RAF test pilot on flying the F-117 in 1986

Cold war, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm - up to and including for example the A-10, F-15, Mirage 200, MiG-29, and F-18.
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basher54321

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Unread post23 Feb 2020, 16:41

Dave Southwood, a British test pilot with 11,000 hours' experience, talks for the first time on camera about the secret test flights he conducted in the F-117 Nighthawk at Groom Lake (Area 51) in 1986.

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optimist

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Unread post23 Feb 2020, 20:57

I read the UK was offered the F-117, but declined. It should still be on google somewhere.
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charlielima223

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Unread post26 Feb 2020, 04:09

Instead of making a new thread I figure this is a good place to put it.

The pilot in this episode also mentions the F-117 being offered to the RAF. He also mentions a unique capability and mission requirement of the F-117 as well as a hilarious aerial refueling story during desert storm.

The aircraft that started the stealth revolution and changed the nature of modern and future air combat.
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Unread post09 Mar 2020, 17:56

The RAF probably made the right call at the time. Can't really see a role where the Brits were going to use it. Thinking about the Falklands, but it wouldn't have been doable there either.

The one thing they COULD have gotten out of it was some stealth know-how, albeit where they would later apply that is suspect. Pretty amazing someone in our gov't was willing to allow ANY nation to fly it if you ask me. I would think an export ban ala the F-22 would have been appropriate..
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Unread post10 Mar 2020, 12:15

Where the UK sits, an F-117A is without many options, and limited RAF forward air tanking options built on obsolete V bombers wasn't much help. It would have been cool if the Vulcan bomber could have found a new mission after the Cold War, and my suspicions is the RAF was gutted by politics more than reason. A modernized Vulcan with RCS reductions and modernized engines to make it gracefully age into the future as a credible threat. Vulcan could have used some of the lessons of F-117A technology like the RAM coating, window coatings grounded to the airframe, screens in front of the engines, and the V-tail to drastically reduce RCS. Not exactly turning it into F-117A, but definitely more mission flexible than the wobblin' goblin.
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Unread post12 Mar 2020, 16:17

madrat wrote:Where the UK sits, an F-117A is without many options, and limited RAF forward air tanking options built on obsolete V bombers wasn't much help. It would have been cool if the Vulcan bomber could have found a new mission after the Cold War, and my suspicions is the RAF was gutted by politics more than reason. A modernized Vulcan with RCS reductions and modernized engines to make it gracefully age into the future as a credible threat. Vulcan could have used some of the lessons of F-117A technology like the RAM coating, window coatings grounded to the airframe, screens in front of the engines, and the V-tail to drastically reduce RCS. Not exactly turning it into F-117A, but definitely more mission flexible than the wobblin' goblin.


It sure looks like an "almost" stealth bird, doesn't it? The Vulcan to me was graceful, and it's mission to bomb the Falklands was its finest moment. The story of what they had to go through to get it mission ready, the near running out of fuel. You've got to hand it to RAF/Royal Navy airpower.

They punched WAY above their weight in that war...
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Unread post12 Mar 2020, 19:10

mixelflick wrote:
madrat wrote:Where the UK sits, an F-117A is without many options, and limited RAF forward air tanking options built on obsolete V bombers wasn't much help. It would have been cool if the Vulcan bomber could have found a new mission after the Cold War, and my suspicions is the RAF was gutted by politics more than reason. A modernized Vulcan with RCS reductions and modernized engines to make it gracefully age into the future as a credible threat. Vulcan could have used some of the lessons of F-117A technology like the RAM coating, window coatings grounded to the airframe, screens in front of the engines, and the V-tail to drastically reduce RCS. Not exactly turning it into F-117A, but definitely more mission flexible than the wobblin' goblin.


It sure looks like an "almost" stealth bird, doesn't it? The Vulcan to me was graceful, and it's mission to bomb the Falklands was its finest moment. The story of what they had to go through to get it mission ready, the near running out of fuel. You've got to hand it to RAF/Royal Navy airpower.

They punched WAY above their weight in that war...

