Sunday, November 26, 2006

Stealth plane already being mothballed by Air Force - MarketWatch

Stealth plane already being mothballed by Air Force - MarketWatch: "LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) -- Less than two decades after the world first got a look at the F-117 stealth fighter, the first aircraft built specifically to elude radar is scheduled for retirement by the Air Force -- and some wonder whether the plane's mothballing is a bit premature.
The reasons for shelving the plane that played a key role in the first Iraqi war are to make room for such aircraft as the F-22 Raptor, which has been under fire for being too expensive. But the Air Force has reasoned that the F-22 can do what the F-117 does, and more. Air Force officials did not return phone calls.
Pentagon analysts point out, though, that the F-117's lifespan will wind up being much shorter than most other Air Force aircraft. It's due to come out of service in 2008.
'It's probably the fastest retirement since the 1960s,' said Bill Sweetman, technology and aerospace editor for Jane's Information Group. 'I think the Air Force is trying to cast off older planes.'
The decision is puzzling to some, as not all the Air Force's older aircraft are headed for the scrap heap. Other fighter planes that were conceived prior to the F-117 -- including the F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon and the F/A-18 Hornet -- still are flying and are expected to endure well in"

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