 Nighthawk Stealth Jets Launch From MCAS Miramar Yesterday Afternoon

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gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw== - Watch Two F-117 Nighthawk Stealth Jets Launch From MCAS Miramar Yesterday Afternoon
One of the two F-117s launches from MCAS Miramar on Oct. 22, 2020. (Image credit: screenshot from @Skyes9_ video)

An interesting video shows the two F-117s which have recently deployed to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar departing for a mission in Southern California.

On Tuesday Oct. 20, 2020, two F-117s, using radio callsign “KNIGHT”, made a surprise visit to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, landing at the base in South California at around 17.30LT.

We don’t know the reason why the F-117s moved from their usual homebase at Tonopah Test Range, Nevada, to Miramar, even though they are probably going to be involved in some exercise in SOCAL playing the aggressor role, to develop anti-stealth technologies and tactics. Indeed, as explained in various articles, while some of the F-117s retired in 2008 and kept in a “Type 1000” storage at Tonopah Test Range have been disassembled before being transferred to museums around the U.S., sightings of F-117s flying over Nevada and California have continued. We have reported them in 2018, in 2019 and also 2020. After all, the F-117s are not completely retired, quite the contrary; they are increasinly becoming less “shy” appearing over the skies of LA area in plain daylight, taking part in Red Flag missions or operating for some reason from the base outside San Diego.

This is my final comment in the last article on the deployment of the F-117s a few days ago: “expect more reports and, hopefully, more photographs and videos in the next days as the “Wobblin’ Goblin” starts operating from MCAS Miramar.”

Indeed, a really cool video has just emerged. It shows the two iconic black jets departing from Miramar in the afternoon for what the author of the clip @Skyes9_ calls some “offshore activities”.

Interestingly, the aircraft did not return to Miramar after the mission, but headed back towards the desert.

Anyway, it’s also worth noticing that at least one of the two aircraft, along with a red-and-black checkered tail-band and an unknown emblem on the intake, sports a previously unseen “TR” tail marking.

While it seems an obvious reference to its most recent home at TTR, the white tail marking is larger and much more visible than the tail markings worn by the F-117s until they were officially retired in 2008. The mystery continues….

lockheed f 117 nighthawk e1591202015580 - Watch Two F-117 Nighthawk Stealth Jets Launch From MCAS Miramar Yesterday Afternoon
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