Good Afternoon Pilots,
Today we are- very pleased to be announcing our latest & greatest development project; the Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk.
The F-117 Nighthawk has become an icon of US military aviation; legendary for the secrecy and mystery surrounding its surreal and unique design. Immediately recognizable from it’s triangular flying-wing design, the F-117 is truly an aircraft of science fiction. We are extremely excited to be bringing one of the first hi-fidelity Nighthawk simulations to the Flight Sim Community and giving pilots a chance to experience the thrill of flying this truly unique aircraft, and to start unraveling the mystery that surrounds one of the most secretive aircraft of all time: The Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk.
The Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk is an American single-seat, twin-engine stealth attack aircraft that was developed by Lockheed’s secretive Skunk Works division and operated by the United States Air Force (USAF). The F-117 was based on the Have Blue technology demonstrator.
The Nighthawk was the first operational aircraft to be designed around stealth technology. Its maiden flight took place in 1981 at Groom Lake, Nevada, and the aircraft achieved initial operating capability status in 1983. The Nighthawk was shrouded in secrecy until it was revealed to the public in 1988. Of the 64 F-117s built, 59 were production versions, with the other five being prototypes.
The F-117 was widely publicized for its role in the Persian Gulf War of 1991. Although it was commonly referred to as the “Stealth Fighter”, it was strictly a ground-attack aircraft. F-117s took part in the conflict in Yugoslavia, where one was shot down by a surface-to-air missile (SAM) in 1999; it was the only Nighthawk to be lost in combat. The U.S. Air Force retired the F-117 in 2008, primarily due to the fielding of the F-22 Raptor.
Kelly Johnson had seen enough. The brilliant but irascible pioneer of Lockheed’s famed Skunk Works division grabbed the blueprint he’d been studying—specs for an alien-looking, diamond-shaped aircraft—walked over to his successor, Ben Rich, and promptly booted him in his rear end.
“Have you lost your mind?” Johnson barked, throwing the crumpled blueprint at Rich’s feet and fuming that the design would “never get off the ground.” Johnson valued sleek designs—highly aerodynamic aircraft. The blueprint offered neither.
Although a bit sore, Rich was unfazed. Aerodynamics was not the priority. Two years earlier, in 1973, defense officials had called for a competition to build a stealth bomber undetectable by enemy radar.
Rich had embraced the challenge with gusto. He turned to a pair of young Lockheed engineers, Denys Overholser and Sherrer, who developed a computer program based on obscure German and Russian theories, which postulated that radar beams could be reflected by a series of carefully angled triangular panels.
The pair’s computer program had revealed that a diamond-shaped aircraft—what looked on paper like a flying engagement ring—would be 1,000 times less visible than any other aircraft ever created at Lockheed.
The plans Johnson had crumpled up? They were specs for the world’s first aircraft invisible to radar.
F-117 Simulation by FlyingIron Simulations
For our simulation of the Nighthawk, we have invested heavily in purchasing all of the available documentation that has been declassified for the Nighthawk. This includes Operating Manuals, Utility Manuals, Performance Data & Testing Reports, Engine Data, Pilot Checklists and more. The declassification of the F-117 & its documentation have allowed us to truly dive into the systems and procedures and create a realistic simulation of the aircraft from the ground up.
Although we won’t be announcing a complete feature list just yet (as it is subject to change), here is some more info regarding development and what to expect:
- Hi-Fidelity Avionics simulations; this includes custom MFDs & CDU/NAV system (powered by SASL + Xlua)
- Highly Realistic Code based flight systems/procedures (Eg Fuel systems, FCS Systems, Autopilot systems etc.)
Hi-Fidelity Art across the board; we are aiming to take the artwork quality seen in our Spitfire to the next level (images to come as texturing/modelling moves along)
- Performance & Data Matched Flight Model that replicates the unique quirks of both the FCS System and the instability of the aircraft when flying without the FCS (required for takeoff & landing)
- Realistic Simulation of the Twin F404 Engines
- Hi-Fi FMOD Sound System
- UFC HUD Controller
- Dynamic Heads up Display (HUD)
- Custom Particle FX + Rain FX
- Guided Weapons
- In-depth Navigation systems
A more complete and updated feature list will be provided as development continues.