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F-117 Stealth Fighter Units of Operation Desert Storm (Combat Aircraft) [Paperback]

Warren E. Thompson , Mark Styling

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Book Description

10 Mar 2007
During the final years of the 20th century, the most significant break-through in military weaponry was the concept of Stealth technology, and the first mass-produced weapon to utilize this to perfection was the F-117 Nighthawk. Originally delivered in 1982, its existence was officially denied until the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, when it entered the public spotlight over the skies of Baghdad. Illustrated with stunning color photographs of the F-117 above Iraq, and complemented by numerous personal accounts from the pilots themselves, this book explores the history and combat experience of one of the most secretive planes ever built.

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I find it difficult to believe that early F-117s are being retired from service; it doesn't seem that long ago that the first fuzzy images were being pored over by enthusiasts, modellers and kit manufacturers - the latter not always successfully. The Wobblin Goblin's finest hour was probably Operation Desert Storm, and it is the events of 1991 that are the core of this 68th book in Osprey's Combat Aircraft series. A very brief account of the type's development precedes the tale of the '117's deployment to Saudi Arabia in late 1990, and the operational accounts that follow are as comprehensive - and in many cases as enlightening - as we have come to expect from Osprey. There are 21 colour profiles, which carry tailcodes and mission marks, and two further pages show the 21 pieces of artwork carried on the weapons bay doors (an A2 poster version would, I am sure, find a home on many walls). I've not seen many of these designs reproduced in decal form, especially in 1:72, but I live in hope. Appendices give the details of operations in the first and last 10 days of Desert Storm, and a list of participating pilots and their Bandit numbers. There are two pages of line drawings in 1:96 scale, but in my copy at least the lines delineating the plan views are so fine as to be almost invisible. Several of the illustrative photographs are in colour and will be useful for modellers, particularly for showing the colours of the ordnance used. The '117, partly I suspect because of its initial shroud of secrecy, and partly because of its futuristic shape - I think I remember something very similar in the Dan Dare pages of Eagle - has always had a charisma of its own, and if the effects of secrecy have been seriously eroded by now, the charisma remains. Warren Thompson's account of the Nighthawks fulfilling their role is interesting and instructive, and is highly recommended. --Scale Aircraft Modelling

About the Author

Warren Thompson has been an avid military aviation historian / writer / contributing editor for over 40 years. He has had 25 books published and currently writes for eight aviation magazines on subjects covering World War II, Korean War, Vietnam and the Cold War and the present day. His personal reference collection includes thousands of photos and detailed interviews with over 2000 pilots and aircrew members.

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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars F-117 STEALTH FIGHTER UNITS OF OPERATION DESERT STORM 6 Dec 2010
By Robert A. Lynn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
F-117 STEALTH FIGHTER UNITS OF OPERATION DESERT STORM
WARREN THOMPSON
OSPREY PUBLISHING, 2007
QUALITY SOFTCOVER, $20.95, 96 PAGES, ILLUSTRATIONS, PHOTOGRAPHS, DRAWINGS, APPENDICES

The Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk is a stealth ground attack aircraft flown solely by the U.S. Air Force. As a product of the Lockheed Have Blue Stealth Prototype Program, it became the first operational aircraft initially designed around stealth technology. Developed by Lockheed's legendary Advanced Development Company, the the first of fifty-nine (59) production aircraft were delivered to the U.S. Air Force in August, 1982. Issued to the Top Secret 4450th Tactical Group at Tonopah in Nevada, the unit achieved operational capability in October, 1983. It wasn't until November, 1988, that the F-117A was revealed to the world by the Department of Defense, and a year later the aircraft made its combat debut during Operation JUST CAUSE in Panama. The last Nighthawk was delivered to the U.S. Air Force in mid-1990, and in August, 1990, the 37th Tactical Fighter Wing deployed en masse to Saudi Arabia as part of Operation DESERT SHIELD in response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. They subsequently led the opening strikes of Operation DESERT STORM in January, 1991. Despite its successes in both the kosovo and Iraq Wars and its high mission-capable rate, the F-117 was nonetheless designed with late 1970s technologies. Its stealth technology, while still more advanced than that of any other aircraft but the B-2 Spirit, F-22A, and F-35, is maintenance heavy. Furthermore, the facet-based stealth design (which has an aerodynamic coat) represents an old counter-radar technique that has since been greatly refined. Consequently, there was a preliminary decision in 2006 to retire the fleet by 2008. A draft version of the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review and the 2007 Defense Budget that were leaked to the press proposed retiring the entire F-117 fleet to make room for buying more F-22As. This plan was removed from both the final 2007 Budget and the final QDR. By late 2006, the U.S. Air Force had closed the F-117 pilot school and announced the retirement of the F-117. The first six (6) aircraft to be retired made their last flight on March 12, 2007 after a ceremony at Holloman Air Force Base to commemorate the aircraft's storied career. Brigadier General David Goldfein, commander of the 49th Fighter Wing, said at the ceremony, "With the launch of these great aircraft today, the circle comes to a close-their service to our nation's defense fulfilled, their mission accomplished, and a job well done. We send them today to their final resting place-a home they are intimately familiar with-their first, and only, home outside of Holloman." Unlike most other U.S. Air Force aircraft which are retired to David-Monthan Air Force Base, the F-117s are being retired to tonopah. There, their wings will be removed and the aircraft will be stored in their original hangars. During the final years of the 20th Century, the most significant break-through in military weaponry was the concept of stealth technology, and the first mass-produced weapon to utilize this to perfection was the F-117 Nighthawk. Originally delivered in 1982, its existence was officially denied until the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, when it entered the public spotlight over the skies of Baghdad. Illustrated with stunning color photographs of the F-117 over Iraq, and complemented by numerous personal accounts from the pilots themselves, F-!!& STEALTH FIGHTER UNITS OF OPERATION DESERT STORM explores the history and combat experiences of one of the most secretive aircraft ever built.

Lt. Colonel Robert A. Lynn, Florida Guard
Orlando, Florida
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine survey of the F-117 7 July 2007
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Warren Thompson's F-117 STEALTH FIGHTER UNITS OF OPERATION DESERT STORM provides a fine survey of the F-117, developed by Lockheed with Stealth technology to take place as a key component of Operation Desert Shield. Military collections strong on aviation and recent military history will find this a fine blend of pilot experiences and memoirs and technical information juxtaposed by color photos throughout.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! 7 Mar 2014
By Cali - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Loved the stories of how it all started and the sorties it flew in the war. This is an amazing jet, wish it was still flying!
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 19 Sep 2014
By PLANE NUT "BZ" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
INFORMATIVE
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