The F-117 is the one of the world's first and most stealthy aircraft ever made. Its radar signature has been compared to that of a small birds. This radar evading shaped aircraft was developed by the famed Lockheed Martin ADP or Skunk Works. Since the Stealth fighter was designed in the late 1970's and computer power was not yet very powerful, the F-117 was designed with sharp angles to deflect the radar. As a result of this unconventional shape the F-117 must have its flight computer active to fly. This system constantly monitors and adjusts all of the flight surfaces just to make the aircraft stable and airworthy. With the power of current computers, any new stealth aircraft can be designed with more coventional and stable aerodynamic shapes. This is why the new stealth aircraft being produced, such as the B-2 or the F-22 look the way they do and can keep their stealthy characteristics.
One of the oddest things about the F-117 is its name. It carries no guns and can only hold to bombs. The fighter designation does not seem to fit this plane very well. The F-117 has the Fighter designation on it only because there was not enough money in the budget for a new bomber project. They did, however have funds for a new fighter. It's designation also helped keep the project top secret.
A final aspect of the F-117 is that while it is one of the first true stealth aircraft it shares many off the shelf parts. To save development time and money the designers at Skunk Works took entire systems from existing aircraft, such as the F-16 and F-15.
|Power Plant:||2 G.E. F404 engines at 10,800 lbs of thrust each|
|Length:||65 ft. 11 in.|
|Height:||12 ft. 5 in.|
|Wingspan:||43 ft. 4 in.|
|Speed:||High sub sonic|
|Range:||Unlimited w/ air refueling|
|Armament:||2 laser or GPS guided Bombs, up to 5,500 lbs.|