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Meatbox8

F-117 was offered to the RAF

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I've attached a link to an interesting story.  Ronald Reagan apparently offered Margaret Thatcher the opportunity for the MOD and RAF to be involved in the development of the F-117 for the RAF.  I'm getting the whiff of Whiffery!!

 

https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/ronald-reagan-offered-britain-f-117-stealth-aircraft/#comment-367082

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Or been called the Nighthawk,far to nasty we would have called it the Nightingale or Nightlight!

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Nightjar FB1 maybe

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1 hour ago, Slater said:

Presumably a UK F-117 would not have had the all black paint scheme?


It would have had to, seeing as the paint was part of the stealth package (iirc).

But seriously, what would the UK have done with the thing? No real need for it, and it would have consumed so much of their limited defence budget that ALL services would have suffered. Not to mention the problems with 'local content' - can you imagine an F-117 being built in an old BMC factory somewhere in the midlands? (Why am I now picturing it with rust holes, skinny tyres and a vinyl roof? I'll just go off and take my pills...)

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This is a fairly old story, although IIRC, it didn't get as much publicity/circulation as might have been expected when it first emerged.

 

The article makes clear one problem - it was a US 'black' programme. We had an exchange pilot on F-117s while the programme was still 'in the black' as it were and had a pretty reasonable understanding of capabilities. There would've been political issues about spending on a black programme, which our system doesn't allow for in quite the same way as that in the US (clearly, we can and do purchase classified items which parliament and the public learn of only later - Exactor is a reasonable, if not exact, example).

 

Then, we didn't have anywhere other - and then only 'perhaps' - than Machrihanish which could serve as our 'Area 51' - and even then, the chances of a spotter er... spotting it were high. It is very unlikely that the deal would've allowed an RAF F-117 fleet to have appeared on static display with little Johnny wandering up to it and sticking his chewing gum to the nose [which I saw almost happen to a Tornado at RIAT (or was it Waddo?) until Little Johnny's Dad intervened and the gum ended up in a hastily-provided tissue from Mum's handbag], or people handing off the fence photographing it.

 

Then - since this is an F-117C model, thus looking at service entry probably in the mid-90s - we run into the problems of whether the defence programme would be able to accommodate it (remember that the offer is made long before various bean counters get excited about a Cold War Peace Dividend), given that spending on the EFA (as was) will be high as it nears in service date (ho, ho, ho!); we're committed to spending on 90 odd Harrier GR5/7; we're getting new AAM (ASRAAM and AIM-120); we'll need to replace Bloodhound, probably with Patriot (ho, ho, ho! again); we're going to have to spend cash on our AEW solution, which looks like it isn't going to involve the phrase 'AEW3'.

 

Speaking of Nimrod, we're having to think about what replaces that as an MPA, too. Also, can we use Tornado to replace the Buccaneer, or should we spend on a Bucc upgrade to give it another 10 years, and what about upgrading the Phantom so that it can be effective up to its then-projected out of service date? 

 

Then, there's the RN and the Army to think about, and they need...

 

...and buying an aeroplane which has a stealth coating which needs careful and costly maintenance isn't going to go down to well with them  - or the bits of the RAF which lose out, for that matter - when it's noted that, as Rob says, there's no obvious need for it at the time of the offer. It can penetrate enemy (Soviet) air defences at medium altitude to deliver a couple of PGM or in extremis, buckets of sunshine, and ... well, that's about it. It can't deliver JP233, you won't be using it for emergency CAS any time soon [not that the RAFG TGR force thought it would be doing much of that, of course], you can't use it as an ASuW platform to replace the Buccaneer, and it's too valuable an asset to use for SEAD - you'll be using it for Follow On Forces Attack, which the USAF uses it for along with the F-111 and the F-15E, and... hang on... they can put more assets into this than we have in the entire RAF, and we're talking about chopping bits out of it to buy the 117? Er...

 

If you go full whiffery on this with a back-story which involves significant rewriting of the 1981 Nott Review (what would have happened had Nott taken on Dwin Bramall's option of reducing BAOR to, in effect, three Chieftan regiments, a REME det and a dog, still slashed the RN because of its silly fascination with keeping old ships¹ and protected the RAF to the extent that it saw a small uplift in funding, so that it had flex for getting some interesting new kit around 1986, then...

 

...you find that the RAF has embarked upon getting a nice force of Vulcan K3 and B4, providing long-range strike options with a conventional ALCM and still doesn't have the cash for the F-117, in fact, but leaving that aside, you end up with a Tamiya F-117 which will emerge with RAF markings once it's been recovered from its spot 6 feet to the left of my loft hatch and as soon as I dig out the markings for it from a desk draw. ;)

 

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I'm not sure about some of these fairy stories but what I do know is with the number of American a/c in the UK inventory not too mention mission systems etc on others we will be paying a lot for the previlage and with the exchange rate the way it is since the 'majority' decided to leave europe (really) we ain't going to be able to fund other programmes .

