Adieu, Sweet Stealth

 stealtfighter.jpg After 27 years, seven of which spent in total secrecy, the F-117 'Nighthawk' stealth fighter is going the way of the Dodo. The US Air Force plans to mothball the entire fleet next month.

The Nighthawk has put in some serious combat hours since its first flight in 1981, flying in the first Gulf War, Kosovo, and the current Iraq quagmire. Since it's a little tricky to see a stealth fighter of radar, especially soviet-surplus radar, the F-117 was often in the vanguard of American air attacks. Only one was ever shot down in Combat, over Kosovo in 1999. Of course, the Serbian anti-aircraft gunners totally cheated and used their eyes.

The Nighthawk will be replaced by the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lighting II. So far, the Air Force has not commented on the rumors that the mothballing of the F-117 was due to an unfortunate alcohol-relared logistics error. Said one senior official close to the program:

"See, the problem is, you put a bunch of stealth fighters somewhere, go out, have a few beers, and forget where you left them. And the bastards are so hard to find. I mean, it's not like you can just turn on the radar."