Holloman bids farewell to F117
The angular black radar-evading planes are being put in mothballs.
The last F-117s scheduled to fly will leave Holloman on Monday, then stop in Palmdale, Calif., for another retirement ceremony before arriving at their final destination — Tonopah Test Range Airfield in Nevada, where the fighter made its first flight in 1981.
Holloman's ceremony will include a four-plane flyby, the last opportunity to see the stealths in the air over New Mexico, said Alan Ponder, media liaison for the base's 49th Fighter Wing.
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, which managed the F-117 program, held an informal, private retirement ceremony last month.
Holloman had been the only base to have the stealths since the squadron moved in mid-1992 to southern New Mexico from Tonopah.
The Air Force decided to accelerate the F-117s' retirement to free funding to modernize the rest of the fleet. The Nighthawk is being replaced by the F-22 Raptor,which also has stealth technology.The technology used on the F-117 was developed in the 1970s to help evade enemy radar. While not invisible to radar, the plane's shape and coating greatly reduced its detection.
The single-seat aircraft was designed to fly into heavily defended areas undetected. Fifty-nine F-117s were made.