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RAF Strategic Bomber

Colin Cruikshank gave an account of how he and Dave Southwood came to fly the F-117 in one of the books about test pilots that was around a while ago; I think it was one of the two volumes of Properly to Test by Bernard Noble.

With all the rumours that have gone around for years about the RAF punishment posting and SEAL team 6 were there in the early 70s.

Visitors to PPrune in days gone by may recall the chap who argued that it was SEAL Team 6 who brought down the Chinook which crashed on the Mull of Kintyre to ensure that obstacles to the NI peace process were removed. ISTR that after several years of demonstrating that he had even less evidence than Rudi Giuliani presented to various courts about the US election results, he was packed off the thread by a moderator who'd lost patience. I suspect that had we used the location, conspiracy theorists would've been all over it, claiming that it was a base for testing UFOs, etc, etc...
 
A lot of the F177 was commercial off the shelf equipment mainly I believe from the F18, but the coatings were the problem. A very difficult aircraft to photograph using an auto-focus lens.
Ah, the coatings. I remember reading reports in the 90s that said the B-2 couldn't be taken outside in wet weather cos the rain washed off the magic pixie dust.
 
A lot of the F177 was commercial off the shelf equipment mainly I believe from the F18, but the coatings were the problem. A very difficult aircraft to photograph using an auto-focus lens.

First time I saw F-117 was Mildenhall Air Fete 96 here are my photos below

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cheers
 
The French flew a power projection mission with their Rafales from Saint Dizier to Djibouti and back with the help of tankers. In theory the RAF F-35s could fly similar missions, and the F-35 has been certified to release the B61 nuclear bomb.

So if we acquired B61s ( under US control as the ones across NATO are), we would have the same capability.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
The French flew a power projection mission from Saint Dizier to Djibouti and back with the help of tankers. In theory the RAF F-35s could fly similar missions, and the F-35 has been certified to release the B61 nuclear bomb.

So if we acquired B61s ( under US control as the ones across NATO are), we would have the same capability.
D'oh. Of course.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Ah, the coatings. I remember reading reports in the 90s that said the B-2 couldn't be taken outside in wet weather cos the rain washed off the magic pixie dust.
I was working with Nick Cook when he got the scoop story on the F-117. I remember talking with him about a previous camping expedition to the Mojave Desert trying to catch glimpses of the things. It didn't amount to much beyond "the occasional contrail".

His story about the F-117 opened with something along the lines of, "No photographs of the cockpit interior, and don't touch the coatings." A handprint on the outside was enough to compromise the radar signature.

The F-117 was in many respects quite crude. The avionics, targeting systems and so on weren't anything special, necessarily; it was all about the faceting and the signature.
 
I was working with Nick Cook when he got the scoop story on the F-117. I remember talking with him about a previous camping expedition to the Mojave Desert trying to catch glimpses of the things. It didn't amount to much beyond "the occasional contrail".

His story about the F-117 opened with something along the lines of, "No photographs of the cockpit interior, and don't touch the coatings." A handprint on the outside was enough to compromise the radar signature.

The F-117 was in many respects quite crude. The avionics, targeting systems and so on weren't anything special, necessarily; it was all about the faceting and the signature.
Yes, as with any other aircraft, I imagine the avionics etc would have been very much of their day - unless you believe in swivel-eyed theories of reverse-engineering crashed UFOs! As you say, the secret was in the faceting and the reduced RCS.

"No photographs" - as an eager young space cadet, I can remember sitting on the beach at RAF Akrotiri in 1981 and being told by a rather weary-looking Flt Sgt "on no account are you to photograph the U2 that will fly over your head at about 50ft at about 1700 hrs as it returns from whatever mission its been on." I don't think his heart was really in it.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Yes, as with any other aircraft, I imagine the avionics etc would have been very much of their day - unless you believe in swivel-eyed theories of reverse-engineering crashed UFOs! As you say, the secret was in the faceting and the reduced RCS.

"No photographs" - as an eager young space cadet, I can remember sitting on the beach at RAF Akrotiri in 1981 and being told by a rather weary-looking Flt Sgt "on no account are you to photograph the U2 that will fly over your head at about 50ft at about 1700 hrs as it returns from whatever mission its been on." I don't think his heart was really in it.
When the press were finally allowed to see under the skin, and talk about it, they were pretty underwhelmed...
 
UK or Australia?

I personally do not believe it, but the rumors I heard were 2 prototypes visited Scotland UK.

I assume that people overseas may think Scotland has these ‘secretive’ bases miles from anywhere unlike the reality, however, the people who said it are not fantasists and are ex USAF.

That said, I personally do not see why they would need to fly NGB prototypes to the UK during the fly off phase of the competition however, those people know more than me and forward ‘secret’ deployment without Europe knowing may have been a requirement?
 
When the press were finally allowed to see under the skin, and talk about it, they were pretty underwhelmed...
Well, the Wobbly Goblin certainly wasn't invincible, as events over Serbia showed.

As an aside (and with apologies for taking the thread off-topic), I can recall reading a novel many years ago, in which US B-2s were bombing Iran (for reasons I can't remember). The Iranians hit on the idea of tracking them by pairing radars (ie a transmitter would be paired to a receiver some miles away), on the theory that a radar tramsission would be deflected by the faceting but the deflected return could be picked up by another receiver (if you see what I mean). I'm by no means a radar expert - does anyone know if this is a feasible thing?
 

diverman

LE
Book Reviewer
Well, the Wobbly Goblin certainly wasn't invincible, as events over Serbia showed.