I was very happy to see our Vulcan at the SAC Museum get restored to the public eye. I grew up watching all sorts of strategic bombers come through there, and even saw Space Shuttles and the Blackbird on a pretty regular basis around Offut. I was not fortunate enough to see the Vulcan come in before it got marauded there. It was looking pretty lonely behind Offutt's fenceline. The jet has a very nice visual appeal. Of course I like pretty much all of the planes at the SAC Museum, but that is definitely one of my favorites any time I get back towards Omaha. After seeing one up close it made me want to take a day trip out to Dayton for the Valkyrie. If the Vulcan was that cool up close, I can imagine the Valkyrie will be an even bigger joy.
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Unread post12 Mar 2020, 19:28

mixelflick wrote:It sure looks like an "almost" stealth bird, doesn't it? The Vulcan to me was graceful, and it's mission to bomb the Falklands was its finest moment. The story of what they had to go through to get it mission ready, the near running out of fuel. You've got to hand it to RAF/Royal Navy airpower.

They punched WAY above their weight in that war...


RAF yes, Royal Navy of course not, they failed a lot, that war showed how weak Royal navy become.
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Unread post12 Mar 2020, 23:16

milosh wrote:RAF yes, Royal Navy of course not, they failed a lot, that war showed how weak Royal navy become.

The Falklands War demonstrated how big an impact anti-ship missiles had become. Only a few of them were enough to have a significant tactical impact; it showed how anti-ship missiles could be used as a strategic asset.

At that time the Royal Navy was already aware, and even very concerned, about the fact that they had no viable anti-missile defense against the Exocet missile. With the loss of the HMS Sheffield the Royal Navy was forced to move the carriers out of reach of the Exocet missiles which meant they had to stay further away from the battlefield, this resulted in significant less Harrier sorties.

Then with the sinking of the Atlantic Conveyor Britain lost most of their airlifting capability which forced them into a daring ground raid over land. In all this the Royal Navy was unfortunate to be the first worldwide showcase for anti-ship missiles.

Furthermore when you state something like "how weak Royal navy become" I think you are forgetting that the British Empire, together with France, were already shown their new and lower rank in the global pecking order during the Suez Crisis.
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Unread post12 Mar 2020, 23:29

I meant iron bombs. Two fleet air defense destroyers were hit with iron bombs, one sunk other was lucky bomb didn't explode.

Not some small antiship missile but jets with iron bombs?!?
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Unread post13 Mar 2020, 00:27

botsing wrote:Furthermore when you state something like "how weak Royal navy become" I think you are forgetting that the British Empire, together with France, were already shown their new and lower rank in the global pecking order during the Suez Crisis.


France was shown it much earlier, like when they waved the white flag in Vietnam.

milosh wrote:I meant iron bombs. Two fleet air defense destroyers were hit with iron bombs, one sunk other was lucky bomb didn't explode.

Not some small antiship missile but jets with iron bombs?!?


In all fairness, they were facing constant pressure from maritime patrols attempting to light up their fleet with radar and spot them with eyeballs. The Super Etendard was the spotter and guided Skyhawks in for the iron bomb runs. The fusing was the weakness of the iron bombs. The Argentines did not have anything appropriate in their inventory that was up to the task. And they lost quite a few Skyhawks. Once the fleet was aware of their presence they were easily able to pick them off like quail.
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Unread post13 Mar 2020, 12:15

milosh wrote:I meant iron bombs. Two fleet air defense destroyers were hit with iron bombs, one sunk other was lucky bomb didn't explode.

Not some small antiship missile but jets with iron bombs?!?



The RN were reorganising to become a small part of a NATO fleet as i understand it - one reason why the Ark Royal and a conventional fleet defence was scrapped a few years prior.

There may have been a degree of overconfidence in some of the Air defence tech on the ships.
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Unread post14 Mar 2020, 12:11

I was referring mostly to Royal Navy Harrier pilots.

Despite the fact their mount was slower and lacked an adequate radar, they decimated Argentinian Mirage's and Skyhawks. I don't think a single Harrier was lost air to air, as the combination of their aircraft, training and AIM-9L was devastating.

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