Still years of undervestment.....reap what  ye sow.

 

Sorry everything costs and we got nuffin......although I would love to know where it's gone .....answers on a post card ...<_<

ps prob get your present this week meatbox;) bah work tomorrow

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It would be nice to see one in a museum in the UK though. Perhaps Duxford alongside the Blackbird?

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Rumours had circulated for a while but it's good to now have an official confirmation. Not that it was really needed as a number of sources had already kind of confirmed the story.

There's a bit of confusion though IMHO: the development of the F-117 had been completed years before Reagan offered the aircraft to Britain in 1986. In those years Lockheed was pushing some potential new variants to the USAF and also considered offering these to the RAF. The F-117C mentioned is correctly described as a later proposal, a result of work carried out by Lockheed to exploit the success of the aircraft during Desert Storm. This variant was proposed in 1995, had the RAF chosen the type it would have entered service in 2000 at best. A choice from the RAF may have not been enough though as in those years the USAF pushed strongly against Lockheed idea to develop new F-117 variants as they preferred to have all the resources devoted to the F-22 program. Even an RAF interest would have risked being stopped by the USAF pressure on the manufacturer

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The additional point to remember, in real life, is that the F-117 did not operate on its own but in parallel with a fleet of ferrets/jammers working to lower the effectiveness of the defenses.  The RAF would have had to buy these as well, or be restricted to only operating as and when the USAF wanted.

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Several years ago, I attended a talk given by the Head of Aircraft Preservation at Duxford.

 

He claimed that the IWM had discussed the possibility of Duxford having an F-117 on display and an American VIP had stated "I would be happy for you to have one, as I know you would look after it properly." I'm guessing that the idea was then shelved, as we are probably talking 7 or 8 years ago now.

 

It would look very impressive next to the SR-71, as hinted by a previous poster.....

 

Chris.    

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Perhaps there is still stuff inside that they don't want people to see, even though it's been retired.

Edited by Meatbox8
Edited for typo

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On 1/4/2017 at 9:22 AM, Meatbox8 said:

Perhaps there is still stuff inside that they don't want people to see, even though it's been retired.

Yes this is quite true, however the example on public display in the US showed the "removal from service" hassles of this type of aircraft.

If you read up on F117 "Toxic Death" it has more info, but suffice to say the exterior had to be sand-blasted back to bare metal (to remove the radar absorbent paint), repainted in basic black, flown to destination, systems removed from inside, deactivation and then finally put on display.

Nothing that could be "removed" from the airframe by a chinese "businessman" as a "souvenir" sort of thing.

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1 hour ago, hairystick said:

 

Nothing that could be "removed" from the airframe by a chinese "businessman" as a "souvenir" sort of thing.

 

And just when the Trumpeter research team were about to measure up properly too

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Well scupper me:mellow:it was retired and I wasnt aware al5hough having used a well known search engine I kinda remembered something.Anyway the aeronautical museum in Belgrade have got one or at least the remains.the museum building looks neat as well.

Must be worth a romantic long weekend with a visit to the museum😉

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On 04/01/2017 at 5:22 PM, Meatbox8 said:

Perhaps there is still stuff inside that they don't want people to see, even though it's been retired.

Who say's it's retired? There are several of the type still active for various reasons. The remainder of the fleet is in warm storage. It may not technically be in front line service, but it ain't dead by any means.

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Yeah, they still fly... but it's a guess as to how many.

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Type 1000 storage apparently which I understand means they may be re-activated at some point should the need arise.  They fly the odd one from time to time to make sure the airframes are still viable and to keep a small cadre of pilots and ground crews current.  This according to Defense News - Intercepts.

 

A more in-depth article by Foxtrot Alpha offers up several other possibilities which include quite an interesting notion that  the small fleet that is kept airworthy act as a stealthy Red Air aggressor.  It seems to come to the conclusion, however, that the bulk of the fleet, which have had there wings removed and are crammed five each into hangers designed for two, will soon no longer be viable and will either be scrapped - quite a complex procedure apparently due to the toxic nature of the airframes - or just buried in the desert.  If true it seems rather a sad end to such a revolutionary aircraft.  Then again this could all just be a blind which wouldn't surprise me given the history of the type.

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On 09/01/2017 at 1:08 AM, Meatbox8 said:

- or just buried in the desert. 

 

Could that be a future 'Burmese Spitfires'?  Someone will go looking for them sometime in the future!

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On 03/02/2017 at 3:15 PM, bushande said:

One should never give up hope too early 'cuz we all know: It ain't over 'til it's over.;)

http://www.airforcemag.com/DRArchive/Pages/2016/November 2016/November 18 2016/Could-Nighthawks-be-Used-for-Red-Air.aspx

 

I misread that and thought it said 'Could Nighthawks be used for Red Arrows'.

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