Desert Storm Chronicles: The Role of the Nighthawk

On March 2nd, the Museum will be commemorating the 33rd Anniversary of Desert Storm by hosting a Desert Storm-themed, Nighthawk Experience. This is a great event for anybody interested in learning more about Operation Desert Storm or Operation Just Cause. The event will feature Major General Gregory Feest, who piloted our F-117 in Operation Desert Storm, and other experts will be available to answer questions about the role played by the F-15 & A-10. 

During operations Just Cause, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, Major General Feest tallied over 800 combat hours and commanded one of only two operational F-117A stealth fighter squadrons. 

Early History of the Nighthawk

The F-117A Nighthawk is the world’s first operational stealth aircraft, and its conception illustrated the necessity for stealth technology in military aircraft. The Nighthawk plays a vital role in United States military operations by serving as an important tool in stopping dictatorships and genocide world-wide.

While the first F-117A flew in 1981, and the first unit gained operating capability in October 1983, The military kept the aircraft a secret from the public until 1990. During the 10 years of secrecy, the aircraft flew only under the cover of night. 

Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm 

The Nighthawk played an important role in many US military operations, including operations Allied Force, Just Cause, Desert Shield, and Desert Storm. Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm spanned from August 1990 – February 1991. These operations marked the beginning of the Gulf War, and the aircraft launched to prevent Saddam Hussein and Iraqi troops from taking control of Kuwait and the Middle East. During the Gulf War, not one F-117 was ever hit, shot down, or lost to mechanical failure. The American military used the F-117A to target Iraqi command and control outposts, key communication centers, and storage, production, and research facilities for nuclear and chemical weapons.  

Technology of the Nighthawk 

The technology that makes the F-117A Nighthawk invisible to radar is a combination of faceting and radar absorbent material. The surface of the airframe is covered with a radar-absorbing material and composed of triangular facets, which scatter radar, and prevent reflection back to the receiver. It also uses an accurate targeting system and thermal imaging sensor to generate TV-quality images of distant objects.  

“The Nighthawk Experience” is an event that aviation enthusiasts won’t want to miss! Tickets are $30 and include Museum admission.

WHEN: March 2, 2024 1:00PM – 4:00PM

WHERE: Evergreen Aviation Museum

PRICE: 30$ and included with admission


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