Lockheed F-117 Nighthawks are provided to the US Air Force’s 144th Fighter Wing for training purposes

 

In an unprecedented and historic collaboration, the U.S. Air Force’s 144th Fighter Wing (FW) welcomed the arrival of the F-117 Nighthawk aircraft on September 13, 2021, to the Fresno Air National Guard Base in California. This deployment marked the revival of the F-117 Nighthawk for training missions, and over the next few days, the 144th FW’s F-15 pilots conducted challenging dissimilar air combat training with the F-117 pilots. This event signified the first time that the F-117 Nighthawks had returned to Fresno.

The presence of the F-117 Nighthawks immediately piqued the interest of aviation enthusiasts and some members of the community. Although officially retired, many F-117s remain in airworthy condition and are used for training missions to maintain readiness and the ability to operate in various combat environments.

Lieutenant Colonel David Allamandola, the 144th FW’s Advanced Programs Officer, expressed his enthusiasm, saying, “Our Grizzly pilots, operators, and maintainers are thrilled to be able to participate in this unique opportunity. It is a very special privilege to engage in training missions with the F-117 Nighthawks. This training offers invaluable experience for everyone involved, pushing the limits of readiness and the ability to operate in a realistic environment. Not everyone gets to do this, so it’s been an exciting opportunity to work with our partners to make this a reality.”

The Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk is a semi-retired American single-seat, twin-engine stealth attack aircraft that was developed by Lockheed’s secretive Skunk Works division and operated by the United States Air Force (USAF). It was the first operational aircraft to be designed around stealth technology and was shrouded in secrecy until it was declassified and revealed to the public in 1988. Of the 64 F-117s built, 59 were production versions, with the remaining prototypes serving various roles in testing and development.

As of January 2021, the U.S. Air Force has 48 F-117s remaining in its inventory, and they are being cycled through training, primarily at the USAF Strategic Basing and the National Museum of the USAF.

The F-117 Nighthawks are accompanying F-15 Eagles for training, providing a unique opportunity for pilots from the 144th FW to hone their skills alongside these iconic aircraft. This collaboration promises to be a valuable experience, ensuring that the pilots are prepared for any future operational scenarios.

In conclusion, the reunion of the F-117 Nighthawks with the F-15 Eagles for training is a historic moment in aviation history, showcasing the U.S. Air Force’s commitment to maintaining readiness and operational excellence. It is a remarkable opportunity for both new and experienced pilots to enhance their capabilities in a realistic combat environment, ensuring the continued strength and preparedness of the U.S. Air Force.

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