USAF F-117 Nighthawk, 37TFW
- Fully detailed 1/144 F-117 Nighthawk
- Stylish metal stand included
The military aircraft that should win the award for looking the most advanced and secretive is perhaps the F-117 Nighthawk, a type designed and built by Lockheed. This stealthy and lethal-looking twin-engine aircraft was designed for ground-attack missions. The F-117 began US Air Force (USAF) operations in 1983 although its existence wasn’t revealed officially to the world until 1988. Despite the “F” in its nomenclature, this was a genuine ground-attack aircraft rather than a fighter, and 64 examples were built. Its design limited it to subsonic speeds, but it could carry a 5,000lb payload of bombs in its internal bay.
The Nighthawk rose to prominence during the 1991 Gulf War when Coalition forces bombed Iraqi units into submission. The F-117 completed 1,300 sorties and hit 1,600 high-value targets in Iraq, including the capital Baghdad. Operated by the 37th Tactical Fighter Wing Provisional (37 TFW (P)) for the duration of this conflict, the unit’s 42 stealth aircraft represented only 2.5% of American aircraft in-theater, yet they struck more than 40% of strategic targets from their base at King Khalid Airbase in Saudi Arabia.
Dragon Warbirds’ new 1/144 scale model portrays one of the formidable F-117 Nighthawks that participated in Operation Desert Storm. It’s manufactured true to scale, and it captures perfectly the aggressive and futuristic concept of this plane. The multifaceted surfaces are all well represented, as is the stealthy black finish. Indeed, the aircraft uses completely new molds, adding to the series of newly tooled subjects in the Warbirds collection. The cockpit interior is fully represented too, even though all the detail can’t be seen through the windows. This revolutionary aircraft played an important role in the USAF before it was eventually withdrawn in April 2008, and collectors can appreciate its qualities through this fine model.