As an aside (and with apologies for taking the thread off-topic), I can recall reading a novel many years ago, in which US B-2s were bombing Iran (for reasons I can't remember). The Iranians hit on the idea of tracking them by pairing radars (ie a transmitter would be paired to a receiver some miles away), on the theory that a radar tramsission would be deflected by the faceting but the deflected return could be picked up by another receiver (if you see what I mean). I'm by no means a radar expert - does anyone know if this is a feasible thing?
I suspect you have been reading Dale Brown books, which if you read the early ones in the late 80s, some of the concepts have come to fruition. The idea of drones both controlled from the ground and in the air, novel new materials plus the use of minature satellite constellations have come to pass.

Was the F177s over Serbia detected due to the TV system at the time there was on VHF and the sigmals modulated against the aircraft. I remember this as a child when aircraft flew over and the TV picture changed as the aircraft was between the transmitter and the house aerial.
 
Speaking about RAF Akrotiri, I believe there might be some people on this site that I owe an apology. If you were based at Akrotiri in April 1981 and if you were in the base cinema on a certain night (can't remember which, but the film was something about a mummy), you'd remember someone dropping their guts. The resulting stench was so bad that it resulted in the virtual evacuation of the theatre. That was me. Sorry. Can't remember what I'd eaten, but whatever it was, it reacted with the Keo...
 
I suspect you have been reading Dale Brown books, which if you read the early ones in the late 80s, some of the concepts have come to fruition. The idea of drones both controlled from the ground and in the air, novel new materials plus the use of minature satellite constellations have come to pass.

Was the F-117s over Serbia detected due to the TV system at the time there was on VHF and the sigmals modulated against the aircraft. I remember this as a child when aircraft flew over and the TV picture changed as the aircraft was between the transmitter and the house aerial.
FOC
 
I suspect you have been reading Dale Brown books, which if you read the early ones in the late 80s, some of the concepts have come to fruition. The idea of drones both controlled from the ground and in the air, novel new materials plus the use of minature satellite constellations have come to pass.

Was the F177s over Serbia detected due to the TV system at the time there was on VHF and the sigmals modulated against the aircraft. I remember this as a child when aircraft flew over and the TV picture changed as the aircraft was between the transmitter and the house aerial.

Someone posted either earlier on this thread or elsewhere a good explanation of the F-117 shoot down in Serbia.

I believe it flew the same path nightly, was too low and was operated as if it were all aspect super stealth, had it been used as it were designed it probably was pretty ‘invincible’ as demonstrated in Iraq.

(Of course Stealth is only one layer of defence).
 
Was the F177s over Serbia detected due to the TV system at the time there was on VHF and the sigmals modulated against the aircraft.

No. It was because they kept taking the same route; an enterprising Serbian AD commander (link) got his techs to tune their search radar to the bottom of its frequency range (because the RAM is optimised for fire-control radars, i.e. X-band), then set up a bunch of launchers underneath, and fired a volley of missiles when they got a track at close range.

Low-observable means that. It doesn't mean invisible. Throw enough wattage at something, and you might be lucky at close range to get the missile to track. Bang.

(Edited to add: @ThunderBox beat me to it)
 
No. It was because they kept taking the same route; an enterprising Serbian AD commander (link) got his techs to tune their search radar to the bottom of its frequency range (because the RAM is optimised for fire-control radars, i.e. X-band), then set up a bunch of launchers underneath, and fired a volley of missiles when they got a track at close range.

Low-observable means that. It doesn't mean invisible. Throw enough wattage at something, and you might be lucky at close range to get the missile to track. Bang.

(Edited to add: @ThunderBox beat me to it)
Ah. Makes sense. TVM.
 
I personally do not believe it, but the rumors I heard were 2 prototypes visited Scotland UK.

I assume that people overseas may think Scotland has these ‘secretive’ bases miles from anywhere unlike the reality, however, the people who said it are not fantasists and are ex USAF.

That said, I personally do not see why they would need to fly NGB prototypes to the UK during the fly off phase of the competition however, those people know more than me and forward ‘secret’ deployment without Europe knowing may have been a requirement?

Machrihanish is known as Campbeltown airport for nearly a decade now


Handed back to MoD by USN in 95 ans MoD put it up for grabs decade ago ...

Though the 352nd SOW last used it 16 years ago


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3F7938F6-EB88-44C2-9EC7-26BAFD57E49D.jpeg


It was for an ORI and wondered if curious naive locals thought the sight of MOPP CBRN clad airmen walking in and out of the Gaydon hangar may be forgiven for alien intrusion or handling extra terrestrial, materials with caution ??:)

cheers
 
I personally do not believe it, but the rumors I heard were 2 prototypes visited Scotland UK.

I assume that people overseas may think Scotland has these ‘secretive’ bases miles from anywhere unlike the reality, however, the people who said it are not fantasists and are ex USAF.

That said, I personally do not see why they would need to fly NGB prototypes to the UK during the fly off phase of the competition however, those people know more than me and forward ‘secret’ deployment without Europe knowing may have been a requirement?
Forget Macrhrihanish as it’s Campbeltown Airport, forget Kinloss and Leuchsrs because of their status. Kinloss only really reactivated itself fully for the P-8 arrival as Lossie runway being done up last year.

so that leaves Lossie really, plus with ramp up of USN and possibly USMC personnel (to aasist Shore Patrol with protecting their P-8). Then again befpre Last year it was not that busy with just Tiffy squadrons.

Unless West Freugh as that’s out of the way still has runway and owned by QinetiQ.....

Any thoughts ??
cheers
 

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