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The Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk, the world's first stealth fighter, had entered squadron service in 1983, initially with the 4450th Tactical Squadron, and then the 4451st TS, based at Tonopah Test Range in Nevada. Upon the outbreak of war, the two squadrons formed the 37th Tactical Fighter Wing, and were redesignated the 415th and 416th Tactical Fighter Squadrons. A third squadron was later formed: the 417th Tactical Fighter Traning Squadron, in 1985 to handle the RTU (Replacement Training Unit) mission. F-117s flew numerous strike sorties into occupied territory, as well as against targets in both Cuba and Mexico. Reports of F-117 missions into the USSR, flying from bases in either England, Turkey, Japan, or South Korea, have not been verified, and the USAF still refuses to comment on any F-117 operations outside the North American Theater during the period of the Third World War.

F-117A: Production version produced by Lockheed. Initially 56 ordered, but a full wing of 72 was eventually purchased, along with a number of attrition replacement airframes. Total production: 102 aircraft.

F-117B: Improved version proposed by Lockheed. Newer stealth features, upgraded RAM, and full “glass cockpit” avionics package, with additional weapons compatibility added. Not pursued with by USAF. An RAF version of the F-117B was also offered by Lockheed and declined.

F-117N "Seahawk": Proposed U.S. Navy carrier strike aircraft: Not proceeded with.

The 37th TFW has stood down from F-117 operations, and is transitioning to the F-24A, with full IOC on the new aircraft in February, 2014. The Air Force has not announced what it intends to do with the F-117s after their retirement. Only two museums have received F-117s: the USAF Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB, and the USAF Flight Test Center Museum at Edwards AFB.

USAF F-117 Stealth Nighthawks

Large number of F-117A aircraft beloning to the 37th Tactical Fighter Wing at Langley AFB, Virginia, at a undisclosed location somwhere in 1989.

F-117 Nighthawk Front

A F-117A flying over mountains in 1987

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